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Performance Summary And Evaluation

AMD Unleashed: Four CPUs, Two GPUs, All Overclocked
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The largest overall separation in performance comes in Unreal Tournament 3, although each processor still delivered playable performance. Our other CPU-limited game, World In Conflict, also shows a large performance difference, although the overall total is reduced by the more GPU-limited AA and AF settings. Crysis and Supreme Commander are quite GPU limited, and with the Radeon HD 4870, details will need to be reduced to find playable levels.

Switching to the more powerful Radeon HD 4870 X2 paints a very different picture in Crysis than the one seen above. Supreme Commander is still mainly GPU-limited. We see some slight differences, but the true story is missed in this chart since the game is now completely playable with all four processors. Notice how the lone dual-core processor trails significantly in every game, indicating that each of these games seems to benefit from having at least three cores.

The overall total games percentage can be somewhat misleading without also looking at the performance in each individual game. But the average could arguably still be a useful gauge, as unplayable GPU-limited situations like Supreme Commander balance out the massive victory seen in the easily playable Unreal Tournament 3. 

The Phenom X4 9950 BE is able to blow past the Athlon 7750 BE and even catch the Phenom X3 720BE in A/V encoding because of its performance in thread-optimized envionments, such as DivX and MainConcept. Similarly, the quad-core processor’s overall application average is boosted with faster 3ds Max and AVG 8 times. 

To keep the same weighting as the SBM series of articles, only the Radeon HD 4870 X2 gaming results are factored into the combined score. It’s no surprise that the overclockable quad-core Phenom II X4 940 Black Edition takes the top position in this performance roundup. Of course, it’s also the most expensive option here and may be out of range for some users. 

Deciding second place is not nearly as easy and will need to be left up to the individual user. Gamers, or those seeking lower power consumption and less heat, should opt for the Phenom II X3 720 Black Edition with additional L3 cache and the ability to reach higher-core speeds. Non-gamers running threaded applications might feel that it’s better to use AMD’s former power-hungry heavyweight, the Phenom X4 9950 Black Edition. There may be others who simply can’t afford any of these options, and will find the Athlon 7750 able to meet their needs. 

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  • 5 Hide
    radguy , June 1, 2009 7:14 AM
    So did I miss somthing or where does it say what each of these processors is overclocked to. I get that the p2 x3 720be is at 3.67 but what about the rest of them. Am I missing it somewhere (very possible) or do I have to look back at your previous articles to figure it out? shouldn't that be on the test systems and configuration page. I am trying to sort through the data.
  • 2 Hide
    dirtmountain , June 1, 2009 7:30 AM
    Nice article Paul and some exhaustive work! Don't overlook the 780G/SB710 that also feature ACC for a price of $72
    http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16813157154
    making the Phenom2 x3 720 a viable option in the SBM budget category. I'm also going to be curious about the new Phenom2 x2 and Athlon2 x2 processors that are coming out June 2nd.
  • 0 Hide
    apache_lives , June 1, 2009 7:35 AM
    Has anyone noticed the benchmarks for the i5's on anandtech yet?
  • 1 Hide
    nerrawg , June 1, 2009 8:32 AM
    Great article guys - love the comparisons to the SBM machines - really gives some insight into CPU and GPU scaling and how much to spend on your processor versus your graphics for gaming builds. Thanks!
  • 8 Hide
    Sihastru , June 1, 2009 8:37 AM
    apache_livesHas anyone noticed the benchmarks for the i5's on anandtech yet?


    I did. Considering the pricing scheme of the i5 (so close to AMD) and it's high performance numbers (so close to the i7) AMD is in big trouble.

    Intel will shift all the processors that are now under the i7 (even if the 920 is rumored to become EOL, one step down on it's portfolio, which means high end Intel dual cores, will go into or under the mainstream, where AMD already has a hard time.

