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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  • 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
  • fikimiki - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    I understand 3% difference, but not 20% because of WD Raptor and SLI configuration. RAM is the answer so I wait for benchmark with CL4 and CL3.
    It is also important to see 64-bit performance for both competitors.
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    quote:

    RAM is the answer so I wait for benchmark with CL4 and CL3.


    It is also the answer for Intel to some degree. I think you will understand this once the NVIDIA 590 Intel memory benchmarks are available along with production level 965/975 boards capable of running the Core 2 Duo at 3-2-2-8 at 800MHz, something AMD is not capable of yet. ;-) Our initial memory tests were set to each board's default settings, the way a typical system will delivered to the customer, this ensured there were not any "unbiased" tweaks used for either system.
    Reply
  • Accord99 - Thursday, June 08, 2006 - link

    Why do you expect it to be more, not when CAS4 vs CAS5 has barely shown more than a few percent benefit. Here a couple of reviews using CAS4 DDR2-800. The FX-62 scores 220 and 219 respectively:

    http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/cpu/1494/socket-a...">http://www.hwupgrade.it/articoli/cpu/14...2-le-nuo... (with 36GB Raptor)
    http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/print.php?cid...">http://www.hardwarezone.com/articles/print.php?cid... (with Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 80GB)
    Reply
  • neweggster - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    Just read Toms Hardware review and from that comparison to this in FEAR min FPS it looks like the 2.66 vs the FX-62 is only a small difference of around 5fps with conroe wining. Based on that and Anands article I think its clear to say that a 2.93 conroe only going around 270mhz more over its 2.66 offers more performance in terms of clock cycle performance then what the FX-62 clock for clock can do. If you see the results you can see that the 2.66 conroe is 58fps on min FEAR bench and Fx-62 is 53, and they also have the FX-62 there OC to 3.00 GHz and its result was 55fps, notice the OC FX-62 gains only 2 FPS in min fps FEAR bench and the Conroe 2.93 vs the Fx-62 gains 27 fps in the min fps FEAR bench.

    That tells me that the increase in clock for clock performance on conroe scales much higher in performance then AMD FX-62. The FX-62 on Toms was running at 200 MHz more and only 70 MHz difference in the 2.66-2.93 conroe. Also keep in mind Toms review uses a RX1900 and Anand uses a 7900GTX, some performance difference there on those 2 video cards as well, also note Toms uses a 1280x1024 resolution using high settings.

    It seems impressive that although each benchmark isn't identical that the conroe can increase in performance in a single benchmark just by going to the 2.93 from 2.66, very impressed how well it scales in comparison to FX-62.

    So a 2.66 core 2 duo going to 2.93 core 2 duo extreme offers this much gain vs almost same clock increase on Fx-62 OC to 3.00 GHz is great, assuming im clear on the 2.66-2.93 is only a increase in clock and nothing else? Can you let me know if its just an increase in clock from 2.66 to 2.93 or is it clock and cache or something else in there? Im just trying to make sense of the fact that briefly comparing TOMS results to yours im seeing a better increase in performance when clock is increased on conroe over FX-62, thanks. If this is the case I can't wait for conroe 2.93 core2duo extreme so I can get my OC on this bad boy.

    Which leads me to this. You guys at Anand had a chance to test this OC'ing the FX-62 by any and comparing? It would be great if you can elaborate on the difference in OC performance on each.
    Reply
  • ashyanbhog - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    according to Anandtech, the conroe is expected in Q306, how many more days before AMD 65nm parts start rolling out? hmm not much

    http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...

    cant wait till somebody gets their hand on a 65nm Athlon and benchmarks it..... should see how Intel's oh so wornderful processor fares then! AMD was able to extract good performance jumps when moving from 130nm to 90nm, if they r able to do the same when moving to 65nm, they have Intel in a spot again!

    130nm to 90nm gains

    http://www.techreport.com/onearticle.x/7417">http://www.techreport.com/onearticle.x/7417

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

    quote:

    should see how Intel's oh so wornderful processor fares then! AMD was able to extract good performance jumps when moving from 130nm to 90nm, if they r able to do the same when moving to 65nm, they have Intel in a spot again!


    Apparently you don't realize that the speeds of Core 2 Duo at launch are not the only speeds that will be available as time progresses. Intel isn't just going to leave Core 2 Duo at the speeds available at launch.
    Reply
  • Accord99 - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    So far, AMD only got an extra 400MHz/15% out of the transition out to 90nm. Conroe is expected out in late July, AMD's 65nm parts may be at the end of the year, and at lower clock speeds than the fastest 90nmp parts. Reply
  • termix - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    400MHz for SC, there are gona be 3GHz Opterons. But count DC chips too. Its 2 times bigger , so 2.6GHz vs 2x2.8GHz for avaible parts... Reply
  • Makaveli - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    impressive not really, just shows all the benchmarks we were seeing before were close to reality. minus the 40% faster when it closer to 20% faster on avg.

    Does this matter to me no. Will I still be buying a dual core opteron to put in my 939 board yes. I'll check back again in 18-24 months what is on the market then, until then just videocard upgrades for me. All u fanboys can fight over who has the better processor and larger e-penis till the next century. Does intel or AMD care probably not, why cause they make there money from the system builders.

    Boys and there toys, you would think things would change as some of u guys get older. nope just like grade school.

    Kudos to intel for finally making something people want to buy again.

    Kudos to AMD for waking the sleeping giant.

    This is good for us all, can u say cheaper cpu's.

    Now i'm going to bed, Gnite all and may u all wake up 2morrow and see there are more important things in life!

    Reply

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