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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  • Jeff7181 - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    Ooops... I really wish it was possible to edit these. =) What I meant to say was...

    "... especially since 2/3 of those benchmarks..."
  • Jeff7181 - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    I would like to see some Pentium 4 3.6 GHz numbers in there too so we can see the effect of Intel's x86-64 support. With the data available, it's impossible to decide whether Intel has integrated it properly and gets a performance boost, or if a 3.6 GHz Xeon is just naturally that much faster than an Athlon-64 3500+... especially since 92/3 of those benchmarks are not benchmarks I've ever seen you run before so I have no idea how ANY other processor compares.

    Sorry Kristopher, but this was a BAD article. There's not nearly enough information to draw any useful conclusions.
  • gimp0 - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    this was probably the worst comparison ever. At least give us some game benchmarks like UT2004 64bit and let us see some real numbers.

    Server CPU against a mianstream chip in a database environment will surely favor the xeon.

    whatever though
  • the5thgeek - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    what is the reason for comparing the new intel processor against the slowest socket 939 processor? why not a FX53 or 3800?
  • DrMrLordX - Monday, August 9, 2004 - link

    What the hell made you run a 3.6 ghz Nocona vs the 3500+?!? Try running it against an Opteron 150! For crying out loud . . .

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