Intel's 65 nm Process Breathes Fire into Double-Core Extreme Edition

The Software Ramp Up

Since Intel is obviously focusing on dual-core chips and AMD is close to releasing its Athlon 64 FX-60 as well (yes, it is a dual core), we browsed the software offerings to check their level of thread-optimization.

On the one hand, software companies are working on streamlining their codes in order to take advantage of two or more logical processing units. Intel did quite some preparatory work in this area, since Hyper Threading can be regarded as an intermediate step on the way from single to multi processing. On the other hand, there is now the option to optimize applications for either AMD or Intel processors. Both can offer formidable performance gains, while Intel's clock speed advantage usually allows for more optimization.

Optimizations For AMD Or Intel

Here is one example of how an improved application can influence real-world performance. We used the regular version of the Ogg Vorbis video codec 1.12 and compared it to both an AMD and an Intel optimized modification. This application encodes digital audio data into the ogg format:

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OGG 1.12Intel PentiumEE 955AMD Athlon 64X2 4800+
Regular Version3:523:17
Intel NetBurst MOD2:173:22
AMD64 MOD2:512:41

As you can see, the Pentium Extreme Edition 955 benefits tremendously from the Intel-optimized code. The AMD version promises quite impressive benefits as well, and these benefits even apply to the Intel processor as well. There are many applications available today that provide optimizations for either of the two-processor architectures. While it would take too much time to compile listings, we can say from our experience that these performance benefits especially apply to applications that require a lot of performance.

14 Out Of 21 Benchmarks Take Advantage Of Multi Cores

Here is a list of the software titles that we used for benchmarking the new Extreme Edition processor. Please note that we did not prioritize applications that offer dual core support, but we merely focused on including the latest versions.

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Benchmarks/SoftwareCPU Support
Quake III Team ArenaSingle Core
F.E.A.RDual Core
Quake 4Dual Core
Call of Duty 2Single Core
Mainconcept MPEG EncoderDual Core
Pinnacle Studio 10 PlusDual Core
TMPEG 3.0 ExpressDual Core
DivX 6.1 ProDual Core
XviD 1.1.0 BETA 2Dual Core
Windows Media EncoderDual Core
Premiere Pro 1.5Dual Core
Lame (MP3)Single Core
OGG (MP3)Single Core
AVG Anti Virus 7.1Single Core
Winrar 3.51Single Core
3D Studio Max 8Dual Core
ABBYY FineReader 8.0 ProSingle Core
Adobe Photoshop CS 2Dual Core
Applications (Multitasking)
Multitasking IDual Core
Multitasking IIDual Core
Multitasking IIIDual Core
PCMark05 ProDual Core
SiSoftware Sandra 2005Dual Core
3DMark05Dual Core

Approximately 70% of the software titles we picked were able to deal with two processor cores and thus allow for significant performance gains.