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Test Systems And Benchmarks

Phenom II X2 555 Vs. Pentium G6950: New Budget Dual-Core Titans
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We used two test systems that shared the same hard drive, CPU cooler, and memory in order to minimize the variables. The Intel system was benched both with the Pentium G6950 and Core i5-750 for comparison.

To keep the CPUs frosty, we needed something that'd work on both systems, providing better cooling than the stock pieces and cheap enough to apply to budget overclocking systems. It wouldn't make sense to put a $50 cooler on a $100 CPU. The resulting cost would approach the price of a retail Core i5-750 and its stock cooler.

For this task we chose the Cooler Master TX3. While it's far from the most effective cooler out there, its $15 price tag makes it an ideal fit. Plus, it's compatible with Socket AM3 and LGA 1156 interfaces. With the fan running at 100%, the TX3 provides fairly good cooling performance, although it's a little louder than we'd like. But when you're overclocking on a budget, performance and price are more important than comfort.

For the AMD system, we chose to use Asus' M4A785TD-V EVO motherboard, a solid piece built around the 785G chipset that has good memory support and overclocking prowess.  At just under $100 online, it is a solid low-cost overclocking board.

For the Intel system, we wanted to use the P55 chipset at a reasonable price (since we weren't planning to employ Intel's on-package integrated graphics). Our choice was Gigabyte's GA-P55-UD3L that costs $105 online, fairly close to the price of our AMD board. Unfortunately we couldn't get a hold of one in time so our testing was done on the considerably more expensive GA-P55-UD4P. Performance should be identical though, as both boards use the same P55 chipset. The good news is that we will be testing the CPU on a comparably-priced board in our follow-up article.


Intel Test System
AMD Test System
CPU

Intel Pentium G6950 2.8 GHz
Dual-core, 3MB L3 Cache

Intel Core i5-750 2.66 GHz
Quad-core, 8MB L3 Cache

AMD Phenom II X2 555 (Deneb),
3.2 GHz, 2,000 MHz HT, 6MB L3Cache

Motherboard

Gigabyte P55-UD4P LGA 1156
Chipset: Intel P55 Express

Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3
Chipset: AMD 785G, BIOS 0410

Networking
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

Mushkin PC3-10700
  2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 7-8-8-24-1-1T
Overclocked:
DDR3-1260, CL 8-9-9-24-1T

Mushkin PC3-10700
  2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24-1T
Overclocked:
DDR3-1426, CL 9-9-9-24-1T

Graphics

XFX Radeon HD 5850
(underclocked to reference speeds)
1GB GDDR5
Radeon HD 5850 GPU at 725 MHz

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Power

Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W
ATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus Certified

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers

ATI Catalyst 9.12

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
High Quality, No AA
Fallout 3Patch 1.7, Saved Game "Capital Wasteland" (60 sec)
Highest Details, No AA, No AF
Far Cry 2Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark
Ultra High Quality, No AA
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.XPatch 1.02, DirectX 10.1, in-game benchmark
Highest Settings, No AA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: 8.2.1.6 (x64)
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98.2, wave to MP3
Audio CD "Terminator II" SE, 53 min
wave to MP3
TMPGEnc 4.0 ExpressVersion: 4.7.3.292
Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1
Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1
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)
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)Version: 11.0 Extended, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8.5Version: 8.5.287, Virus database 2094, Benchmark: Scan 334MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.1, WinZip Command Line Version 3.0
Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP4aVersion 2009.9.15.130, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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