SYSMark 2007 Performance

Our journey starts with SYSMark 2007, the only all-encompassing performance suite in our review today. The idea here is simple: one benchmark to indicate the overall performance of your machine.

SYSMark 2007 - Overall

If we only look at the AMD numbers in this chart, there's a pretty nice lineup going on here. The Athlon II X2 250 is slower than the Athlon II X4 620/630, which is slower than the Phenom II X3 730 and all are slower than the Phenom II X4 955. The performance lines up with the pricing, so all is good.

The problem with these cheap quad-cores has always been that you give up a lot in order to get four cores at a low price. The Athlon II X4 appears to break the mold however. The Athlon II X4 620 is priced at $99 and it performs like a $99 CPU. With the exception of the Core 2 Duo E7500 whose high clock speed makes it do unsually well here, the 620 is balanced. You get a reasonably high clock speed and enough cache to be competitive, both at a good price.

You'll see in the individual tests below that performance varies between competitive and underwhelming depending on the task. Anything that can take advantage of four cores does well, otherwise the smaller L2s of the Athlon II X4 hurt it a bit.

SYSMark 2007 - E-Learning

In applications that aren't well threaded, you'll see the Athlon II X4 perform less than stellar - but the same is true for all lower end quad-core CPUs. Even the Q8200 is outperformed by the E6300 here. Situations like this are validation for Intel's aggressive turbo modes on Lynnfield.

SYSMark 2007 - Video Creation

Any strenuous video encoding however will seriously favor the Athlon II X4. Here we find the $99 620 tying the Core 2 Quad Q8200, and the 630 outperforming it - all at a lower price.

SYSMark 2007 - Productivity

We're back to needing higher clock speeds and larger caches to compete. Being a quad-core processor isn't easy.

SYSMark 2007 - 3D

Index Adobe Photoshop CS4 Performance
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  • smn198 - Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - link

    [quote][It] is unfair to present the results this way, turbo is overclocking[/quote]

    I think we need to review our definition of overclocking. For years both Intel and AMD, have varied processors' speed and voltage based on temperature and workload. Intel has now changed how they are doing this. Using two cores your processor runs at one speed and using all four, it runs at another. As this is how Intel is selling the CPU I'd argue that this isn't overclocking as by definition, this is running at a frequency beyond spec. Therefore it is a perfectly fair way to present the results.
    Reply
  • Eeqmcsq - Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - link

    "Therefore it is a perfectly fair way to present the results."
    - Yes, but it's also an incomplete way of viewing Turbo CPUs, as demonstrated in Gary's follow up benchmarks. Based on his benchmarks, the i5 loses its Turbo advantage if you start heavily multitasking the system. In heavy multitasking, the i5 performance approaches the performance of i5 with Turbo off, which was generally worse than the Phenom II 965, at least based on the benchmarks supplied by Gary. So it's definitely another variable to keep in mind when comparing CPUs.
    Reply
  • jonup - Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - link

    Well Intel could not clock the i5 at higher stock because it would have outperformed the i7s. People should stop complaining about benches with turbo on. Fact of the matter is i5 outperforms the PII clock for clock and overclocks higher that the PII. the 965BE is clocked 700+MHz higher than the i5 and it consumes a lot more energy. The fact of the matter is that Intel will not clock the i5 at 3.2GHz and disable the turbo mode (because of the i7), but you can do it (safely). Reply
  • Eeqmcsq - Wednesday, September 16, 2009 - link

    > People should stop complaining about benches with turbo on.
    Well, it depends on what the complaint is. For me personally, my complaint has been that the Turbo on numbers alone are not enough to describe the capabilities of a Turbo CPU. I wanted Turbo off numbers too, to get a baseline on what the CPU can do when Turbo can't help.

    Thankfully, Gary has done that and it shows that when you throw a lot of tasks at the i5, it falls noticeably behind the 965BE. And that's important to know. If I had to choose between the i5 and 965BE at home, my choice is the i5, because I do so little at home that pushes 4 cores, that the Turbo would be useful and helpful. At work, however, I'm pushing all of my available cores compiling large amounts of source code, while zipping or unzipping files, while my version control client app is busy doing whatever it's doing in the background eating up one of the cores at 100%, while I'm running a simulator app which requires another core. In this case, I MUST choose the 965BE over the i5, because the i5's Turbo can't help me, so it performs closer to Turbo off, making it worse than the 965BE.

    So for me, that's why I want Turbo off numbers. I'm after the complete picture.
    Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    Well as erple2 said make your decision based on the multithreaded benchmarks. Also, even in multithreaded apps the turbo kicks in (marginally), therefore, disabling the turbo is not giving you an accurate picture.
    Anyways, it seems like in you work environment you will be better off with an i7, because Gary's number do show significant improvement with HT on in multithreaded test. Especially since you use it for work, the ROI will justify the additional $100 expense.
    My point however was that if you are given the opportunity (bios access) you will be better off OCing the i5 to 3.2GHz (the single core turbo on value). After all 965BE is an OCed PII; it is obvious from the power consumption numbers. And due to the reasons I mentioned you will not see a factory OCed i5 (3.2GHz stock clock). That does not mean that i5 cannot run 3.2GHz turbo off (safely), and out perform the PII. I would actually speculate that @ 3.2GHZ, i5 will be within the thermal envelop of 965BE.
    Reply
  • Eeqmcsq - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    > Anyways, it seems like in you work environment you will be better off with an i7
    You are right and I agree that the i7 with hyperthreading would be the BEST choice for my work loads. Convincing an IT guy that I NEED an i7 when all of our programmers can adequately get work done with our old Pentium D's, uh, that's another matter.

    > you will be better off OCing the i5 to 3.2GHz (the single core turbo on value)
    Yep, this is also an alternative for me, but it works around the issue on how to compare Turbo CPUs to non Turbo CPUs. Also, see my, uh, "essay" written above.
    Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    "Convincing an IT guy that I NEED an i7 when all of our programmers can adequately get work done with our old Pentium D's, uh, that's another matter. "
    Well, in that case you might have an issue convincing them that you need a 965BE. Or a i5 for that matter. :)
    Reply
  • Eeqmcsq - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    > Well, in that case you might have an issue convincing them that you need a 965BE. Or a i5 for that matter. :)

    Haha, yeah, I know! I'm stuck with my Pentium D for the foreseeable future. :( Unless our IT guys will bite at a $100 Athlon X4... and a bagel or two. :P
    Reply
  • maxxcool - Friday, September 18, 2009 - link

    heh, I gutted my workstation after hours and installed a Kuma 7750 onto a 8200 series asus board. i *had* a p4 3.0ht and it was killing me inside when doing log file grep'ing, compression and local database work.

    the best part was using the companies "reward dollars" to buy the mobo and cpu. :) now.... I magically can do *more* work and am getting more reward bucks.... :D
    Reply
  • jonup - Thursday, September 17, 2009 - link

    Well maybe if you get the begels u can talk him into it. Reply

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