Content Creation/Office Performance

Since our CPU test beds have moved to Windows 2000 SP2 (up from SP1) the issues we had with Winstone 2001 providing artificially inflated benchmark scores for platforms that used the VIA 686 South Bridge are now a thing of the past.  With that we welcome back the benchmark to our suite of tests as it offers a different performance perspective.

Winstone 2001 is highly bound by disk performance and it is a testament to the need for high performance disk drives in today’s desktop workstations.  Remember that although we often complain about the difference between a memory subsystem that transfers at 2100MB/s vs. 1000MB/s we rarely realize that your disk subsystem isn’t capable of even transferring at over 40MB/s. 

The benchmark is split into two sections: Content Creation and Business Winstone 2001.  Content Creation focuses more on the manipulation and creation of images, web pages, etc… (e.g. for hardcore Photoshop/Dreamweaver users) while Business Winstone focuses on word processing, spreadsheet and presentation applications, etc… (e.g. for MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint users).  All of these tests are conducted in a multitasking environment, making the benchmark a good representation of real world performance.

At 1.4GHz the Athlon claims the lead position in Content Creation Winstone, holding a 3% advantage over the Pentium 4 1.8.  Keep in mind that it is difficult to notice real word performance differences of anything lower than 5% and it usually takes a 10% difference to actually become noticed by the user. 

On that note, the Athlon MP provides a 2% performance advantage over the regular Athlon in this case which isn’t worth the price premium it carries.  We’ll revisit where the Athlon MP’s strengths lie later on in the test suit…

Our overclocked 2GHz Pentium 4 using the 133MHz FSB performs very well in this benchmark, coming out 5% higher than the Athlon 1.4.  However you’d see a bigger performance increase going to a faster hard drive (or potentially an IDE RAID setup) than upgrading your processor if you have any of the CPUs compared here.

The standings flip a bit in the Business Winstone test.  The beauty of the Pentium 4’s double pumped ALUs (integer units) is that for every 100MHz increase in CPU frequency, the double pumped ALUs jump 200MHz.  We may be seeing some of the results of that here as the 1.8GHz Pentium 4 does pretty well in the integer intensive Business Winstone benchmark.  Most business applications do rely primarily on good amounts of memory (to prevent disk swapping), a fast disk subsystem, a CPU with a fast cache and integer units. 

The Test Content Creation/Office Productivity Performance (continued)

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