The Benchmark Issue

Although we mentioned that there’s not much you can do to make a timedemo really favor one CPU architecture over another, you all demanded that we try with one of our demos.  We put our Quake 4 demo file on a USB drive and copied it over to the Conroe and Athlon 64 FX-60 systems that Intel had setup.  Note that the version of Quake 4 installed was 1.0.5.0 which is newer than what we test with in our CPU reviews, so you can’t directly compare the numbers to previous AnandTech results but at least we’d be able to see if Intel’s Quake 4 demo was somehow giving Conroe the unfair advantage. 

We re-ran Intel’s Quake 4 demo to confirm our initial results.  Much to our surprise, we actually short-changed Intel the first time around. We noted that Conroe held a 28% performance advantage over the 2.8GHz Athlon 64 FX-60 with SMP disabled, but with it enabled the performance advantage shrunk to 15%.  We re-tested and confirmed our suspicions that Conroe’s Quake 4 performance with SMP enabled was more in line at a 24% advantage:

Quake 4 - r_useSMP=0

Quake 4 - r_useSMP=1

But what we’re really interested in is how Conroe performed in the very same Quake 4 demo that has been favoring AMD processors in all of our CPU reviews.  We loaded up our Quake 4 demo and had at it:

Quake 4 - AnandTech Demo - r_useSMP=0

Quake 4 - AnandTech Demo - r_useSMP=1

With SMP enabled we see that Conroe holds an even larger 31% performance advantage and with it disabled, the unreleased CPU was 29% faster.  If anything, Intel’s own demo was a little more conservative on Conroe and definitely not optimized to make AMD look bad. 

The BIOS Issue The F.E.A.R. Issue
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  • Questar - Friday, March 10, 2006 - link

    Nice to see you joining in. Great post. Reply
  • fikimiki - Friday, March 10, 2006 - link

    I'm AMD fan, but I'm also a computer user which wants to buy something with best/price performance. That's why I have bought ATI instead of nVidia (after 10 years sticking with nV products). There is one conclusion which is based on my observations for 10 years.

    Intel and AMD will never give you a chip which is 30% faster than competitor or your own product. They will give you 5, 7% but not 30% (FX is overclocked remember?).
    How about Conroe running 3.33 with 1333MHz bus? Does it squize X2 performance to match only one Conroe core??? Have you ever seen performance speed upgrade like this?
    Maybe in historical 286/386 times...

    Intel and AMD does business. There was a REASON, marketing reason for preview like this. And this behaviour is not reasonable. Showing 2.4GHz Conroe as EE Edition, comparing with FX60 and miserable 7% makes sense.
    And than make 100MHz upgrade, upgrade upgrade....
    This is business I observe for many years, because money is important, technology longevity also. Intel wanted to speed up P4/Netburst to 10GHz - just shrink die as long as possible, 64-bit in 2010...And this is let's say "normal" business behaviour!

    So I expect Conroe XE running as Intel mantra: Leap Ahead...10% faster than FX62 or whatever AMD will give to us in July...


    Reply
  • dysonlu - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    BRAVO! THUMBS UP!!!

    That's the most intelligent, insightful and down-to-earth comment I've read so far! 98% of the other comments I've read gave me the impression that they were written by naive fools getting caught in the hype and clever marketing -- C'mon kids, do you really expect that, when everything's said and done, you would be able to order on newegg.com an Intel CPU that costs half the price and performs 30% better than its closest AMD competitor?!
    Reply
  • Rendition - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    1) Is Conroe a true 64-bit chip like the AMD chips are? If so, how do you think it will perform with 64-bit Vista and the new 64-bit capable games coming out next year?

    2) Does Intel have a tradition of having yield and volume issues when they move to a new manufacturing process like 65nm with Conroe?

    3) What has been the average cycle for an AMD new core to come out (4 years)? And how long as the current AMD core been out?

    4) If the AMD chips had a huge 4MB cache like Conroe, would that improve performance?
    Reply
  • theteamaqua - Friday, March 10, 2006 - link

    no cache does not influence performance as much as u think, for ex: i read benchmarks of Pentium 4 660 vs 560, the 660 has 2 MB L2 cache while 560 has 1MB L2 cache, the performance increase is roughly 3 % if u average all the benchamrk from gaming, multimedia, multi tasking ... its like HT(hyper threading), u never know the difference Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    quote:

    1) 1) Is Conroe a true 64-bit chip like the AMD chips are? If so, how do you think it will perform with 64-bit Vista and the new 64-bit capable games coming out next year?

    2) Does Intel have a tradition of having yield and volume issues when they move to a new manufacturing process like 65nm with Conroe?

    3) What has been the average cycle for an AMD new core to come out (4 years)? And how long as the current AMD core been out?

    4) If the AMD chips had a huge 4MB cache like Conroe, would that improve performance?


    I can answer some of that.

    1. Yes
    2. I am not sure
    3. Well, define new core, is K8 a new core enough or would it take a K7??
    4. Umm: http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2395&p...">http://www.anandtech.com/showdoc.aspx?i=2395&p...

    Looks like it, however, there are some unanswered questions. Will the 4MB cache be high performing enough to have a performance advantage(ie not have high latency like Prescott)?

    Doom 3=yes
    UT2004=not much
    WET=not much

    There are rumors there will be versions with 4MB L3 cache, which is obviously an EE, but being a higher latency L3, the benefit will be less than quadrupling L2, plus these 2.667GHz Conroe's are not really competing with FX's, its the 3.33GHz 1333MHz FSB Conroe EE's that will come after Conroe.
    Reply
  • logeater - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    I think I speak for everyone on this board when I say Anand has proved beyond reasonable doubt that Intel has regained it's rightful place at the throne. A flawless examination if I may say so myself.

    AMD, it's been fun, let me show you to the door...
    Reply
  • Bakwetu - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    The malicious intent in this is naturally to make people thinking about buying a system now (the logical choice for a gamer rig would be an AMD one) to hold off until the new Intel processor come. We have seen this "delaying of opponents sucess" ever since AMD became competative when the original Athlon was released.

    That aside, it is great to see the development in the cpumarket.
    Reply
  • PeteRoy - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    EAT IT AND LIKE IT Reply
  • MrKaz - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Should Intel compare their future processor with their current offering and not with the competion?

    I mean P4 sucks in performance, power, ...

    Wouldnt those numbers look much better if it was some P4 vs Conroe?
    Reply

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