We're using two test systems that share the same type of hard drive, CPU cooler, memory, and graphics card in order to minimize the variables.
For the AMD system, we're using the Asus M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard. This board features a 785G chipset that showed great memory support and overclocking prowess in our AMD 785G motherboard roundup. At $100 online, it is a fantastic low-cost AMD overclocking board.
The Intel system uses Gigabyte's H55M-UD2H, a board that performed excellently in our Phenom II X2 555 vs. Pentium G6950 article. This motherboard costs just under $90 online.
We're choosing a single GeForce GTX 480 as the graphics card. Just to be clear, we're opting for this card not because it's something we recommend pairing with a low-end CPU, but because it's quite powerful, and should help remove any graphics subsystem bottlenecks from our CPU results.
We don't have a Phenom II X4 945 on hand, so we are simulating this processor by lowering the multiplier of a Phenom II X4 955 to bring the clock speed down to 3 GHz. This is also a good indicator of stock Phenom II X4 940 performance, as it uses the same multiplier and clock speed.
We're using the same multiplier-lowering technique to simulate Core i3-530 performance by lowering the multiplier of a Core i3-540 sample we have. Core i3 processors do not have a Turbo Boost mode, so this should work like a charm, as the Core i3-530 and Core i3-540 models are only differentiated with a single multiplier and a 133 MHz difference.
|Intel Test System||AMD Test System|
Intel Pentium G6950 2.8 GHz (Clarkdale)
AMD Athlon II X2 260 3.2 GHz (Regor)
Gigabyte H55M-UD2H LGA 1156
Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3
|Networking||Onboard Gigabit LAN controller|
GeForce GTX 480 Reference
Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
ePOWER EP-1200E10-T2 1,200W
|Software and Drivers|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 x64|
|DirectX version||DirectX 11|
|Crysis||Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool|
High Quality, No AA
|Aliens vs Predator||Version 220.127.116.11, Aliens vs Predator DirectX 11 benchmark|
Default Settings, No AA, 16x AF
|Far Cry 2||Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark|
Ultra Setting, 4x AA
|DiRT 2||Version 18.104.22.168, DirectX 11, in-game benchmark|
Ultra Settings, 8x AA
|World in Conflict||Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo|
High Details, 2x AA, 2x AF
|3DMark Vantage||Version: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores|
- Who'se Got Game For Under $150?
- Testing Methodology
- Test System And Benchmarks
- Benchmark Results: 3DMark Vantage
- Benchmark Results: Crysis
- Benchmark Results: Aliens Vs. Predator
- Benchmark Results: Far Cry 2
- Benchmark Results: World In Conflict
- Benchmark Results: DiRT 2
- Multitasking Benchmark
- Conclusion: Three Processors Stand Above The Sub-$150 Crowd