Audio Encoding

Lame was compiled from source without optimizations. We only ran ./configure and make, without any flags. We realize that some people would like to verify our binaries and sample files for their own benchmarks. In order to save bandwidth and prevent copyright infractions, we will provide our test files and binaries under limited circumstances to serious inquiries. We ran lame on a 700MB .wav file using the command equivalent to the one below:

# lame sample.wav -b 192 -m s -h >/dev/null

Encoding time, lower is better.

lame 1.96


Although POV-RAY is limited in application (particularly when compared against Mental Ray), it does provide a free open source solution for basic rendering. POV-Ray 3.50c was our choice of render engine for this benchmark. For benchmark specifics, we run the exact benchmark as specified by the POV-Ray official site. We use the precompiled RPM for this test.

Render Time in Seconds, less is better.

POV-Ray 3.05c

POV-Ray does not have multithread support, so we were not surprised to see the HyperThreading configuration slowing down to the configuration without HT. We see the Athlon 64 processor pull way ahead; render tasks are extremely CPU and memory dependant. With the memory controller on the CPU, Athlon 64 becomes the stronger offering in this situation.


To throw in some rudimentary tests for GZip, we used the included GZip 1.3.5 to compress the .wav file from the benchmark above. We do not want to limit our I/O on writing to the hard drive, so the operation is performed as below:

# time gzip -c sample.wav > /dev/null

Gzip 1.3.5

Intel wins their first bout of the analysis, albeit not by much. We will find a recurring pattern later on with integer based calculations and the Nocona Xeon processor. The entire Prescott family of Intel CPUs received a dedicated integer multiplier rather than continually using the floating point multiplier. This becomes extremely useful in some of our other benchmarks.

Database Performance

We will run the standard SQL-bench suite included with RPM MySQL 4.0.20d.

MySQL 4.0.20d - Test-Select

MySQL 4.0.20d - Test-Insert

Of all our benchmarks, the SQL-bench becomes the most baffling. The extremely threaded database application performs particularly poorly with HyperThreading enabled. The Althon 64 outperforms Intel again in this benchmark, and a lot of it is almost certainly accredited to the on die memory controller again.
Update: We copied the 32-bit marks from our benchmark in previous testing instead of the 64-bit. You can view the previous articles here from a month ago. The graphs have also been updated.
Index Synthetic Benchmarks
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  • Viditor - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    johnsonx - "What other conclusion could be drawn from the benchmark results?"

    That's just it...the benchmark results have been shown to be rather intensely flawed (for those of you with conspiracy theories on the brain, don't be wasn't deliberate!).
    While Kris HAS been correcting them, he hasn't re-written the conclusion to reflect those changes...
  • WiZzACkR - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    hey steve - thanks for the response. next time i'll calm down first and will try to not look like an idiot. promise ;)

    concerning the processor choice i still think it's a bit odd though: if intels desktop 3.60F equals its server offering in form of the here tested XEON that doesn't mean AMDs desktop offering in form of the 3500+ is as well it's top-of-the-line server chip. if you compare the 850$ version you should do so against AMDs 850$ counterpart - if you compare the desktop offerings it may well be that the 3.60F will do better when comparing it against the 3500+ in the desktop arena. do i make any sense here? man, too tired...

    anyways - thanks for the response, and again sorry for acting like a fuckwitt.
  • ss284 - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    WiZzACkR, I dont disagree with the statements about how the selected benchmarks wasnt that great a choice(although he was limited considering the 64-bit nature of the tests
    ), in addition to poor execution.

    I just disagree with all the people complaining about the processor choice and using idiotic analogies about how this is comparing a duron and a xeon. ====The core in the xeon 3.6 and the p4 3.6e em64t are the same.==== I want that drilled into everyone's mind who is complaining about unfair comparisons. Given the setup used in the article, its actually likely that the p4 3.6e em64t on a desktop board with standard non registered memory at cl2 will perform better than the tumwater setup. As for pricing/performance, pricing ends up being the more important factor. In the case of the 3500+, its currently running ~350 dollars, while the p4 3.6 em64t is slated to be released at 416 dollars in a week or so. I dont think pricewise the comparison is much off. A 3600+ from amd will no doubt cost at least 50 dollars more than the 3500+, putting them at a price parallel.

