Comparison To The $625 PC
One advantage of running the entire SBM test suite, plus using the Radeon HD 4870 and the Radeon HD 4870 X2, is being able to see how these four AMD processors stack up against chips used previously in the SBM series. Some variances still exist, since we used newer drivers here.
To compare actual test scores, readers will need to check back to the older SBM articles. But to make it easier, the charts have been reworked by replacing the most expensive AMD processor’s blue bars with data from the January/February $625 PC. All percentages are now based upon the stock $625 PC scores.
For a savings of $10, the Athlon 7750 consumes more power, while delivering almost as much stock performance as Intel's E5200. But for those willing to add an aftermarket cooler for a higher level of overclocking, it’s clear that the Pentium E5200 is in a whole different league in terms of both attainable clock speeds and outright performance potential.
Running nearly as fast out of the box, the E5200 is unable to keep pace with the Phenom X4 9950 BE. But the situation changes when it reaches a 500 MHz higher overclock. The two overclocked processors each manage the same number of victories, but massive victories in MainConcept, WinRAR and AVG allow the quad-core Phenom to reach a higher overall combined score. The little E5200 does remarkably well, though, since for $80 more, a 3.4 GHz quad-core Phenom represents about the very best air-cooled performance one could expect from that whole generation of AMD processors.
Taking a look at AMD's latest-generation chips, the Phenom II X3 720 BE tops this group when comparing both stock and overclocked performance. At 3.67 GHz, it manages seven victories and is handed five loses versus the 3.9 GHz dual-core Pentium Wolfdale. While its outright lead can’t be denied, at exactly twice the price, it isn’t able to take the price/performance crown away from the E5200. If the extra $70 is not a big issue, one should definitely consider stepping up to a Phenom II X3 720 BE or a Core 2 Duo E8400. But if the budget is tight, this extra CPU expense could mean too great a sacrifice in other desired components, such as graphics.