Core 2 Duo (Conroe) launched about twelve days ago with a lot of fanfare. With the largest boost in real performance the industry has seen in almost a decade it is easy to understand the big splash Core 2 Duo has made in a very short time. AnandTech delivered an in-depth analysis of CPU performance in Intel's Core 2 Extreme & Core 2 Duo: The Empire Strikes Back. With so much new and exciting information about Conroe's performance, it is easy to assume that since Core 2 Duo uses DDR2, just like NetBurst, then memory performance must therefore be very similar to the DDR2-based Intel NetBurst architecture.

Actually, nothing could be further from the truth. While the chipsets still include 975X and the new P965 and the CPU is still Socket T, the shorter pipes, 4 MB unified cache, intelligent look-ahead, and more work per clock cycle all contribute to Conroe exhibiting very different DDR2 memory behavior. It would be easy to say that Core 2 Duo is more like the AMD AM2, launched May 23rd, which now supports DDR2 memory as well. That would be a stretch, however, since AM2 uses an efficient on-processor memory controller, and the launch review found Core 2 Duo faster at the same clock speed than the current AM2. This is another way of saying Conroe is capable of doing more work per cycle - something we had been saying for several years about Athlon64 compared to NetBurst,

The move by AMD from Socket 939 to Socket AM2 is pretty straightforward. The new AM2 processors will continue to be built using the same 90nm manufacturing process currently used for Athlon 64 processors until some time in early to mid-2007. AMD will then slowly roll-out their 65nm process from the bottom of the line to the top according to AMD road-maps. This could include memory controller enhancements and possibly more. Performance of AM2 only changed very slightly with the move to DDR2, generally in the range of 0% to 5%. The only substantive difference with AM2 is the move from DDR memory to official AMD DDR2 memory support.

Our AM2 launch reviews and the article First Look: AM2 DDR2 vs. 939 DDR Performance found that AM2 with DDR2-533 memory performed roughly the same as the older Socket 939 with fast DDR400 memory. Memory faster than DDR2-533, namely DDR2-667 and DDR2-800, brought slightly higher memory performance to AM2.

The Core 2 Duo introduction is quite different. Clock speed moved down and performance moved up. The top Core 2 Duo, the X6800, is almost 1GHz slower than the older top NetBurst chip and performs 35% to 45% faster. With the huge efficiency and performance increases comes different behavior with DDR2 memory.

With the world now united behind DDR2, it is time to take a closer look at how DDR2 behaves on both the new Intel Core 2 Duo and the AMD AM2 platforms. The performance of both new DDR2 platforms will also be compared to NetBurst DDR2 performance, since the DDR2 NetBurst Architecture has been around for a couple of years and is familiar. We specifically want to know the measured latency of each new platform, how they compare in memory bandwidth, and the scaling of both Core 2 Duo and AM2 as we increase memory speed to DDR2-1067 and beyond. With this information and tests of the same memory on each platform, we hope to be able to answer whether memory test results on Conroe, for instance, will tell us how the memory will perform on AM2.

In addition we have an apples-apples comparison of AM2 and Core 2 Duo running at 2.93GHz (11x266) using the same memory at the same timings and voltages with the same GPU, hard drive, and PSU. This allows a direct memory comparison at 2.93GHz at DDR2-1067. It also provides some very revealing performance results for Core 2 Duo and AM2 at the exact same speeds in the same configurations.

DDR/NetBurst Memory Bandwidth and Latency
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  • drebo - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    Excuse me, but the E6400 wasn't even IN the benchmarks Anandtech ran, but by extrapolation(considering the E6700 did not beat out the 5000+ by a large margin), it cannot perform better than the 5000+.

    And, in the majority of benchmarks, such as the ones http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">here, which are benchmarks that have traditionally favored Intel processors in the past, the AMD chips do not fall as you paint them. They fall as I have painted them. The 4200+ outperforms the E6300 in ALL of them...and costs LESS. The 5000+ matches performance in 2/3 of them with the E6600. And costs LESS.

    Sorry, but this isn't about which company is better or provides a better product. This is about which company provides a better product at a better price. We all know the X6800 is the best desktop processor available. NO ONE is disputing that. The dispute is that review sites are proclaiming that the Core 2 Duos are god's gift to Intel and that Athlon64s are completely worthless now, which is NOT the case.

    In the $1k processor range, sure, Core 2 Duo is the king...but AMD doesn't have a processor in that range anymore. There is no competition to the X6800 anymore. At every other price point, however, the Athlon64 X2 processors are extremely competative.
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    Take a look at these benchmarks show the E6400 in them, and for the most part it beats out the 4600+

    http://xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-...">http://xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core2duo-...
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    Oh please, you looked at 1 page of benchmark to make your conclusion??

