Skip to main content

Updated CPU Charts 2008: AMD Versus Intel

Introduction

The new CPU charts for 2008 from Tom’s Hardware have, at long last, arrived. There are 18 entries from AMD and 36 processors from Intel, which were put to the test using a fresh gauntlet of benchmarks. For more meaningful comparisons and the most consistent benchmark results, our testing platforms were fully re-equipped. Tthe graphics card used was a powerful MSI N280GTX-T2D1G-OC based on the Nvidia GeForce GTX 280.

Each platform is fitted with a 4 GB of main memory and is operated using Windows Vista Enterprise. The AMD system uses DDR2-1066 memory, while the Intel machine employs DDR3-1333 memory. An X-Fi Xtreme Gamer sound card from Creative takes the pressure off the processor when it comes to audio calculations and ensures reproducible results. In addition, the workloads of the benchmarks are processed on a RAM disk in order to ensure that the hard drive does not slow up the fast quad-core processors.

We test using 31 benchmarks representing office, video, audio and gaming markets. We also added six Linux benchmarks, which are also executed using a RAM disk. The Linux benchmark suite covers kernel compilation, PHP, packing of files using Gzip, SciMark, OpenSSL encryption, and compilation of Mplayer software using the GCC compiler.

In order to ensure that our testing procedure is suitable for coming generations of processors, it contains five applications designed for eight-core CPUs and five additional applications for quad-core models. Very few benchmarks are able to handle more than one processing core, because software developers currently have little need to adopt threading. Examples of those with the capability include iTunes and Lame. Because there are still a number of tests that do not, in fact, support multi-core CPUs, those tests reflect the benefits of frequency over parallelism instead.

When it comes to desktop processors, the competitive situation between Intel and AMD has changed considerably. Unlike in the past, Intel is now ahead in just about every category. The Intel models are also generally more overclockable, which means it is possible to build a high-end system for a relatively low cost. AMD is having trouble keeping up with Intel’s upper echelon of performance-oriented solutions and its current processor models offered only minor overclocking potential up until recently, when the SB750 southbridge improved scalability on Black Edition Phenoms. Only a new method of manufacturing is likely to change this situation significantly, though.

Editor’s Note: As with our recently updated graphics charts, we put together a brief introductory piece to familiarize you with the hardware and software used to generate the long list of benchmarks that you’re able to compare through our charts tool. On the last page of this piece, you’ll find links to the new charts list and the previous CPU update from earlier this year, which can still be used as a reference.

  • Mucke
    What about AMD Dual Cores?

    Especially the new Athlon 6500@3GHz would be interesting.

    By the way: the Intel-system uses DDR3-1333, AMD DDR2-1066; that makes some difference in the price (just like the mainboard).
    Reply
  • Ok, this is not a fair benchmark for AMD.. your testing motherboard for AMD platform costs only 140 euros and the testing top-range motherboard for Intel Platform costs 250 euros!!! To be equally tested it should be tested on P35 Chipset with DDR2 RAM.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    Yannis GROk, this is not a fair benchmark for AMD.. your testing motherboard for AMD platform costs only 140 euros and the testing top-range motherboard for Intel Platform costs 250 euros!!! To be equally tested it should be tested on P35 Chipset with DDR2 RAM.
    Yannis,

    Thank you for the feedback.

    It does not make sense to handicap the Intel platform simply because AMD's infrastructure is currently priced to compete with Intel's mid-range. This would completely eliminate the scores for higher-end configurations like Skulltrail and the Extreme Edition CPUs, providing an incomplete picture of the current processor landscape.
    Reply
  • Mucke
    It does not make sense to handicap the Intel platform simply because AMD's infrastructure is currently priced to compete with Intel's mid-range. This would completely eliminate the scores for higher-end configurations like Skulltrail and the Extreme Edition CPUs, providing an incomplete picture of the current processor landscape.

    In the final charts the details "3.33 GHz, DDR3-1333 (Wolfdale)" could be supplemented by the price for the entire system. Then it would be fair (you might even include Intels with DDR2 and Athlon X2s as well -- that would make a great list!).
    Reply
  • apaige
    The Linux OpenSSL results are completely out of whack (see http://global.phoronix-test-suite.com/?k=category&u=openssl for normal results). Intel results should be higher, and AMD results should be over *three* times higher. That's one benchmark where AMD processors have consistently shown to smoke Intel CPUs by a large margin. Something is definitely wrong with those results.

    Also, could you please give the exact command line for the LAME benchmark? And why do you keep on benchmarking it in CBR mode, even with the version bump, when all the work by its developers in recent years has essentially been on VBR mode? VBR is also highly recommended over CBR.
    Reply
  • Reynod
    It looks to me like you mismatched the mobo, ram and also cherry picked the graphics settings for the games.

    Why ... well it make the little green guys look even worse.

    Bert you don't really need to cheat on the benchmarks to prove the Intel CPU's are generally better.

    We do know that.

    Reply
  • duzcizgi
    cangeliniOne thing missing with the charts is, there's nosorting by price. Only then, your claim that test setups are fair, can hold ground.

    You have ordered the scores with fastest at the top, but what about order by price? Wouldn't it make more sense? If it's apples-apples comparison, then put apples against apples, not oranges. If it's price/performance comparison, then mention price differences also. How much both systems TCO is.
    Reply
  • sgtbaker420
    BTW Guys...Supreme Commander Forged Alliance was misspelled in your charts.
    Reply
  • wavebossa
    ReynodIt looks to me like you mismatched the mobo, ram and also cherry picked the graphics settings for the games.Why ... well it make the little green guys look even worse.Bert you don't really need to cheat on the benchmarks to prove the Intel CPU's are generally better.We do know that.
    You guys make it seem like not getting the fastest mobo and ram would make a real difference in these benchmanrks.

    If they didn't mismatch, what would you have wanted them to do? Only show the intel procs/setups that are closer in perfomance to AMD? If they did that, the Intel fans would whine about the lack of good intel setups.

    However I still believe you made a mistake. Instead of using the M3A32 for AMD, you should have used the M3A79 or another SB750 based bored due the fact that many benchmarks have already proven the SB750 dominance over its earlier counterpart.

    All in all, good article.
    Reply
  • v12v12
    Sounds like a bunch of AMD whining... blah blah "fair" this and that, AMD is inferior and everyone knows it. Hell I'm writing this on an X2 Turion, face the FACTs and stop trying to hold onto former AMDominance: AMD is toast until it completely reinvents itself, crying and whining about "fair" is a moot point. The REAL point is—for the money, Intel IS the better buy and will be for the foreseeable future (Nehalem anyone?)... the only thing stopping AMD is AMD themselves and mismanagement, which has been documented and proven. I don't like the Evil-Intel-Empire as much as the AMD-zealots, but they are proving to be the leaders of CPU technology... If AMD does have an answer for Nehalem and a reasonable (provable) road map, then we'll all benefit in price competition... Until then the whining is lame.
    Reply