Updated: Tuning C'n'Q: Maximize Power And Performance, Part 2

Test System And Benchmarks

Test System Configuration
CPU

AMD Athlon X2 7750 (2.7 GHz, 3MB cache)
AMD Athlon X2 7850
(2.8 GHz, 3MB cache)
AMD Athlon II X2 250
(3 GHz, 2MB cache)
AMD Phenom II X3 710
(2.6 GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
AMD Phenom II X4 945
(3 GHz, 6MB L3 cache)
AMD Phenom II X4 955
(3.2 GHz, 6MB L3 cache)

Motherboard

AMD790GX:

Biostar TA790GX 128M
Gigabyte GA-MA790GP DS4H
Gigabyte GA-MA790GP-UD4H
Biostar TA790GX A3+

RAM
Kingston KHX8500D2K2/2G PC1066 (4GB) at DDR2-800 CAS 5-5-5-16
Graphics
ATI Radeon HD 3300 (AMD790GX), 500 MHz GPU
Hard Drive
Western Digital Green Power 1TB WD10EACS (AHCI mode), 16MB cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s
Sound
Onboard Sound, Realtek ALC880
Networking
Onboard Gigabit Ethernet, Realtek RTC8111C, 1 Gbps
Power Supply
PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 watt ATX12V v.2.2, EPS 12V CrossFire Edition
Enermax Tomahawk 405W ATX 12V
CPU Cooler
Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme, Noctua NF-P12 120 mm fan
Fans
2 x Noctua NF-P12 120 mm fan (not including CPU fan)
Software
Operating System
Windows Vista Home Edition 32 bit SP1
Graphics
AMD Catalyst 9.5
Benchmark Configuration
Audio Encoding

RealPlayer: Version 11.0.1, Audio CD “The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)” 54:13. Default Format: AAC 320 kbps.

iTunes: Version 8.1.1.10, Audio CD “The Phantom of the Opera (Original 1986 London Cast)” 54:13. Default Format: AAC 256 kbps.

Video Encoding

DivX: Version 6.8.5, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Encoding Mode: Insane Quality. Enhanced Multithreading: Enabled. Experimental SSE4 full search: Enabled using SSE2. Quality: 10. Rate Control: 1 pass, quality based. Fixed quantizer: 1

Xvid: Version 1.2.1, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Profile: Unrestricted. Encoding Type: single pass, quality based. Target quantizer: 1

Windows Media Encoder 9: Version 9.00.00.2980, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Profile: High Definition Video/Audio. Encoding Type: two pass. Video Bitrate: 5.3 Mbps.

Video Playback

Cyberlink PowerDVD 9: Version 9.0.1530.0, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Hardware Acceleration: Enabled.

Media Player Classic Homecinema: Version 1.2.908, Video Trailer “Nine Inch Nails: Beside You In Time” 2:20, 1080p. Using Internal MPC decoder. DXVA/Hardware Acceleration (for H.264): Enabled.

Productivity

WinRAR 3.80: Version 3.8, compressing a 656 MB folder and decompressing the archive.

POV-Ray: Version 3.6.1c, built in benchmark.

Adobe Photoshop CS4: Version 11.0, Driverheaven.net Photoshop Benchmark script Version 3 (http://www.driverheaven.net/photoshop.php).

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 2001 SE
Built 330, All Game Tests.
3DMark Vantage
Build 1.0.1, CPU Tests AI & PhysX.
Super Pi
SuperPi 1.5 XS mod, 1M & 8M.
Cinebench R10
Version 10, All Tests – OpenGL, Single and Multi core/processor Rendering Test.
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24 comments
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    Top Comments
  • nzprogamer
    GO AMD go
    i am telling you my next build AMD/ATI
    """I WILL BE BACK"""
    10
  • Other Comments
  • nzprogamer
    GO AMD go
    i am telling you my next build AMD/ATI
    """I WILL BE BACK"""
    10
  • jedimasterben
    I'd be interested to see the tests performed on Windows 7 to see what the effect of reducing thread "jumping" would be.
    5
  • cnox
    Dammit...how can this part 2 article be posted before the Building the Balanced PC Part 2?

    Cumon....
    -9
  • melangex3
    Great Stuff. Keep up the good work. This is the type of review that will keep me coming back. How about throwing in the ever popular 720 BE and the new 620 or 630 just for giggles?
    4
  • Ryun
    jedimasterbenI'd be interested to see the tests performed on Windows 7 to see what the effect of reducing thread "jumping" would be.


    I was thinking the same thing as well.

    Also, were the BIOSs all updated? The asynchronous clocks problem you're experiencing with Athlon II X2 was supposed to be fixed with updated CPU microcode.
    0
  • Summer Leigh Castle
    620 and 720? :D
    1
  • redgarl
    I must admit that lately AMD is impressive. I got a PII X3 720 BE unleashed at PII X4 20 fully stable with an Asus M4A78T-E latest BIOS. Let simply add that my 2 radeon 4850 OC in Crossfire are running as fast as 2 stock 4870...

    If you take into account that the 2 cards only cost 82$ each for a total of 165$ for the two... I can hardly believe that so little money can give so much results.
    0
  • JimmiG
    With my Phenom X4 9650, I found Cool n Quiet to be pretty much worthless without tweaks. There were huge performance drops across the board, especially with tasks that didn't use all four cores, or only loaded cores partially. Videos and games would stutter and skip every couple of frames, compressing files would take longer etc. I basically had a 1.1 GHz CPU that would sometimes run at 2.3 GHz, if it felt like it. Too bad there was no tweak guide available then. I just disabled CnQ which solved all problems but made the system use more power and run hotter.

    With my 955BE, I haven't really had a need to tweak CnQ. It might cause a slight performance hit in some rare cases, but generally when I need a 3.2 GHz CPU, that's what it delivers.
    2
  • tacoslave
    Nice, amd owns in the graphics department now with that $1.2 billion im sure amd is heading to pwn BOTH markets.
    0
  • saint19
    Good!!!, I have my 955 to 3.8GHz at 1.5V....
    0
  • marraco
    Quote:
    For this test, we've selected a 616MB folder full of files (the installer for Adobe Photoshop CS4)

    Bad choice. You are "compressing" already compressed files.
    A better choice would be to copy 600 MB from windows "program files" folder, and play with it.
    -2
  • eyemaster
    marracoBad choice. You are "compressing" already compressed files.A better choice would be to copy 600 MB from windows "program files" folder, and play with it.


    Bad choice if you're trying to compress file, but not a bad choice if you're just trying to stress a CPU. It will still have to do a whole lot of calculations regardless of the files.
    0
  • b23h
    Thank you very much for this article. It came at the perfect time for me. I’ve just upgraded from a 65 watt AMD Athlon 64 X2 4600 to the AMD Phemon II X3 720. Since I’m running a fanless CPU heatsink (ZEROtherm BTF95) I was concerned that the 95 watts of power of the 720 would be too much for the BTF95. I was planning on underclocking the CPU in order to approximate what I thought the heatsink could handle. However with the help of the article I don’t need to underclock it at all. Using the chart of the 710 I estimated some beginning settings for the 720. While I may be able to further lower the voltages I’ve stressed test my current settings by running a program called the Intel Burn Test plus an immoderate amount of Borderlands.

    The 720 seems to have four p-states. The defaults were 1.25/1.15/1.05/.95 I am currently running the CPU at 1.15/1.125/1.0250/.9 I really haven’t thoroughly stress tested all the possibilities so I expect I may still be able to optimize further P-states one through three.

    The timing of this article was excellent for me and I appreciate all the information I’ve gotten at Tom’s Hardware Guide all these years.
    2
  • volks1470
    Typo! Phenom II X3-X4 720-965 only have 6MB of L3 cache, not 8MB. Not a big deal but for a second there I though the 955 had more L3 cache than my 965.
    0
  • 4ILY45
    melangex3Great Stuff. Keep up the good work. This is the type of review that will keep me coming back. How about throwing in the ever popular 720 BE and the new 620 or 630 just for giggles?


    YES PLEASE!!!! :)
    0
  • shreeharsha
    I still need to sell my intel Pentium 660 system to build a AMD system. I am a AMD fan (converted) stuck with intel processor system.
    1
  • JohnnyLucky
    Thanks for a very informative article that helps put things in perspective.
    0
  • chaitanya_mkin
    Im Telling u AMD wll be the king in HISTORY theres no other name than AMD.
    Quote:
    AMD the BEST
    -1
  • chaitanya_mkin
    And this comparision is great for amd users, ofcourse for me tooooo cause im using AMD since 6 years.(my brain is AMD ATHLON X2 6000+ WINDSOR 3.02GHz)
    -1
  • arnawa_widagda
    Hello,

    We've updated this article (and the first part) with results from an AM3 motherboard and an Athlon II X4 620. The p-state settings we tested with the Athlon II X4 620 can be found in the first part (along with some power consumption numbers).
    0