Sign in with
Sign up | Sign in

Test Setup And Benchmarks

AMD Athlon II X2 / Phenom II X2 And Low-Power CPU Bonanza
By

Never let it be said that we don't take your feedback to heart! Although it means the power and performance numbers in this story won't be comparable to any of our past reviews, enough readers asked to see AMD processors tested on AMD platforms and with AMD graphics cards that we're abiding in this piece. 

Also, because the dual-core CPUs are value-oriented in nature, we're using a Gigabyte motherboard based on AMD's 770 chipset, which sells for about $85 bucks online. In exchange, we're also testing with Intel's DG45ID motherboard, which sells for a bit more, but still amounts to what we consider a fair comparison. You should be able to find inexpensive P45 boards online as well, which would take memory running at up to 1,333 MT/s (thus giving the Intel solutions more bandwidth than what our DDR2-equipped G45 platform can deliver).

Test Hardware
Processors
AMD Athlon II X2 250 (Regor) 3.0 GHz, Socket AM3, 4 GT/s HyperTransport, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X2 550 (Callisto) 3.1 GHz, Socket AM3, 4 GT/s HyperTransport, 6 MB L3, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X3 705e (Heka) 2.5 GHz, Socket AM3, 4 GT/s HyperTransport, 6 MB L3, Power-savings enabled

AMD Phenom II X4 905e (Deneb) 2.5 GHz, Socket AM3, 4 GT/s HyperTransport, 6 MB L3, Power-savings enabled

Intel Core 2 Quad Q8400 (Yorkfield-4M) 2.66 GHz, LGA 775, 1,333 MT/s FSB, 4 MB L2, Power-savings enabled

Intel Pentium E6300 (Wolfdale-2M) 2.8 GHz, LGA 775, 1,066 MT/s FSB, 2 MB L2, Power-savings enabled
Motherboards
Gigabyte MA770T-UD3P (Socket AM3) 770/SB710

Intel DG45ID (LGA 775) G45/ICH10R, BIOS 0101

ASRock M3A790GXH/128M (Socket AM3) 790GX/SB750, BIOS 1.10
Memory
Corsair 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1600 8-8-8-24 @ DDR3-1333

Corsair 4 GB (2 x 2 GB) DDR2-1066 5-5-5 @ DDR2-800
Hard Drive
Western Digital VelociRaptor WD3000GLFS 300 GB 10,000 RPM SATA 3 Gb/s
Graphics
HIS Radeon HD 4890 1 GB
Power Supply
Cooler Master UCP 1100W
System Software And Drivers
Operating System
Windows Vista Ultimate Edition x64, Service Pack 1
DirectX
DirectX 10
Platform Driver
Catalyst 9.5

Intel INF Chipset Update Utility 9.1.0.1012
Graphics Driver
Catalyst 9.5


Phenom II X2 550 BEPhenom II X2 550 BEAnd the competition: Pentium E6300And the competition: Pentium E6300

Benchmarks and Settings

3D Games

Stalker: Clear Sky

Quality settings set to high, 1920x1200/1680x1050, Benchmark tool, average of all four scenarios

Far Cry 2

Quality settings set to high, 1920x1200/1680x1050, latest Steam version, in-game benchmark (Ranch medium).

Left 4 Dead

Quality settings set to max, 1920x1200/1680x1050, latest Steam version, timed demo.

H.A.W.X.

High Quality Setting, vsync off, 1680x1050/1920x1200, DirectX 10, Ambient Occlusion: High, Patch 1.2

Grand Theft Auto 4
Quality settings set to high, Anisotropic filtering: "High," 1920x1200/1680x1050, Patch 1.3, Built-in benchmark.

Audio Encoding

iTunes

Version: 8.1.0.52, Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min., Default format AAC

Lame MP3

Version: 3.98 (64-bit), Audio CD ""Terminator II" SE, 53 min, wave to MP3, 160 Kb/s

Video Encoding

TMPEG 4.6

Version: 4.5.1.254, Import File: "Terminator II" SE DVD (5 Minutes), Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9

DivX 6.8.5

Encoding mode: Insane Quality, Enhanced Multi-Threading, Enabled using SSE4, Quarter-pixel search

XviD 1.2.1

Display encoding status=off

Mainconcept Reference 1.6.1

MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS), Profile: Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core

Applications

Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 (64-bit)

