The New Athlon Processor: AMD Is Finally Overtaking Intel

The Benchmark Mix

I decided that we should give Athlon a really hard time. Thus we tried to run a lot of benchmarks that used to be loved by Intel, to show if Athlon can beat Pentium III even in those. For the Integer benchmarks we used BAPCo's Sysmark98 under Windows98 as well as Windows NT 4. BAPCo is well known for being pretty close to Intel, which is why AMD didn't use to like this benchmark in the days of the K6-series. For the FPU I used my beloved 3D Studio Max render time benchmark. 3D Studio Max 1 is neither enhanced for SSE nor for 3DNow!, so that it's perfect for testing the pure FPU-performance. Of course it's optimized for Intel's P6-architecture, but Athlon shouldn't have a problem with that. For the multimedia performance we used Intel's good old own 'Intel Media Bench', a benchmark where it hasn't been bet by any CPU so far. I wanted to take it to the top and even ran FutureMark's questionable MultiMediaMark99, which is not available officially, but was only given out to press people at the Pentium III launch. MMMark99 is enhanced for Intel's SSE and not for 3Dnow!, which makes this benchmark kinda cheesy. I was wondering if Athlon could still beat Pentium III, even under highly unfair conditions.

AMD was supplying us with their own benchmarking software and we thought that we might as well use it, although we hardly expected Athlon to look bad in it.

Intel's Super Benchmarks

I also planned on using Intel's Business, Consumer Application and Game Launcher benchmarks, but those benchmarks are really too focussed onto SSE and Pentium III. I really couldn't help it and decided against using them eventually. What's funny though was the double occurrence of Dragon's Naturally Speaking and Adobe's Photo Deluxe in both benchmark suites from Intel as well as from AMD. The results are exactly opposite and show how much can be done with benchmarking. I don't want to accuse anybody, but when you take a look at Intel's special benchmark suites and compare it to AMD's application suite, it seems pretty obvious that the Intel-benchmarking software is favoring PIII in an almost disgusting manner, whilst AMD's suite is rather modest. What catches the eye in particular within the Intel benchmarks is the double occurrence of 'Dispatched', a technology demo from Rage that never made it to a 3D-game. In this 'game', Pentium III scores double the results of Athlon. Well that's what I call realistic and reasonable, dear Intel! You wouldn't see the same result in Quake3, it's rather the other way around. Is that supposed to mean that Id-Software cannot optimize their code properly? I doubt it! AMD you've still got a lot to learn! Playing fair is something that doesn't really get you far in this business! I am just thinking of a well-known 3D-chip maker that could give you some lessons for the future in case that Intel should turn you down.