    Did you just look at 3D Rendering to draq your conclusions?

    What about the encoding and gaming performance? Did you look at those?
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Oh please, you looked at 1 page of benchmark to make your conclusion??

    Did you just look at 3D Rendering to draq your conclusions?

    What about the encoding and gaming performance? Did you look at those?


    It is obvious you haven't seen both of my posts fully. Please do. Core 2 Duo outperforms.

    This is type of performance increase people would have been crazy about, but somehow its different. Maybe its conspiracy to kill Intel??
    Reply
  • coldpower27 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    IntelUser2000.

    Chill. I am reply to drebo in this reply not you. Anandtech comment posting system is just strange.
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    quote:

    And, in the majority of benchmarks, such as the ones here, which are benchmarks that have traditionally favored Intel processors in the past, the AMD chips do not fall as you paint them. They fall as I have painted them. The 4200+ outperforms the E6300 in ALL of them...and costs LESS. The 5000+ matches performance in 2/3 of them with the E6600. And costs LESS.


    Please stop being an idiot. If you see Anandtech's benchmarks you can clearly see that E6600 is FASTER overall than FX-62. That's why the saying of $316 FX-62 came about.


    For those that are in denial about the FACT that E6600 with $316 price beats FX-62

    Application Performance using SYSMark 2004 SE
    Average performance: 18.6% in favor of E6600

    Application Performance using PC WorldBench 5
    1.4% advantage of Core 2 Duo E6600

    Application Performance using Winstone 2004
    2.9% advantage of FX-62, E6600 equal or faster than 5000+

    3D Rendering Performance using 3dsmax 7 & CineBench 9.5
    2.7% advantage of FX-62, E6600 faster than 5000+

    Encoding Performance using DivX 6.1, WME9, Quicktime (H.264) & iTunes
    6.0% advantage of E6600

    Overall Gaming Performance
    11.6% advantage of E6600


    Total Performance increase of E6600 over Athlon FX-62
    Core 2 Duo E6600 is 9.9% faster overall than Athlon FX-62!!
    Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    Normally, the kind of performance advantage E6600 gives over the FX-62 would have meant people would have flocked over to E6600 even if it was previous high-end mainstream price for Intel processors, which is $637.

    Stop spreading false info people(anti-intel, and i am saying lightly), cause not only your beloved Athlon 64 X2 5000+ slower than E6600, so is AMD's top end offering, the FX-62!!!

    I remember people saying Core Duo was worth it(yes the Yonah). Based on the logic people are spreading for Core 2 Duo argument, Core Duo wasn't worth it at all. $637 for the top end Core Duo(Yonah), and being barely faster per clock than FX-62 when clocked outrageously high(30% over stock, while FX-62 is at stock), plus expensive motherboards that are hard to find.

    If Core Duo was worth it at all, well... Core 2 Duo is like a dream.
    Reply
  • Accord99 - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    And the E6300 does better in other tests, such as the Sysmark, video encoding and games. And the E6600 doesn't compete with the 5000+, it competes with the FX-64. Reply
  • drebo - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    I don't know what benchmarks you're looking at, but they sure as hell aren't posted on any review site I've ever seen.

    I never expected my opinion that AMD is not dead and Intel is not master of all to be popular, but I atleast expected some constructive responses. Yes, Intel has the best performing processor. We know this. No one cares. I'm sure AMD could spin a 3.2ghz FX-70 or something and sell it for $2000. But why bother, for 2% of the population to use? The vast majority of computer users are looking for performance-per-dollar, and there is no difference between Athlon64 X2 processors and Core 2 Duo processors in that ratio...except, of course, motherboard...which tends to cost near to twice as much on the Core 2 Duo side.

    Yes, Intel released a competative platform. We're all very happy with them, and once they're available, it'll be great...but they're hardly a nail in the coffin for AMD. AMD still holds the superior chips for single-core, and performance-per-dollar is just as good as Core 2 Duo, and I can tell you from personal experience, that's what matters.

    Go go objectivity!
    Reply
  • Accord99 - Tuesday, July 25, 2006 - link

    I'm just looking at all the Anandtech benchmarks. It's quite clear the E6300 is faster than the 4200+ overall, while the E6600 is faster than the FX-62 overall.

    So performance/dollar is higher for Conroe, the current motherboards are more expensive but that can be made up from purchasing less high-end memory. And Conroe uses less power.
    Reply

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