Version: 2009, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)

WinRAR 3.90 Beta 1

Version 3.90 Beta 1, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)

WinZip 12

Version 12, Compression=Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings

3DMark Vantage

Version: 1.02, GPU and CPU scores

PCMark Vantage

Version: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646

SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP3

CPU Test=CPU Arithmetic/MultiMedia, Memory Test=Bandwidth Benchmark

Display all 54 comments.
This thread is closed for comments
Top Comments
  • 28 Hide
    thedipper , June 2, 2009 1:45 AM
    IronRyan21Maybe if AMD would actually bring out some kind of nehalem competitor instead of flooding the cheapo market with variations of the same chips all over the place. There was Athlon 64 X2, brisbane and windsor, then there was Kuma, which was a phenom with 2 cores disabled. Now we got these new chips which are phenom 2s with 2 cores disabled. Lets put the money into some R&D and get somewhere. It seems like AMDs lost traction. sad.


    The low to mid-price segments are the best selling hardware categories.

    Believe it or not, the $100 bang-for-the-buck graphics cards by far outsell the $500 space heater graphics cards. As with graphics cards, $50-100 CPUs by far outsell the $300-1300 CPUs.

    The market that seems like most of the market - the enthusiasts and gamers - is actually not that much of the market share. Businesses building for performance-per-dollar, low-mid performance factory built home PCs, and people building web or media machines... these together outweigh the enthusiast/gamer market.
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 1:58 AM
    @IronRyan: Why not start your own semiconductor company and show AMD how it's done? Can a similar argument not be applied to Intel's "double cheeseburger" quads, and "single patty" dual-cores? If we even get any non-quad i7/i5s, do you know if Intel won't just do the same thing? In the future, instead of coming up with some lame argument, just post this for each article:

    "Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"
Other Comments
  • 28 Hide
    thedipper , June 2, 2009 1:45 AM
    IronRyan21Maybe if AMD would actually bring out some kind of nehalem competitor instead of flooding the cheapo market with variations of the same chips all over the place. There was Athlon 64 X2, brisbane and windsor, then there was Kuma, which was a phenom with 2 cores disabled. Now we got these new chips which are phenom 2s with 2 cores disabled. Lets put the money into some R&D and get somewhere. It seems like AMDs lost traction. sad.


    The low to mid-price segments are the best selling hardware categories.

    Believe it or not, the $100 bang-for-the-buck graphics cards by far outsell the $500 space heater graphics cards. As with graphics cards, $50-100 CPUs by far outsell the $300-1300 CPUs.

    The market that seems like most of the market - the enthusiasts and gamers - is actually not that much of the market share. Businesses building for performance-per-dollar, low-mid performance factory built home PCs, and people building web or media machines... these together outweigh the enthusiast/gamer market.
  • 9 Hide
    jj463rd , June 2, 2009 1:48 AM
    Those Phenom II 905e's and 705e's would be kickass if paired with the upcoming 785g motherboards.
    AMD has some new interesting CPU's.
  • 18 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 1:58 AM
    @IronRyan: Why not start your own semiconductor company and show AMD how it's done? Can a similar argument not be applied to Intel's "double cheeseburger" quads, and "single patty" dual-cores? If we even get any non-quad i7/i5s, do you know if Intel won't just do the same thing? In the future, instead of coming up with some lame argument, just post this for each article:

    "Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"
  • 9 Hide
    deputc26 , June 2, 2009 2:09 AM
    Anyone else see the Athlon X2 and think that if they underclocked and undervolted it they'd finally have a legitimate mobile contender?
    If they can run 4 cores at 2.5ghz and 8mb cache on 65w they should be able to run 2 cores at 2.5 ghz and 2mb cache at less than 32.5w.
  • 2 Hide
    rdawise , June 2, 2009 2:33 AM
    Interesting article...I'm glad you put this against the E6300. I haven't seen much about this chip. It as if Intel just snuck on onto the market. I wonder how high of an overclock you can get with it....

    Onto the article, it seems as if the Phenom II x2 550 BE would a great chip in a value gaming rig. If you could unclock the extra cores and get it stable, you'd be one lucky man. Can't wait till see these on the Egg...
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , June 2, 2009 2:38 AM
    Quickest Pentium, only one with a 1066 MHz bus, disappointing that it's missing some functionality, though.

