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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  • Josh7289 - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    It's because at lower resolutions, the PC is almost entirely CPU limited, not GPU limited, so it is actually easier to see how well these processors perform at lower resolutions. Reply
  • toyota - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    well when can we see some realistic benchmarks then? the people buying the AMD FX and Intel EE cpus with a decent video card are going to play at higher resolutions and use some aa/af. i would like to see what difference that would make. yes i know that what make more load on the gpu but it is more realistic for gamers. Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    quote:

    well when can we see some realistic benchmarks then? the people buying the AMD FX and Intel EE cpus with a decent video card are going to play at higher resolutions and use some aa/af. i would like to see what difference that would make. yes i know that what make more load on the gpu but it is more realistic for gamers.


    That's absolute BS. Then you can get a Sempron or Celeron D and a very good video card. But we are looking how the CPU performs over VARIOUS benchmarks aren't we??
    Reply
  • redbone75 - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    Hahaha! I guess I was wrong about the naysayers on my previous review. Did you read the article and see that they were only using a single 7900GTX for each system? F.E.A.R. would bring even these systems to a crawl at 1600 x 1200. Even so, there would be no reason to believe that the FX62 would magically cover that much ground by upping the resolution and effects.

    By the way, there is an error in your F.E.A.R. maximum frame rate graph. Those numbers can't be right: 370 vs. 324? At those frame rates who cares which system you buy :)
    Reply
  • AnnonymousCoward - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    High max frame rates doesn't mean it was an error. Frames can spike to be super high for a split second. Reply
  • peternelson - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    Just a quick question.....

    WHY do your reviews persist in using blue bars for AMD, and green bars for Intel?

    Surely it would make more sense to reverse these so they reflect the chosen corporate colours of green for AMD and blue for Intel.

    If there is some perverse reason why you do the opposite, please explain!
    Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    LOL - good question. No real conspiracy, though: blue is the default color, so generally we just mark the "new" items in a different color (which defaults to green). Just think of blue as "currently reviewed" and green (or other colors) as new information. :) Reply
  • peternelson - Wednesday, June 07, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the explanation. Maybe you can try it by changing the default colours depending on what you are reviewing?

    As things are we're forced to actually READ the legend text and fight our brain against the psychological cues given by colours. LOL.
    Reply
  • redbone75 - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    Quite impressive, indeed. Maybe now more of the naysayers will start seeing the forest for the trees. My only problem is resisting jumping the gun once Core 2 Duo is available and wait for a little maturity for the motherboard bios'. Reply
  • peternelson - Tuesday, June 06, 2006 - link

    "once Core 2 Duo is available"

    who said it was going to be AVAILABLE ? ROFL

    Maybe for Christmas? After Dell and Alienware get their orders to the front of the queue.
    Reply

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