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Very poor benchmark score for my new Q8400

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March 24, 2010 10:10:46 PM

I just upgraded from a Pentium Dual Core 2160 (@3.0GHz) to a Core2Quad Q8400, which I've stably overclocked to 3.2GHz. According to Sandra, it's scoring incredibly poorly compared to less powerful processors. For example, the Processor Arithmetic test rates my CPU at about 25GIPS, compared to around 34GIPS for a Q6600. Other CPU tests produce similar performance ratios. Why would my superior (and overclocked) processor score lower than a Q6600 or other models? Could my DDR2 be holding me back that much?

Some notes:
- I've been doing custom builds and overclocking for a long, long time, so I've already ruled out the basic stuff (software, drivers, etc)
- I have disabled EIST and all other CPU-throttling functions, so I'm sure that my Q8400 is running at a solid 3.2GHz all the time (verified by CPU-Z)
- I'm using 8x multiplier, and I've got my FSB clocked at 400 because of my DDR2/800 memory
- Here's my overall system config:
Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P mobo (F12 BIOS)
Intel Core2Quad Q8400@3.2GHz
4GB Kingston DDR2/800 memory
OCZ Vertex 60GB SSD
NVidia 8800GT (Radeon 5870 arrives via UPS today!)

I'd greatly appreciate some help in figuring out what's going on here. I upgraded to this CPU instead of going the full Core i7 route, since I didn't want to have to get a new mobo/memory as well. I'd hate to be stuck with a crummy configuration. Thanks in advance.
a c 105 à CPUs
March 24, 2010 11:44:50 PM

the test for the CPU bechmark could simply like the the extra MB in the q6600 L2cache. Run an actual game benchmark when you install the 5870.

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a c 131 à CPUs
March 25, 2010 12:07:41 AM

Actual game benchmark? Sounds to me like he's worried about the raw power of his CPU, not gaming benchmarks.

What other benchmarks have you tried and what are your scores?

I've used crystalmark for a while and like the two CPU benchmark tests. They don't utilize cache but they do utilize multiple cores. Run that and give me the score, and I will tell you if it seems normal.

Edit: The tests are the ALU and FPU tests. You don't have to bother with the others.
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a c 105 à CPUs
March 25, 2010 12:25:17 AM

enzo matrix said:
Actual game benchmark? Sounds to me like he's worried about the raw power of his CPU, not gaming benchmarks.



if hes not worried about gaming, why the GPU upgrade? :whistle: 

point CT1615, thank you!
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March 25, 2010 12:30:39 AM

To clarify, I'm looking to find out why my CPU itself it benching so poorly. Yes, I'm primarily upgrading for games, but I use the PC for lots of stuff, so I want to make sure my CPU is running optimally for everything, not just gaming.
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a c 131 à CPUs
March 25, 2010 12:33:06 AM

ct1615 said:
if hes not worried about gaming, why the GPU upgrade? :whistle: 

point CT1615, thank you!

Because he didn't ask about gaming or his video card. He asked about his CPU.
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a c 105 à CPUs
March 25, 2010 12:34:48 AM

what does CPU-Z state, all the settings (besides those you have OC) are up to standards? One benchmark does not make or break a CPU. Look at reviews for the CPU, see what benchmarks they use.

they run sandra in this review
http://hothardware.com/Articles/Intel-Core-2-Quad-Q8400...
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a c 83 à CPUs
March 25, 2010 6:47:41 AM

First off, a Q8400 isn't superior to a Q6600, depending on what your doing it's actually slower clock for clock than a Q6600. You also haven't stated if the Q6600 score your comparing to is stock speed or overclocked. You really need to try some other benchmarks as well, one benchmark doesn't describe a processors overall performance very well.
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March 25, 2010 4:00:32 PM

Well, I figured it out, pretty much accidentally. Evidently, the default processor settings in my BIOS (the newest version that I just installed to support the newer CPU) are tuned to pump a ton of unnecessary voltage into the CPU as part of the "auto" overclocking. So, instead of operating at the default of ~1.2V, my mobo was providing 1.55V. This was not enough to trigger heat warnings or to crash the machine, but evidently enough to make the CPU chase itself around as it ran through the benchmarks. Once I set the BIOS to "Manual", which in this case is more like "Auto" or "Default", the CPU got its normal voltage, even though I was overclocking it to 3.2GHz. Why the mobo would blast the CPU with a completely unnecessary extra 0.3V is beyond me.

Sandra is now giving me CPU scores in the range of a Core i5 750/Core2Quad QX9770, or about 1.5x those of a Q6600. This is pretty much what I was expecting, and while I know that this is not necessarily indicative of real-world relative performance, at least I know my CPU is actually working properly.