    Anyone else reminded of GeForce 2 MX when they see how Intel is positioning its mainstream chips these days? I'm all for differentiating with performance to drive down price (even cutting performance-oriented features, like Hyper-Threading), but don't start shedding the actual capabilities of an architecture to handicap it.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 3:14 AM
    I would find the Phenom X2 550 interesting because many of the programs I still run today are singlethreaded.
    These programs benefit more from a higher clockrate than more cores.

    Keeping this in mind, and the fact that an OS doesn't (spectacularly) boot faster with more cores, I think the X2 is a great buy.
    I'm a bit dissapointed at the powerdraw. For a HDTV box you don't necessarily need to buy a Radeon 4850. Perhaps a lower powerdraw (and price) in the 4770 or 4670 will be better.
    To playback full HD (1080p) I suppose a Radeon HD 2900XT would be enough.
    Add office tasks, internetting, some photoshop, and casual gaming on a 22"monitor (1680x1050 pix), and a Radeon 4670 would be enough in most cases.
    If you have a 24" monitor (1920x1200 pix) a Radeon 4770 would do.
    Only when latest gaming is concerned should you go for a Radeon 4870 or a 4890.
  • -2 Hide
    Gin Fushicho , June 2, 2009 3:16 AM
    Cant...wait...for...AthlonII.
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , June 2, 2009 3:24 AM
    Pro, for an HTPC, you'd be fine with a 4670, more than likely. The challenge will be building a system able to keep that setup cool enough. The Maui box with the 905e was *near-silent* but a discrete card would have wrecked this, and a 4670 is almost too much card to be passively-cooled (a la Ultimate-style) without better airflow in the case.
  • 0 Hide
    billybobs , June 2, 2009 3:27 AM
    IronRyansSister@IronRyan: Why not start your own semiconductor company and show AMD how it's done? Can a similar argument not be applied to Intel's "double cheeseburger" quads, and "single patty" dual-cores? If we even get any non-quad i7/i5s, do you know if Intel won't just do the same thing? In the future, instead of coming up with some lame argument, just post this for each article:"Hi, my name's IronRyan, and I like Intel. Go team Intel, yay!!!!!"


    Is this guy serious? He counters another reader's argument by taunting him? Seriously.
  • -3 Hide
    WheelsOfConfusion , June 2, 2009 3:35 AM
    Huh, I had assumed that the new Athlon line was just going to be Phenom IIs with cache/cores disabled. I guess this dedicated design is just a more efficient way to sell silicon than disabling good chips?
  • 1 Hide
    rooseveltdon , June 2, 2009 3:36 AM
    billybobsIs this guy serious? He counters another reader's argument by taunting him? Seriously.

    the othe reader did not have much of an argument to begin with so he deserved the taunting
  • 0 Hide
    hunter315 , June 2, 2009 3:53 AM
    A performance per watt graph would have been nice especially as this was an article comparing lower powered processors as most of us dont run ours at full load for extended periods of time.
  • 0 Hide
    buzznut , June 2, 2009 3:56 AM
    Wow! I am waintin til the price comes down on the 905e, then I'm gettin one. For htpc build, It looks mighty tempting.
  • 2 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 3:59 AM
    All this like many other toms articles show me there is not much difference between closely released proximity hardware!
  • 0 Hide
    cangelini , June 2, 2009 4:07 AM
    WoooooooooooooAll this like many other toms articles show me there is not much difference between closely released proximity hardware!


    When a release is incremental and evolutionary in nature, that's a pretty safe bet. There's no use in us embellishing the differences for theatrical effect now, is there?
  • 3 Hide
    Anonymous , June 2, 2009 5:12 AM
    @BillyBob: IronRyan posts an equally pointless pro-Intel fanboy comment everytime any article is posted, I couldn't take the waste of LCD screen space any longer, somebody had to say something.
  • 1 Hide
    MAD4AMD , June 2, 2009 5:47 AM
    Hit me with something Intel! And hit me with good/cheep or you may lose mainstream very quickly...
  • 7 Hide
    ohim , June 2, 2009 6:41 AM
    Is is me or iTunes shouldn`t be used as a benchmark since it`s beeing developed by apple wich uses only Intel CPU`s, and lame audio encoding ... i mean look at the other 2 multimedia programs used and look at those 2.
Display more comments