Multitasking Scenario 2: File Compression

For our next test, we simulated what would happen if we performed two disk intensive tasks at the same time: zipping the source code to Firefox while importing a 260MB PST file into Outlook 2003. You'll note that this is a slightly modified version of the test that we originally created; we modified the test by archiving the Firefox source instead of a single smaller file. The reason for this is that we wanted a more realistic test (from a file size/count perspective) as well as the ability to better discern between contenders.

We ran the same Firefox and iTunes tasks from the last test again, and then did the following:

1) Open Outlook.
2) Start importing 260MB PST.
3) Start WinRAR.
4) Archive Firefox source.

WinRAR remained the application in focus during this test.

Here, we looked at two metrics: how long it took WinRAR to compress our test file, and how many emails were imported into Outlook during the time that WinRAR was archiving. Let's have a look at the results:

Multitasking Performance - Scenario 2

Remember that Windows' scheduler will give, by default, priority to the foreground task, which is why we see such a strong showing from the FX-55 here. But let's take a look at the other main task that ran in the background, the Outlook PST import:

Multitasking Performance - Scenario 2

Here, we see that while the FX-55 completed the archive task quicker than the dual core AMD CPUs, it basically got nothing done on the import emails task. Here, the advantage of dual core is clear, and once again, we see that AMD and Intel are very close in performance, but with Intel taking the crown. Interestingly enough, Hyper Threading is a major hindrance to Intel here as the Extreme Edition is significantly slower than the HT-disabled Pentium D 840.

The Real Test - AnandTech’s Multitasking Scenarios Multitasking Scenario 3: Web Browsing
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  • bcoupland - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    People have been saying that a dual-core processor at the same speed as a single-core one will not speed up games and such, but I beg to differ: In a real-world situation, one would have MS Antispyware and an AV program running in the background, while running a game. Also, don't forget the OS as well as onboard sound, chipset raid, USB, and other various programs. A dual-core cpu, even for single-threaded apps like most games, will pretty much give that game its own core. I am excited to see the dual-cores come out personally. Reply
  • SLIM - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Hey Anand,

    Nice article as always, but why do you think the extreme edition suffers so badly in some of the benches compared to its non-HT brother???

    Is it possible/plausible that some of those terrible results are due to the more cpu intensive apps being saddled on the two logical cores of just one physical core? Do you think bandwidth can really explain the huge drops in performance?

    Oh and thanks for the overclocking results too.

    SLIM
    Reply
  • PetNorth - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    For those talking about multitasking tests. Look at them carefully and not bla bla bla. I mean: X2 4800+ Vs. PEE 840 and X2 4200+ Vs. PD 840.

    So, in these 5 Anand multitasking scenarios:

    X2 4800+ Vs. PEE 840: 2-3
    X2 4200+ Vs. PD 840: 4-1

    And don't forget that Multitasking compiling scenario from Opteron DC review is missing in this X2 review: http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?... Another X2's victory.
    Reply
  • philthedrill - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Hyperthreading can be a loss when there are memory bandwidth intensive apps. The P4 implementation shares a the data TLB, which ends up thrashing when you have lots of requests that go to memory from both threads. Reply
  • Brian23 - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Thank you for the overclocking results! Reply
  • Son of a N00b - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    I wont be upgrading to a dual core anytime soon, ill stick with my fx55 on water @3000mgz, but when i do go DC its nice to know there will still be a amd heart at the center. Reply
  • pdr - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Can y'all start adding some linux tests (32- and 64-bit would be nice) on things like dual core? Everybody seems to think that if you want some oompfh in linux you will obviously want to build a mega-box cluster. But I just want to minimize my kernel compiles (yes, I run Gentoo), video processing (transcode, ffmpeg, mencoder, etc) - I don't want to turn my living room into a data center. Reply
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    For those of you asking for overclocking results, here's what I've seen:

    Pentium Extreme Edition 840: 3.6GHz was the maximum stable overclock I could obtain with standard air cooling. I had to bump up the voltage by around 5% I believe (it was a while ago so I don't have the numbers fresh in my mind).

    Athlon 64 X2 4200+: The best I could do here was just under 2.6GHz (2.53GHz to be exact). This was with air cooling and no voltage tweaks necessary. I couldn't get it totally stable at 2.6GHz.

    Take care,
    Anand
    Reply
  • Quanticles - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    Anand,

    Could you run the real world tests with a single-core Pentium to compare against the FX-55?

    I'm interested in seeing if there's an issue with how well AMD's platform switches threads. If the Pentium beats out the FX-55 significantly then maybe AMD's platform has trouble switching among huge number of threads. This would mean the X2 would be more suitable for multi-tasking among 2-4 threads where the Pent-D would be more suitable for 6-inf threads.
    Reply
  • nserra - Monday, May 9, 2005 - link

    #61 "hear what you're saying...to me, they don't seem faster but they do seem "smoother". "

    There is an easy explanation what you are saying, for example a game on intel does 50 to 70 fps.
    On AMD 50 to 100 fps.
    Who will be the smoother, the one that appears to be working always at the same speed, because the one that will give you higher differences of performance peaks will of course look "erratic".
    Reply

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