The Test

We will be comparing four new processor speeds against the numbers we have already collected over the past few months. Two speed grades will be Athlon 64 (512kB L2 cache parts), and the other two will be FX parts (1MB L2 cache parts). One of the FX parts isn't actually being launched yet, but will be the future FX-55 part. Very fortunately, the FX processors are completely multiplier unlocked, so all I had to do to test FX-55 speeds was to crank up the voltage and multiplier on our FX-53 to 1.55V and 26. Worked like a charm, aside from the issues I experienced across the board.

 Performance Test Configuration

AMD Athlon XP 3000+
AMD Athlon 64 3000+
AMD Athlon 64 3200+
AMD Athlon 64 3400+
AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (S939)
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (S939)
AMD Athlon 64 FX53 (S939)
AMD Athlon 64 FX55 (S939)*
AMD Athlon 64 FX51
AMD Athlon 64 FX53
Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz EE
Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz EE
Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz
Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz
Intel Pentium 4 3.2EGHz

RAM: 2 x 512Mb OCZ 3500 Platinum Ltd
2 x 512Mb OCZ 3200 EL ECC Registered 2:3:3
2 x 512Mb Mushkin ECC Registered High Performance 2:3:2
Hard Drives Seagate 120GB 7200 RPM (8MB Buffer)
Video AGP & IDE Bus Master Drivers VIA Hyperion 4.51 (12/02/03)
Intel Chipset Drivers
Video Card(s): Sapphire ATI Radeon 9800 PRO 128MB (AGP 8X)
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst 4.1
Operating System(s): Windows XP Professional SP1
Motherboards: Intel D875PBZ (Intel 875P Chipset)
FIC K8-800T (VIA K8T800 Chipset)
ASUS SK8V (VIA K8T800 Chipset)
MSI MS-6702E (VIA K8T800 Pro Chipset)

* the FX-55 part has not yet been released, but is on AMD's roadmaps.

In setting up the memory on our 939 pin MSI board, we made sure to disable 2T timing in favor of 1T, as memory bandwidth is greatly increased by doing so (and thus performance is impacted to a significant degree). Memory timings on the two unbuffered memory platforms were 2:2:2:6 using the OCZ RAM.

Testing these processors was a very difficult task, as I had a large number of stability issues. Winstone was run so many times just to get through the benchmark. We covered all the bases we knew how to cover, using a PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 510, a ThermalTake Venus 12 and 2 120mm case fans (on an open system) to make sure we had stable voltage supplies and adequate cooling. Nothing really seemed to make a difference until we noticed that the 3500+ and FX-55 benchmarks were "easier" to run. This seemed to indicate that the motherboard wasn't supplying enough voltage to the CPU, as the increased voltage added stability to the FX-55 and the 3500+ was just an underclock. This theory wasn't explored completely, as Computex beckons. To be fair, our own Wesley Fink tested a system that was completely and utterly stable from underclocks to overclocks and everything in between using the exact same versions of components across the board. The conclusion we have come to is that we had a "motherboard issue", though we wish we could be more specific. The important thing is that we got all the benchmarks done, and based on Wesley's experience and the time between now and availability, we don't expect there to be any of these kinds of issues. Of course, we'll definitely keep abreast of the situation.

The Chips SYSmark 2004


View All Comments

  • Icewind - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Slight gramatical problem here......

    As we have mentioned in previous news articles, these new CPUs will run at the 3500+ will run at 2.2GHz while the 3800+ and FX-53 will run at 2.4 GHz each.

    I think you wanted to say "These new CPU"S will be starting at the 3500+ model running at 2.2ghz to the 3800+ running at 2.4ghz."

  • Viditor - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    "I have updated the article to reflect the fact that we did indeed run our tests with 1T timings on the MSI K8T800 Pro 939 board"

    Thanks Derek...that's why I always read you guys!
  • WBurton - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I'm getting a bit frustrated with the Sponsored Links constantly crashing my Opera 7.x. It'd be nice to review an article without having to reboot all the time. Reply
  • MIDIman - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Is it possible that the release of a 64-bit OS will change all of these numbers and conlcusions? Reply
  • Lonyo - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    1066MHz HT bus?
    I thought the HT bus ram 200xmult
    So isn't it 200x5, or 1000MHz?
    (Typo on the first page?)
  • boban10 - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    what i dont like about many review sites that they encoding always the same codec and then say p4 is faster.
    well look here how they test it:,1558,1603531...

    i hope that your and anandtech next reviews will be more in depth about encoding, cause if people read your reviews about encoding they will buy p4.
    but p4 is not faster in all encoding and that is important to say and test. and i like this site, but if next time i see again only one test in encoding (and that where is know that p4 win) then i will not read your page anymore. and no im not amd fan, im performance fan.
  • mechBgon - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Jeff7181, you asked "Is running four unbuffered DIMMs really that necessary?"

    I was running three 512MB modules on my A7N8X Deluxe before replacing it with my K8V Deluxe. That was working out nicely for what I was using it for. When I installed my A64 and K8V Deluxe, I stepped *down* to 1.0GB because if I used all three modules, it would want to run them at DDR200/PC1600 speeds. If I could add a fourth module for 2.0GB total, that would be a welcome improvement. Yeah, I could invest in two 1GB DIMMs, I guess...

    Intel's i865 and i875 families have brought 4 DDR400 DIMMs to Pentium4 owners, and that capability, along with CSA Gigabit, are two places where I have to admit Intel trumped AMD & Co. nicely, and has kept them trumped for quite a while too. So it would be nice to see AMD get their mojo working here.
  • DerekWilson - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I have updated the article to reflect the fact that we did indeed run our tests with 1T timings on the MSI K8T800 Pro 939 board.

    I appologize for the omission.
  • Viditor - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    I wonder if Derek caught the bios setting tweak that Aces found.

    "An incredible difference: with a faster bus turnaround, the memory subsystem is able to serve up to 24% more bandwidth, and the latency goes down from 51 (21.25 ns) to 47 cycles (19.6 ns). This results in measurable real world performance gains:

    In 3DS Max 5.1, we gained 3% of performance
    In Medieval War, Comanche we also gained 3%
    In Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory, we gained 5.5%
    In WinRAR and Plasma, the performance advantage was no less than 9%"
  • nycxandy - Tuesday, June 1, 2004 - link

    Which motherboard was used for the 939 processors? Reply

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