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 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    I think you have confused AMD for ATI. Reply
  • amano - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Not really: "Why Ati drivers where modified to recognize the Conroe processor?"
    Indeed, why ? Perhaps to fix the disadvantage that the FEAR benchmark gives to ATI?
    If this disadvantage was fixed for the INTEL-setup, and not for the AMD-setup, then the 2 setups can not be compared and the benchmark-results are flawed.
    (sorry, my first post was a bit confusing..)
    Reply
  • Accord99 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    That was fixed several driver revisions ago. All it was was a mistake in one If statement. Reply
  • DSaum - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    So the 41% Conroe advantage over AMD has suddenly become 20%? After this sorry episode I have serious doubts as to Anandtech's objectivity as an unbiased reviewer.

    "Believe it or not, Intel doesn't seem malicious in their intent." LOL
    Reply
  • clnee55 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    After a great review and re-test by Anand, I hope i don't see fanboism comment again. Unfortunately, there are still kids around, who cannot understand a simple review. Reply
  • Bladen - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    ^And the AMD fanboy of the year award goes too...

    BTW for thoes wondering if Conroe and the others are 64 bit, the answer is yes.

    I highly doubt Intel will release a processor that is not 64 bit in the future. Well for any processor designed for laptop, desktop or server anyway...
    Reply
  • Bladen - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Ohh crap, I failed to realise my post would not be directly below DSaum... Reply
  • matthewfoley - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Um, would they have released a follow up article telling you about it if they were trying to hide something? Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    It was a 41% advantage in one game during one total hour of testing. In addition, not only did Anand explain how they messed up, but also provided new graphs only 2 days later. What are you really thinking here, that Anand's mistake will increase Conroe's sales even though the corrected numbers are out and its 6 months away from launch? I'm pretty sure even Intel fanboys didn't just read the first story and then plan on not visitng another hardware site before launch. Reply
  • Aileur - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Way to be able to read
    quote:

    on average we’re still seeing a bit over a 20% increase in performance over an overclocked Athlon 64 FX-60.

    quote:

    Especially looking at titles like F.E.A.R. where Conroe's performance advantage averages over 40%



    Now, thats not the same as dropping from 40 to 20%, is it?
    Reply

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