|Processors||AMD Athlon X2 4850e @ 2.5 GHz|
|AMD Phenom X4 9850 Black Edition @ 2.5 GHz|
|Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 @ 2.53 GHz|
|Motherboards||Gigabyte MA74GM-S2 740G|
|Intel DG45ID G45|
|Graphics||Integrated Radeon 2100-series|
|Integrated GMA X4500 HD|
|Memory||4 GB (2 x 2 GB ) Corsair Dominator DDR2-1066 5-5-5|
|Hard Drive||Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1 TB SATA|
|Power Supply||PC Power and Cooling Turbo-Cool 510 ATX|
|Adobe Photoshop CS3||Applying six filters on a 96MB TIFF file|
|WinZIP||Eight files, 139 MB|
|iTunes||Audio CD Terminator 2, convert to AAC|
|PowerDVD 8 Ultra||Blu-ray playback, 100 seconds of Casino Royale|
|TMPG Express 4||Five minutes Terminator 2, encoded with XviD and DivX|
|Half Life 2 : Episode 2||Timedemo, low settings, 1024x768|
|World in Conflict||In-game benchmark, low detail, 1024x768|
|3DMark Vantage||Entry mode|
|PCMark Vantage||Default run|
|SiSoft Sandra||CPU, multimedia, and memory bandwidth benchmarks|
A few notes about our three configurations here.
The AMD-based setups are both driven by Gigabyte’s 740G-based MA74GM-S2. The board supports AHCI, but we are running it in legacy IDE mode as a result of the horrible process involved in getting it to work. Moreover, because the740G southbridge doesn’t support HyperTransport 3.0, the Phenom X4 9850’s HT link is throttled back to 1 GHz. Finally, it’s worth mentioning that the integrated Radeon 2100 graphics core does not support DirectX 10, nor does it help accelerate Blu-ray media playback.
Intel’s G45 does feature hardware decode acceleration of Blu-ray, but you need the latest version of either WinDVD or PowerDVD in order to take advantage of the chipset’s video functionality, else the hardware won’t be put to use. We went with the latest build of Cyberlink’s PowerDVD, which successfully recognized the chipset’s acceleration capabilities.
The same version of PowerDVD also identified the 740G’s Avivo engine and turned it on. However, when Blu-ray content is being played back, the acceleration is non-functional since 740G cannot do H.264.
Another interesting point was that the 740G/Athlon X2 4850e combination seemed to do a lot of memory frequency throttling. With Cool’n’Quiet enabled, the processor would slow to 1 GHz, while the memory bus would drop to 200 MHz (DDR2-400). At full speed, the core would accelerate to 2.5 GHz and the memory would top out at about 350 MHz (DDR2-700ish), never quite getting up to 400 MHz. We thought that maybe a bug in CPU-z was the problem, but our memory bandwidth numbers definitely indicate a memory bandwidth issue.