Thanks to all those who responded, and a warning to Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P owners who are running BIOS F12: the voltage settings are a bit screwy.
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a c 131 à CPUs
March 25, 2010 7:45:29 PM

I didn't realize you used the "auto" overclocking. This doesn't sound out of the ordinary for auto overclocking. My motherboard has a 2%, 5% and 7% auto option. If I were to use them, it would increase the voltages and give me that percent increase for the CPU. I overclock it myself and I leave the voltages alone to get a 20% overclock and it is stable.

Anyway, glad you were able to figure it out.
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March 25, 2010 8:00:44 PM

Yeah, that's what threw me. In the previous versions of the BIOS (I had been using version F10), the "Auto" didn't actually do anything major to the voltage, and the overclocking section actually had some other features which I miss (e.g. manual memory timing). I wonder what sort of algorithm the BIOS is using to determine that it needs to jack my voltage up 25%, when the system runs perfectly at 3.2GHz with no voltage adjustments whatsoever.
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a b à CPUs
March 26, 2010 5:30:24 PM

I don't think it's just you or your board. I have an ASUS P5Q3 that when set to Auto was pumping 1.3v into my OCed 8200, whn all it needed was 1.15v. BIOS manufacturers think they are doing us a favor by overvolting the proc to be safe? I smell a conspiracy for CPU burning... :p 
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March 29, 2010 5:25:28 AM

Please note Intel CPU's do not recommend overclocking, it is due to the mobo architecture and voltage parameters. You can do so, at your own risk. :) 
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a c 133 à CPUs
March 29, 2010 5:32:50 AM

v-2samrc said:
Please note Intel CPU's do not recommend overclocking, it is due to the mobo architecture and voltage parameters. You can do so, at your own risk. :) 

Really thank you so much for the warning I am gonna have to undo my 1000mhz overclock now because Inel doesn't recommend it. :bounce:  [sarcastic]
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June 21, 2011 10:06:08 AM

AtomicPlayboyX said:
Well, I figured it out, pretty much accidentally. Evidently, the default processor settings in my BIOS (the newest version that I just installed to support the newer CPU) are tuned to pump a ton of unnecessary voltage into the CPU as part of the "auto" overclocking. So, instead of operating at the default of ~1.2V, my mobo was providing 1.55V. This was not enough to trigger heat warnings or to crash the machine, but evidently enough to make the CPU chase itself around as it ran through the benchmarks. Once I set the BIOS to "Manual", which in this case is more like "Auto" or "Default", the CPU got its normal voltage, even though I was overclocking it to 3.2GHz. Why the mobo would blast the CPU with a completely unnecessary extra 0.3V is beyond me.

Sandra is now giving me CPU scores in the range of a Core i5 750/Core2Quad QX9770, or about 1.5x those of a Q6600. This is pretty much what I was expecting, and while I know that this is not necessarily indicative of real-world relative performance, at least I know my CPU is actually working properly.

Thanks to all those who responded, and a warning to Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3P owners who are running BIOS F12: the voltage settings are a bit screwy.

I wonder if I should or could upgrade my GA-EP35-DS3l+ GTX460 w/ Core 2 duo e8400 to q8400. I do Hi Def Video Trans-coding with Blu-ray; would it improve h.d.v-trans-coding. The e8400 is dead in Hi Def Video Trans-coding. I have built i7-950 socket 1366 w/ DDR3 3x 2Gb & GTX460 but I wonder if i could make a Ga-EP35-DS3l more useful.
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June 21, 2011 12:57:16 PM

MERX2006 said:
I wonder if I should or could upgrade my GA-EP35-DS3l+ GTX460 w/ Core 2 duo e8400 to q8400. I do Hi Def Video Trans-coding with Blu-ray; would it improve h.d.v-trans-coding. The e8400 is dead in Hi Def Video Trans-coding. I have built i7-950 socket 1366 w/ DDR3 3x 2Gb & GTX460 but I wonder if i could make a Ga-EP35-DS3l more useful. merx2006@yahoo.com


I'm sure the extra cores will help you with transcoding, but I haven't been all that impressed with my own q8400's performance on that front. I'm wondering if the larger cache of the q9400 would make any difference there. Your best bet would be a socket 775 processor with 4 cores and HyperThreading, but I don't know if such an animal exists.
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June 21, 2011 1:06:23 PM

I don't think the animal exists. Moments ago I checked "CPU Benchmark", the results made me wonder why I would waste any more money on socket 775. Maybe I'll buy mobo GA-P43-ES3G for a back-up motherboard in the event the GA-EP35-DS3L lands in the graveyard. Thanks for the input.
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a b à CPUs
June 21, 2011 5:44:47 PM

This topic has been closed by Mousemonkey
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July 1, 2011 12:07:16 AM

Best answer selected by AtomicPlayboyX.
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