Test Systems And Benchmarks
We used two test systems that share the same type of hard drive, CPU cooler, and memory in order to minimize the variables affecting performance. We also include results from a previously-tested Core i5-750 for reference, but only for application benchmarks, as the game benchmarks are affected by the newer graphic drivers.
To keep the CPUs running cool enough, we need aftermarket cooling capable of outperforming each company's stock cooler, yet cheap enough to apply to budget overclocking systems like the ones we're building. It doesn't make sense to put a $50 cooler on a $100 CPU, as the resulting cost would approach the price of the retail Core i5-750.
Once again, we chose Cooler Master's TX3. While it's not the most effective or quiet cooler out there, the TX3 does a much better job than a stock heatsink/fan combination, and the $20 price tag makes it an ideal fit for these budget CPUs. The Hyper TX3 works on both Socket AM3 and LGA 1156 interfaces, which makes for an ideal comparison in this case.
Now for the motherboards. For the AMD system, we chose Asus's M4A785TD-V EVO, a solid platform built around the 785G chipset that proved its memory support and overclocking prowess in our AMD 785G motherboard roundup. At $100 online, it is a fantastic low-cost AMD overclocking board.
Choosing a board for the Intel system is a little more complicated. The P55 chipset is our first choice, but most overclock-friendly P55 motherboards are a little more expensive, and we want to keep the budget low for this comparison. Since the Gigabyte H55M-USB3 performed very well in fellow editor Thomas Soderstrom's budget H55 chipset roundup, we'll take a leap of faith and give Gigabyte's H55M-UD2H a try. This board costs just under $90 online ($10 cheaper than our AMD board). On a side note, it's not often that the cost of an Intel CPU and motherboard is lower than a comparable AMD setup, but the LGA 1156 motherboard and CPU combo have a $10 advantage in this review.
|Intel Test System||AMD Test System|
|CPU||Intel Pentium G6950 2.8 GHz (Clarkdale) Dual-core, 3MB L3 Cache, 133 MHz reference clock, 2,000 MHz QPIOverclocked:4.3 GHz, 205 MHz reference clock, 2,870 MHz QPI||AMD Phenom II X2 555 (Callisto),3.2 GHz, 2,000 MHz HT Link, 6MB L3 CacheOverclocked:213 MHz HT Ref, 2,139 MHz HT Link/NorthbridgeDual-core: 4.065 GHz, Quad-core: 3.8 GHz|
|Motherboard||Gigabyte H55M-UD2H LGA 1156 Chipset: Intel H55, BIOSF8||Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3 Chipset: AMD 785G, BIOS 0410|
|Networking||Onboard Gigabit LAN controller|
|Memory||Mushkin PC3-10700 2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 7-8-8-8-24-1TOverclocked: DDR3-1230, CL 8-8-8-8-24-1T||Mushkin PC3-10700 2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24-1TOverclocked:DDR3-1420, CL 9-9-9-24-1T|
|Graphics||Saphire Radeon HD 5850725 MHz GPU, 1GB GDDR5 at 1,000 MHz|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W ATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus Certified|
|Software and Drivers|
|Operating System||Microsoft Windows 7 x64|
|DirectX version||DirectX 11|
|Graphics Drivers||ATI Catalyst 10.3|
|Crysis||Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool High Quality, No AA|
|Fallout 3||Patch 1.7, Saved Game "Capital Wasteland" (60 sec) Highest Details, No AA, No AF|
|Far Cry 2||Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark Ultra High Quality, No AA|
|Tom Clancy's H.A.W.X||Patch 1.02, DirectX 10.1, in-game benchmark Highest Settings, No AA|
|World in Conflict||Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Very High Details, No AA / No AF|
|iTunes 8||Version: 184.108.40.206 (x64) Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min Default format AAC|
|Lame MP3||Version: 3.98.2, wave to MP3 Audio CD "Terminator II" SE, 53 min wave to MP3|
|TMPGEnc 4.0 Express||Version: 220.127.116.112 Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9|
|DivX 6.8.5||Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search|
|XviD 1.2.2||Display encoding status = off|
|MainConcept Reference 1.6.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1||MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)|
|Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)||Version: 11.0 Extended, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2010||Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)|
|WinRAR 3.90||Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)|
|WinZip 12||Version 12.1, WinZip Command Line Version 3.0 Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)|
|3DMark Vantage||Version: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores|
|PCMark Vantage||Version: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646|
|SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP4a||Version 2009.9.15.130, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark|