Log Book: Sans HT, AMD Beats Intel
Friday, June 17: We've never had such a test of endurance here at THG. For 14 days, we've brought you live webcam coverage of the neck-and-neck race between AMD and Intel.
At first there were some problems with the hardware in the Intel system, specifically, motherboards with the NVIDIA nForce4 SLI chipset. At the end of the third day, we determined that the Intel system was, on average, in the lead. What was striking was the uneven load distribution in the AMD system, which held back system performance. Readers could follow this by observing that hardly any processor resources were used for DivX compression.
This situation was the cause of much discussion in the reader forums. After discovering this, we turned off the virtual multiprocessing (hyperthreading) in the Intel system for three days. This disabled two of the four virtual Intel CPU units, leaving two physical processors available - just like with the AMD system. We already showed this three years ago in and article and its accompanying video . This is something that the user would hardly encounter in practice, unless the OpenGL graphics applications are run optimally.
That's how things currently stand in the showdown between the Pentium 840 EE (HT-activated) and the Athlon 64 X2 4800+, so it's once again time for another assessment. In all four applications, the AMD system surpasses the competition from Intel when it comes to performance. Here it is clearly obvious what benefits virtual multiprocessing brings to the Intel system - with hyperthreading turned on, and with the same test conditions, the Intel system puts the AMD system in its place. In other words, the difference between the Pentium D 840 and the Pentium 840 EE lies solely in the HT feature. The benchmarks below clearly show this.
What's planned for the next few days? The systems will compete against each other while running single applications; each round will last 24 hours per application. Nothing has changed with the applications, but we have turned on the HT function with the Intel system, because in the end, that's how the Intel system will be delivered and used. Here's the line-up of applications:
Friday to Saturday: data compression with WinRAR
Saturday to Sunday: MP3 ecoding of Michael Jackson CD with Lame
Sunday to Monday: Divx encoding of a James Bond DVD
Monday to Tuesday: 3D game Farcry
One further note: both systems continue to run in a stable manner.