AMD vs. Intel Performance

At this point it's not too big of a surprise that AMD is the stronger performer when it comes to gaming performance.  It's actually at the point where even insiders at Intel will admit and recognize that Intel is no longer the king of gaming performance as they once were long ago.  But how bad is it under Half Life 2?  Let's take a look at our five custom demos to find out.

We used the current king of Half Life 2 performance for all of our CPU tests - the ATI Radeon X850 XT Platinum Edition running at 1280 x 1024, to give a good balance between CPU and GPU limitations while providing realistic performance figures.  Note that all of the Intel CPUs tested here are LGA-775 and all of the AMD CPUs are Socket-939.

First we have at_canals_08, generally a good GPU test, meaning that its CPU dependency is minimized.  The benchmark includes a decent number of NPCs and firefights but is severely offset by things like water and flashlight usage, both of which are more GPU intensive elements of the benchmark. 

Half Life 2 Performance - at_canals_08

Things don't look so good for Intel here, the Pentium 4 570J is the only Intel CPU capable of outperforming the Athlon 64 3000+.  Unfortunately for Intel, AMD's Athlon 64 4000+ is about 14% faster at 1280 x 1024.

The Extreme Edition CPUs don't do much for Intel, as Prescott does appear to perform equal or better clock for clock than the older Northwood core. 

Next let's take a look at at_coast_05, another very GPU limited test that has a good deal of NPC interaction as well as GPU limiting elements:

Half Life 2 Performance - at_coast_05

The results here are very similar to what we saw under at_canals_08, with the Pentium 4 570J offering performance slightly higher than the Athlon 64 3000+ but that's about it for Intel.  The Athlon 64 4000+ is an impressive 24% faster than Intel here which honestly is nothing to scoff at. 

Our next demo, at_coast_12, doesn't change much either:

Half Life 2 Performance - at_coast_12

The performance under at_prison_05 is a little closer:

Half Life 2 Performance - at_prison_05

Finally we have an excellent CPU benchmark, at_c17_12.  The test is extremely CPU bound, and thus makes the perfect conclusion to this section:

Half Life 2 Performance - at_c17_12

While you can argue that AMD's performance advantages in the other tests aren't noticeable on a price-for-price basis, you can't argue with the results here.  At the $280 - $290 price point, AMD's Athlon 64 3500+ delivers about 15% more performance than Intel's Pentium 4 550. 

The margin is even greater at the low end, AMD's Athlon 64 3000+ is 23% faster than Intel's similarly priced Pentium 4 520. 

At the high end the advantage is equally in AMD's favor, with the Athlon 64 4000+ holding a 22% advantage over Intel's fastest Pentium 4. 

Conclusion?  Don't look any further than AMD for the best gaming CPU, and Half Life 2 further cements AMD's reputation as the gamer's CPU.

Index Closer Look at AMD Memory Performance


View All Comments

  • drinkmorejava - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

    When they test the Athlon 64 3400+, is it the 1meg clawhammer or the 512k newcastle. In comparisons with my friend who has a lousy newcastle with dual channel, he is always thoroughly beaten by my clawhammer. Reply
  • drinkmorejava - Thursday, January 27, 2005 - link

  • Zebo - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    I wish y'all would do an expo of A64's incredible "feels faster" syndrome to to it's 1/3rd mem latency of all other platforms.
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    Where can you buy it? Especially when MSI's website makes no mention of this.
  • Dranzerk - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link


    Yes that is feature feature. MSI offers it, never saw it reviewed though.
  • miketheidiot - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #40, 42, their was talk a while back about a PCIe to agp adaptor. Not sure what happened with it though. Reply
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    The MSI board has no such feature. It would require a different MCP to get AGP to work or using one of the PCI slots to do it (which wouldn't be AGP).
  • bob661 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    I have some OCZ CAS3 DDR400 ram in my system. 7 months ago it was considered premium ram (it's EB3500).
  • Aquila76 - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    #39 - WTF are you talking about? nForce 4 is only PCIe. What page are you looking at? I went through MSI's site and nothing on the Neo4 page says anything about AGP. There is no AGP slot on the mobo either. If you clcik on 'Special Features' that is for the special features of all of MSI's products. Reply
  • Dranzerk - Wednesday, January 26, 2005 - link

    18 - Posted on Jan 26, 2005 at 12:35 PM by Phantronius said:
    "NF4 will not be supporting AGP bud, sorry, its PCI-E from here on out."

    It does with a addon card..

    MSI K8N neo4 Platnium NF4
    GO to manufactor website listed on speical features:
    Special Features:
    ATX Form Factor
    Supports Accelerated Graphic Port (AGP) Add-On Card

    AGP on a NF4 tata!


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