A few months have passed since our original foray into the world of Conroe, and official naming has been announced for the processor.  What we've been calling Conroe is now known as Core 2 Duo, with the Extreme Edition being called Core 2 Extreme.  Initial availability of the Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors remains unchanged from Intel's original estimates of "early Q3". 

At this year's Spring IDF Intel made the unusual move of allowing us and other press to spend some quality time benchmarking its upcoming Conroe processor.  Unfortunately we were only allowed to benchmark those games and applications that Intel loaded on the system, and while we did our due diligence on the system configuration we still prefer to benchmark under our own terms. 

We're happy to report that we gathered enough parts to build two systems while in Taiwan for Computex.  We managed to acquire a Socket-AM2 motherboard equipped with an Athlon 64 FX-62 and a P965 motherboard equipped with a Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz at our hotel, along with two sets of 2x1GB of DDR2-800 (only 5-5-5-12 modules though), a pair of Hitachi 7K250 SATA hard drives, and two NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTXes (one for each system) - it helps that all the major players have offices in Taiwan.  Of course we happened to pack some power supplies, monitors, keyboards and mice in our carry-on luggage, as well as copies of Windows XP, Quake 4, F.E.A.R., Battlefield 2, SYSMark 2004 and Winstone 2004. 

When faced with the choice of testing Conroe or sleeping , we stayed up benchmarking (we'll blame it on the jet lag later). The stage was set: Intel's Core 2 Extreme vs. AMD's recently announced FX-62, and while it's still too early to draw a final verdict we can at least shed more light on how the battle is progressing. Keep in mind that we had a very limited amount of time with the hardware as to not alert anyone that it was missing and being used for things it shouldn't be (not yet at least), so we weren't able to run our full suite of tests. We apologize in advance and promise we'll have more when Conroe launches, but for now enjoy.

The Test

In case we weren't clear: we acquired, built, installed and tested these two test systems entirely on our own and without the help of Intel.

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 FX-62 (2.80GHz)
Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (2.93GHz)
Motherboard: nForce 590-SLI Socket-AM2 Motherboard
Intel P965 Motherboard
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce 590 SLI
Intel P965 Chipset
Chipset Drivers: nForce 9.34 Beta
Intel 7.3.3.1013
Hard Disk: Hitachi Deskstar T7K250
Memory: DDR2-800 5-5-5-12 (1GB x 2)
Video Card: NVIDIA GeForce 7900 GTX
Video Drivers: NVIDIA ForceWare 91.28 Beta
Desktop Resolution: 1280 x 1024 - 32-bit @ 60Hz
OS: Windows XP Professional SP2
Memory Latency and Bandwidth
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  • Boushh - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    The difference seems to be the HD PC Stats is using a Raport, Anand a Hitachi) instead of the memory (alltough it will have some impact, maybe even the SLi setup will have some impact).

    If you look at the communication test (which, according to Anand, is very I/O bound) you'll see:

    Anand:

    FX-62: 178
    Core 2: 184

    PC Stats:

    FX-62: 263
    D940 - 189

    That is a huge difference. That will sureley translate into the overall scores, and it will influence some of the other scores.

    So what was your point again ?
    Reply
  • zsdersw - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    More tests will be coming out.. don't get your undies in a bunch. Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    The tests they have shown definetly have value to them. They are the tests that could be done in the time provided to show some nice direct comparisons between the very near future "top end" CPUs.

    To all those complainging about 1024x768:
    Once they have the CPUs back in the labs I'm sure they will give us some highend video benchmarks as well. While the CPU doesn't have the largest impact at extreme resolutions I'm sure everyone can agree that it does have an impact, expecially with software driver overhead. However we should be more concerned with testing the CPUs on SLI/CrossFire. Other benchmarks have shown that the CPU can be a real limiting factor in high res SLI tests due to the large overhead from the SLI/CrossFire drivers. These CPUs are in the price bracket of those looking at SLI and even QUAD SLI systems (I can hardly begin to imagine the CPU overhead from QUAD SLI).

    Personally I don't mind the 1024x768 ... then again that's probably because I run a large 27" 1280x720 pannel for gaming.
    Reply
  • Genx87 - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    I was shocked to see the chip being used was 2.93Ghz. I was expecting it to be the 2.67Ghz chip Intel showed off.

    However this doesnt take away from the chip itself, it is still a very fast chip and I see an E6600 in my future.

    However if you get time I am curious what kind of performance differences the AMD platform see's between this new Nvidia chipset and the chipset used by Intel. To me it appears to be at least a single speed grade if not more. The %'s appear on the surface to be the same as Intels demo but the difference is you are stuck using a higher speed grade to get this performance difference.

    Reply
  • VooDooAddict - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    Nice grab AT editors! I knew someone would find a way to get out hard info before the NDA, glad it was AT.

    With this knoledge I'm budgeting the E6600s (2.40GHz/4M) for my next SFF build. And I'm content waiting just a little longer.

    Only thing that will disapoint me with the new build will be the lack of any true DX10 video options. However, thanks to what you've shown us, it looks like the first gen DX10 will be too power hungry for a SFF machine. Looks like I'll have to manage with a single 7900GTX or 7950GX2.
    Reply
  • drewintheav - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    What will the real retail prices for conroe be? I would not be surprised if the initial retail prices are double what is being quoted everywhere! Reply
  • fikimiki - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    Why didn't you take 4-4-4-12 memory which should give AMD much more speed thanks to smaller latency?
    This benchmarks only proves that IDF preview when 2.8 Athlon vs. 2.66 Conroe was benchmarked was setup by Intel - most of the benchmarks show 20% difference, not 30-40%.
    Conroe is 4.5% faster clock-for-clock than AMD.
    Taking an AVERAGE not RARE AND LOW DDR2 memory from the market and lowering clock to 2.8 should prove that Conroe is maybe faster clock-for-clock. And I belive that author knows that, but no conclusion about that.
    Reply
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    Oh, my, god! Did you not read the article? That's the memory they had available.

    Anand has been doing this for a VERY long time, and has proven time and time again that he is unbiased.

    On the other hand, WHO are you?
    Reply
  • fikimiki - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    Who am I? Just a computer user who understands all the fuss Intel is spreading from last 3 months. It is all about "controlled benchmarks" who proves nothing except a wish to beat competitition. If you look around to see other benchmarks you can see that Athlon performance is slight different.
    Look here http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1...">http://www.pcstats.com/articleview.cfm?articleid=1... and you will see that Athlon was able to get 261 instead of 210 in Anand test.
    Conroe gets 266. So this is 266 (2.93GHz vs 261 2.8GHz? You see the difference?
    Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    You can't really compare our test results to those found on other sites simply because I'm not sure what testing methodology was employed, as well as due to stated differences in hardware (e.g. HDD differences can impact Office Productivity tests considerably). You'll notice that our numbers are in line with what we've published previously for SYSMark 2004.

    The one thing I can guarantee is that the AMD and Intel systems we tested were as close to the same spec as possible so the numbers are directly comparable to one another, which is what matters the most.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply

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