Doom 3

Our Doom 3 CPU Battlegrounds article already made it quite clear that Intel did not have what it takes to be the highest performer in Doom 3. The release of the Athlon 64 4000+ and FX-55 further extend AMD's lead in Doom 3.

Even the entry level Athlon 64 3200+ has no problems outperforming the 3.4EE and Pentium 4 560. Doom 3 does continue to show us the ~7% performance improvement we've been seeing thus far from going to a dual channel Socket-939 setup over Socket-754. The added cache of the 4000+ manages to yield a 3% performance improvement over the 3800+, definitely not worth the added premium over an already expensive chip.
Prescott does well here (for Intel), but the Extreme Edition still takes the cake.

Doom 3

Counterstrike: Source

The next big game after Doom 3 is, of course, Half Life 2. And while the game is still not out, Valve's Visual Stress Test that comes with Counterstrike: Source gives us a good glimpse into future performance under Half Life 2.

Just like Doom 3, Half Life 2 is strictly an AMD dominated game. The Athlon 64 FX-55 outperforms the fastest Intel CPU here by a whopping 18%. Prescott performs horribly, with the Pentium 4 560 only able to outperform the Athlon XP 3200+, not even the Athlon 64 3000+.

What is extremely interesting here is the impact of memory bandwidth on the Athlon 64 platform. The impact of a dual channel memory controller is nothing short of 14%, which is almost double of what we've seen in other tests. The Athlon 64 4000+ also shows a similarly impressive performance improvement due to its larger L2 cache, putting it a full 8% faster than the 3800+.

Half Life 2/Counterstrike: Source VST

So far in gaming, AMD takes it 2 for 2.


The gaming performance dominance continues under Halo 1.05, with AMD taking the top three spots. We see much less of an impact from a larger L2 cache on the Athlon 64 platform than we did in the CS: Source VST, but dual channel is still worth close to 6% for the Athlon 64.

Prescott once again doesn't fare very well, with the 3.4EE leading the pack from Intel.

Halo 1.05

That's 3 for 3 for AMD.

Starwars Battlefront

We recently introduced Starwars Battlefront into our GPU tests last week with the release of NVIDIA's GeForce 6200. This week we're using the same test for AMD's CPU launch.

Overall we see that there's not much variance with CPU speed in Battlefront; obviously the XP 3200+'s performance is a bit dated, but the majority of the contenders here end up performing rather similarly to one another.

AMD does end up on top once again, which is not a surprise considering what we've seen in the past three tests. It would be very safe to say that AMD's Athlon 64 architecture with its on-die memory controller is very well suited for gaming performance.

Starwars Battlefront

Battlefield Vietnam

Battlefield Vietnam is similar to Starwars Battlefront not only in its gameplay but also in its performance; there's no real difference between any of the top performers here. Almost all l of these CPUs end up being GPU limited at 1024x768.

Battlefield Vietnam

Unreal Tournament 2004

UT2004 sends AMD back to the top of the performance charts, with the top four spots once again belonging to AMD. We also find that the 4000+ improves performance by about 5% due to its larger cache, while the 3800+ continues to make a 6.7% argument in favor of Socket-939 over Socket-754.

Unreal Tournament 2004

Audio/Video Encoding Performance Gaming Performance Continued
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  • HardwareD00d - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Fantastic article, obviously very well thought out.

    I would have liked to see a comparison between the 4000+ and the "real" FX-53 to really back up your rebadging theory (yeah I know speed+cache+memory width are equal between the two, but just to make sure AMD isn't pulling some magic out of there butt somewhere else).
  • Marsumane - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Yes, thanks for the XP comparison. I find it interesting how its not performing as well as it used to in games. (doom 3, farcry, cs:s)

    Also, your ut2k4 benches seem off. How is doom 3 pulling 50% more frames at the same res? Maybe your ut is at 16x12? I pull similar frames on ut w/ my 9800p oced.
  • ksherman - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I like the ending... It sounds mysterious!
  • alexruiz - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I will suggest again to include some Ulead Video Studio 8.0 benchmarks for video encoding. Ulead is by far the fastest consumer grade video editor / renderer, it is the most complete and one of the most popular. In fact, it is almost 50% faster than Pinnacle 9, and almost 100% faster than videowave.

    Roxio has really been working with Intel as all previous version of video wave ran better on AMD hardware. As reference, results video wave 6 or 7 would be interesting. Newer doesn't always mean better, as you can see from Adobe Premiere. Version 7.0 is quite slower than 6.5 doing the exact same thing in the same platform.

    For DivX encoding, a run with virtualdub/virtualdubmod or DVD2AVI would be nice, as they are very fast and extensively used.

    Just some comments

  • Araemo - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Thank you thank you thank you for including an Athlon XP.

    This allows me to better judge where my current Barton 2.4 Ghz sits. ;P So I know when an upgrade to the next cheap overclocker will give a good enough performance boost to be worth the money.
  • stephenbrooks - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Here's an idea to play with: how about some 2D scatter plots of Performance/£ and Performance/Watt? Obviously not on everything - that would clutter it - but perhaps on one or two key things it'd be nice to see.
  • Zar0n - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    EDIT #22 There is no 3400+ for SK 939 only 3500+
  • Zar0n - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Nice article BUT:
    You should make C&C power consumption and temperature
    Also some OC tests.

    The Battle for Value is not correct:
    1º WHAT about price of DDR1 VS DDR2?!
    2º MB for INTEL are more expensive, ~40€ is a great difference in a MB price.
    3º 0.09 AMD are just introduced so they are going to come down, not much but they are.

    In order to be fair you should compare with AMD 3400+
    AMD as a clear winner here.
  • mczak - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    power consumption at idle - is this with or without cool 'n' quiet (I suspect without)?
  • Uff - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I have to agree with #18 - it's not worth paying more than twice the price of a 3400+ just to get 3800+ on 939 platform.

    Many say 'OH! But s939 is more upgradable!', but if you think about it, by the time you upgrade next there are very likely going to be new motherboards available aswell and you end up upgrading that anyway. Not to mention motherboards cost virtually nothing compared to cpus.

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