    This doesn't make me very happy, even if I am an Intel fanboy. Aggressive pricing schemes are overrated. AMD needs something new. Now.
  • 1 Hide
    DjEaZy , June 1, 2009 8:52 AM
    ... BIG THX to the Tom's crew... was not so hard after all? ... now, thx to YOU, we have a info about intel, nVidia and AMD/ATi solutions... how they stack up in price/performance/cost of ownership... NICELY DONE!!!
  • 5 Hide
    erdinger , June 1, 2009 9:30 AM
    Yes thanks, many people complained in the system builder marathon and you listened to the complaints... great.
  • 3 Hide
    ufo_warviper , June 1, 2009 9:35 AM
    The E5200 seems to hold up a bit better than I previously thought, an incredible value for
  • 0 Hide
    SpadeM , June 1, 2009 10:52 AM
    sihastruI did. Considering the pricing scheme of the i5 (so close to AMD) and it's high performance numbers (so close to the i7) AMD is in big trouble.Intel will shift all the processors that are now under the i7 (even if the 920 is rumored to become EOL, one step down on it's portfolio, which means high end Intel dual cores, will go into or under the mainstream, where AMD already has a hard time.This doesn't make me very happy, even if I am an Intel fanboy. Aggressive pricing schemes are overrated. AMD needs something new. Now.


    AMD doesn't need something new now, they are going to flood the market with low to mid range processor (see computex in a couple of days) that will cater to the masses. On the high end side of things the PII remains an options since it's direct competitor, the intel penryn quads will fade out to be replaced by the new kid on the block, the i5. As for the enthusiast (lots of money, no jaw dropping performance increase)segment the i7 will rule them all. So the battle between blue and green will continue as is, for almost 3 years now AMD has lost the crown, another year isn't going to hurt them much. Things will get heated this time next year when more and more bulldozer and fusion rumors will start spreading.

    As of now, nothing new, in this review or the ones that will follow.
  • 6 Hide
    pauldh , June 1, 2009 11:19 AM
    radguySo did I miss somthing or where does it say what each of these processors is overclocked to. I get that the p2 x3 720be is at 3.67 but what about the rest of them.

    Thanks for pointing this out. No you didn't miss anything, the CPU-Z screenshots should have been put up in pairs CPU Tab / Memory Tab.

    Phenom II X4 940 BE - 3.793 GHz (18.5* 205) 1.5375V
    Phenom II X3 720 BE - 3.672 GHz (18.0* 204) 1.500V
    Phenom X4 9950 BE - 3.400 GHz (16.5*206) 1.425V
    Athlon 7750 BE - 3.383 GHz (16.5*205) 1.425V

  • 5 Hide
    buzznut , June 1, 2009 11:37 AM
    All I can say is Thank you. What a great article! I can't see anyone not considering the PhII X3 720 for a budget build.

    I'm glad to see my X4 940 is holding up so well. Prolly be another 2 months before I feel obsolete again!
  • 3 Hide
    buzznut , June 1, 2009 11:39 AM
    O, BTW isn't 1.5V extremely high for a PhII? I've never taken mine beyond 1.45V. I'm chicken
  • -4 Hide
    ct1615 , June 1, 2009 11:41 AM
    never understood why IDIOTS type in ALL caps EVERY other WORD.

    if you have a simple understanding of the english language and can type, the reader will know what words are emphasized.
  • -5 Hide
    ct1615 , June 1, 2009 11:42 AM
    DjEaZy... BIG THX to the Tom's crew... was not so hard after all? ... now, thx to YOU, we have a info about intel, nVidia and AMD/ATi solutions... how they stack up in price/performance/cost of ownership... NICELY DONE!!!


    never understood why IDIOTS type in ALL caps EVERY other WORD.

    if you have a simple understanding of the english language and can type, the reader will know what words are emphasized.
  • 0 Hide
    cinergy , June 1, 2009 12:02 PM
    These benchmarks are obsolete and shouldn't be compared to anything. Firstly cat 9.2 is from february, now its june and cat 9.5. AMD also has had 7850 and 955 processors available quite awhile for better performance.
  • 0 Hide
    programmed4gamin , June 1, 2009 12:04 PM
    radguySo did I miss somthing or where does it say what each of these processors is overclocked to. I get that the p2 x3 720be is at 3.67 but what about the rest of them. Am I missing it somewhere (very possible) or do I have to look back at your previous articles to figure it out? shouldn't that be on the test systems and configuration page. I am trying to sort through the data.


    Check out screens from CPU-Z. Good article.. i say: FINALLY!

    How about using AMD and Intel CPUs in GPU tests in the future? I'm not gonna buy Intel no matter what, so furter articles with AMD processors i would gladly welcome
  • 0 Hide
    ufo_warviper , June 1, 2009 12:21 PM
    That's odd, most of my previous post is no displaying... Maybe that's why it has a negative score? I noticed, I hunted for a post I submitted last last week on a different article and it looks like it never posted.
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