    And regarding the hardforums, yes there are some decently constructive posts. However, the general populace there seems a lot less curteous and tend to get into craptastic posts from immature members. Forums like Anandtech, Ace's hardware, and arstechnica, have much more contructive posting by the general populace. Semi decent punctuation also seems to be a skill that most Anandtech forum goers possess that a great deal of hardocpers do not. The cluelessness of many of the posts are pretty apparent by browsing almost any of their forums (I've actually been a member since 2000, so I would know).

    I overreacted as well, and I'm sorry for that. Its just I believed some of the quotes you used from the hardforums werent valid, and that readily available correct information should have been used.

  • WiZzACkR - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    replying to 178 - Posted on Aug 10, 2004 at 1:18 PM by johnsonx

    ok, i put that weired. what i meant was: if you run a benchmark suit of mostly server apps and one server CPU you should compare it to the other company's server chip as well, not a desktop one. comparing a DESKTOP intel product (3.60F) vs a DESKTOP 3500+ is fine - but then do so with a desktop benchmarking suit, typical desktop applications and as few as possible synthetic benchmarks.
    hmmm, still weired...
  • dougSF30 - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    John the Ripper results are completely invalid.

    The source code contains Hand-tuned ASSEMBLY routines, some of which only get called if the CPU has the word "Intel" in the name!!!!!

    (And others are optimized for the K6. LOL.)

    Totally bogus.

    See x86.S detect.c and in the source package.

    These results are garbage-- this "test" should be removed from the article.

    The architecture-detection code is also probably broken, even in the generic case.

  • chaosengine - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    Atleast someone is taking a note on what we are irate abt
  • flip0mode - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    Oh man, I got here late. Wow, what a response. I think that the response thread is much more interesting than the benchies. OK, pass me a cold beer too...thanx...

    I guess I'll throw 2 more cents on top of this mountain of pennies and see how tall it will get; though a stone in a field is generally more interesting than a stone in a mountain range.

    I think it's just fine to compare these two processors - inaccuracies aside. But the review should include amd's top of the line, seriously. Comparing high-end to low-end is extremely useful - we all want to know why we should spend the extra dough. But to be equitable you need a true sampling of high end and low end, which was not provided here.

    I don't care who wins the crown, I just want to see the price/performance. Besides, I'll probably never buy a server chip anyway - in the desktop arena, there is currently only one choice IMO.

    Now is a terrible time to buy anything anyway. At least 4-6 months need to go by to allow PCI-E and DDR-2 to find their way to market.

    All in all, I think two-thumbs down is not inappropriate, but this is a whole new level of kicking a dead horse. In the end I still have to thank you for this review just because of the feedback it generated!

  • johnsonx - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    To #175, WiZzACkR,

    "but giving the unavailable 3.6F as an excuse i find inappropriate"

    Why? Theres no difference between the XEON 3.6 and the Pentium 4 3.6F, and further, aside from 64-bit, there is no difference between the 3.6F and the regular 3.6Ghz P4 (what is that, a 560?). So even if this were a CPU review, how would comparing a A64 3500+ and a 3.6Ghz P4 be so horribly wrong? A 3800+ is only 200Mhz faster and thus would affect the benchmarks by 12% at most (more likely only a few percent.)
  • MikeEFix - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    To clarify PR rating:
    The reference CPU used in AMDs' PR scheme is an AMD cpu not an Intel part.I always yhought this was common knowledge whether it be right or wrong, smart or stupid.

    Opteron a higher end smp capable chip had always been targeted at Xeon and lower cost solution to Itanium.
  • Noubourne - Tuesday, August 10, 2004 - link

    I see what you were trying to do. I am not super technical but the comparison did seem a bit odd to me when I first read it. If anything it shows the technical knowledge of the AT community, which is good, even if the manners are a bit lacking here and there.

    It's not easy to admit you are wrong, so I applaud the corrections that have been made. It would take at least 10 more articles like this to get me to stop reading AT, but I look forward to a more thorough comparison in the future. My Linux experiments have been mostly failures (again, not too technical), but I do try and it will be cool to see some more "real world" benchmarks on a true 64 bit OS. It might inspire me to d/l the latest fedora and give it another shot.

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