Since the excuse to not compare Athlon 64s to Intel Pentium based processors has always been "you can't compare apples to oranges," we found ourselves fairly entertained to come into the possession of a 3.6GHz EM64T Xeon processor. Intel's EM64T is Intel's true x86_64 initiative. This 3.6GHz Xeon processor is actually the exact same CPU in as the LGA775 Pentium 4F we will see in just a few weeks. We are offering a preview of an unreleased processor on 64-bit Linux systems. Now, we have Intel and AMD 64-bit x86 processors, 64-bit Linux operating systems and a few days to get some benchmarking done.

We are going to run the benchmarks for this review slightly different than we have in the past. We want to make our numbers easily replicable for those who have the necessary components, but we also want to show the fullest capabilities of the hardware that we have. Many of our previous benchmarks are not multithread (POV-Ray) or do not scale well. Unfortunately, this forces us to use a lot of synthetic benchmarks; but we feel the overall results are accurate and reflective of the hardware used.

The delicate bit for this review was using the SuSE 9.1 Pro (x86_64) installation rather than compiling it from scratch (à la Gentoo). This was done to preserve the ability to replicate our benchmarks easily. Fedora Core 2 refused to install on the IA32e machine because there was no recognized AMD CPU.

 Performance Test Configuration
Processor(s): Athlon 64 3500+ (130nm, 2.2GHz, 512KB L2 Cache)
Intel Xeon 3.6GHz (90nm, 1MB L2 Cache)
RAM: 2 x 512MB PC-3500 CL2 (400MHz)
2 x 512MB PC2-3200 CL3 (400MHz) Registered
Memory Timings: Default
Hard Drives Seagate 120GB 7200RPM IDE (8Mb buffer)
Operating System(s): SuSE 9.1 Professional (64 bit)
Linux 2.6.4-52-default
Linux 2.6.4-52-smp
Compiler: GCC 3.3.3
Motherboards: NVIDIA NForce3 250 Reference Board
SuperMicro Tumwater X6DA8-G2 (Only 1 CPU)

As there may have been a little confusion from the last review, the DDR PC-3500 only runs at 400MHz. The Infineon Registered RDIMMs used on the Xeon runs at slightly high latencies. All memory runs in dual channel configurations. We removed 1 CPU for the tests in this benchmark, but since HyperThreading was enabled, we used the SMP kernel. During the second half of the benchmarks, SMP was disabled and the tests were re-run under the single CPU generic kernel. These are both 64-bit CPUs, and so, all benchmarks are run on 64-bit OSes with 64-bit binaries wherever possible.

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  • TauCeti - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Hi Kristopher,

    the most disturbing thing for me about your comparisons is your selection of the benchmarks you did run. Some of them are simply not suited at all to run on modern 64-bit systems.

    Some details:

    Super-Pi:
    If you did not get some 'special' version, you benched Super-PI 2.0 compiled with an ancient (GNU) 2.95.2 in late 1999. Purely 32-bit and the compiler blatantly unaware of modern microarchitectures.

    TSCP 1.8.1:
    You are joking. The TSCP-bench function does need way below 1Megabyte of memory in 32-bit. Totally in-Cache for the Xeon. Did you have a look at the source (it's small enough)? Why did you think that 64-bit could possibly increase performance? That uneccessarily increased mem-consumption and decreased performance.
    BTW: TSCP scores about 420000 on my P4(3.0/875) and about 240000 on a Athlon XP2000+ in 32 bit. The latter value is included in the source code.

    Tau
    Reply
  • thatsright - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    WOW!!

    It is just absolutely mind boggling that AnandTech would run such a incompetent article. To compare a High end server chip, to a mainstream desktop chip, is utterly pointless. (And I am a proud owner of a P4c, not a hardcore AMD fanboi.) I would only expect this sort of incomplete and shoddy journalism from Tom's Hardware or the like.

    This article should be pulled until a apt and completer comparison can be run with a Opteron chip. I'm getting a bit concerned with the writing of the last few stories here @ AnandTech.
    Reply
  • Pjotr - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    "Relax, its just a primer for future articles. A 3.6F is supposed to compare with a "3600+" rated Athlon 64 isnt it?"

    No, it's not. They come from two separate market segments. The 3500+ is a desktop CPU. Opteron is AMDs server CPU. Server CPUs typically has more L2 than desktop CPUs, both for Intel and AMD. Also, the 3500+ rating is supposed to compare to Intel desktop CPUs, not server CPUs.
    Reply
  • mrdoubleb - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    OFF

    Sorry for the double post. The 1st one had some typos and I used the BACK button to correct them. Bad idea. :))
    Reply
  • mrdoubleb - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Now, come on! Honestly, this was meant to be posted on April 1st, wasn't it?! Even in your own previous tests we see that (except for video encoding and a few synthetic tests) the 3500+ beats Prescott 3.6. Is a "Prescott B" coming out so shortly that we don't know of that you claim that the new Nocona 3.6 is exactly like the Prescott 3.6?! Why didn't you put up a similarly priced Opteron against this iAMD64 zombie?!

    My suggestion for a future test: Sempron 2000+ vs. Prescott 3.6. Title of review: "Both AMD and Intel have released 2 new processors recently. How do they perform against each other?".
    Reply
  • mrdoubleb - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Now, come on! Honestly, this was meant to be posted on April 1st, wasn't it?! Even in your own previous tests we see that (except for video encoding and a few synthetic tests" we see that the 3500+ beats Prescott 3.6. Is a "Prescott B" coming out so shortly that we don't know fo that you claim that the new Nocona 3.6 is exactly like the Prescott 3.6?! Why didn't you put up a similarly priced Opteron against this iAMD64 zombie?!

    My suggestion for a future test: Sempron 2000+ vs. Prescott 3.6. Title of review: "Both AMD and Intel have released 2 new processors recently. How do they perform against each other?".
    Reply
  • Carfax - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    To Locutus4657, apparently he used 32bit scores for the first MySQL benchmark on the 3500+ instead of 64bit scores..

    Had he used 64bit, the 3500+ would have won both benches instead of just one..
    Reply
  • Locutus4657 - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Here's what I really don't get... Reviewing previous Prescott v. Northwood v. A64 server benchmarks the Prescott was trounced, not only by the A64 but by the Northwood as well (on Mysql Linux). So how the hell did a Prescott end up improving this much in mysql? Were there some core updates I'm not aware of? Reply
  • Fr0zeN2 - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Synthetic benchmarks are worthless. Show me some real numbers! I dont care who wins i just want to see real benchmarks! Reply
  • snorre - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    KristopherKubicki: Don't be stupid, you should always compare with the best possible alternative and in single processor systems that is AMD's Opteron 150 or Athlon 64 FX-53. And besides, AMD's rating has nothing to do with Intel's MHz... Reply

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