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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  • Live - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Splendid reading! This site is doing a great job right now. I really would love more of these very informative articles that help you so at seeing the big picture.

    A really helpful article.
  • Disorganise - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    I’m a bit disappointed by you inconsistency…

    The comparison with Intel over who wins….slightly inconsistent but no biggie.

    What really is bad though, is the penultimate page – is socket 939 worth it?

    I agree it is but…..
    You’ve taking an identical chip and found it about 5% quicker than on socket 754. OK, no problem. But AMD have wacked a whopping 12% increase in rating, to 3800+ from 3400+. It doesn’t gel, the numbers don’t work.

    The 3800+ is also more expensive than the 3400+ to the tune of about 250% here in Australia and about 220% over there in the U.S. a 5% increase in performance does not warrant a doubling in price.

  • at80eighty - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    way to go Anand...excellently comprehensive article...

    /waiting for those HDD articles you promised : p
  • SLIM - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Going along with what #6 said:
    Athlon 64 4000+ - 2.4GHz - 1MB - 128-bit
    Athlon 64 3800+ - 2.4GHz - 512KB - 128-bit
    Athlon 64 3400+ - 2.4GHz - 1MB - 64-bit <---should be a socket 754 3700+ right?
    Athlon 64 3400+ - 2.4GHz - 512KB - 64-bit
    Athlon 64 FX-53 - 2.4GHz - 1MB - 128-bit

  • ViRGE - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    #12, even GPUs aren't going anywhere fast. There's still a shortage of something or other needed to make the Ultra/PE parts, and there isn't a planned refresh for 2004. ATI/Nvidia have another speed grade of RAM to jump to(1.6ghz GDDR3), and can die-shrink down to 90nm once TSMC gets there, but they're so close to CPUs right now, they're destined to hit the same wall too.

    Anand, someone has been a busy beaver.;-) That was a long, but well thought out and informative article; you've basically written the definitive CPU article for now until the multicores come out.
  • Tides - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Ah I read the conclusion wrong.
  • Tides - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    why is this site putting down an amd performance gain and making excuses for intel at the same time.
  • Doormat - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Its a shame the processor wars are coming to an end. I see dual core as neat, but a dud performance wise. It'll be another year or two before the GPU wars start to die out... hmmm..

    -CPU performance levels off
    -HD capacity levels off

    The only interesting stuff going on is GPU stuff.
  • dvinnen - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    Best artical from Anandtech I've read in a long time. Good job Anand.
  • skiboysteve - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 - link

    wait nevermind, you put your comments ABOVE the graphs. threw me off cause this isnt what you usualy do...

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