The Hardware

We attempted to purchase and scavenge hardware that fits about the same price bracket. We could have easily thrown in an Athlon 64 X2 4800+ or an FX processor but we opted to pick out slightly more practical hardware instead.

Test Configurations


Athlon 64 X2 4200+ Manchester
Athlon 64 3800+ Venice
Athlon 64 3500+ Venice

Intel Pentium D 840
Intel Pentium D 820
Intel Pentium 4 660
Intel Pentium 4 640


2 x 512MB OCZ PC3200 EL Dual Channel DIMMs 2-2-2-10

2 x 512MB Crucial DDR-II 533 Dual Channel DIMMs 3-2-2-12


Gigabyte GA-K8N Ultra SLI

Intel D955XBKLK

Memory Timings:


Operating Systems:

SUSE 9.3 Professional x86_64


Linux 2.6.11-21.7

Video Cards:

Gigabyte 6800GT GV-N68T256D

Hard Drives:

Seagate 160GB Barracuda SATA


GCC 3.3.4
glibc 2.3.4

You may notice a few things off the bat; first of all, we are not using any of the Pentium 4 5xx processors. This is because we anticipated only doing our benchmarks on a 64-bit OS. The processors we selected today all run in the $250 to $600 range. These processors are a bit on the high end, but the various speed bumps between the chips should demonstrate the scalability of the processor in our benchmarks.

We are running the relatively new SUSE 9.3 Professional for this analysis. All programs were compiled via the GCC 3.3.4 compiler unless they were preinstalled on the operating system. All multitasking benchmarks are launched from shell scripts unless stated otherwise.

We owe a special "thank you" to Monarch Computer for rushing us the Intel motherboard used in this review!

The Test Multitasking Scenario 1: DVD Transcoding
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  • jamori - Wednesday, July 6, 2005 - link

    For the web browsing multitasking scenario...
    "Even with additional instances of FireFox, the import times are much faster than the Windows counterpart of this benchmark. "

    maybe i'm missing something, but the SLOWEST time on Windows is only about 30s slower than the FASTEST time on linux. The X2 4200+ is 45s slower in linux...

    The chart for the compile while gaming (gaming benchmark 2) is pointless since it doesn't show -j3 for the single core processors. Even on single core processors, there is some benefit to be had in situations where job1 is waiting on the disk, job2 can finish its compile and in turn wait on the disk while job1 uses the CPU.
    For instance: the way it is (with the -j1 setting) the equivalently clocked 4200+ and 3500+ perform about the same. What's to say they won't with -j3 as well?
  • rbochan - Wednesday, July 6, 2005 - link

    Comment: I enjoyed the may or may not be biased, but coupled with the community's comments enabled me to get the sense of relative performance I was hoping for.

    My Environment: I currently have an Athlon 3800+ configuration, 1 GB 2-2-2-5 Corsair Memory, and write Fortran77 programs to do simulation. Recently changing last year's GCC compiler to Intel's 9.0 auto-parallelizing compiler yielded a 31% decrease in run time. I do simulations that need to be done dozens of times a week that take about 15 hours apiece. These are heavy in floating point calculations with some trigonometric functions as well. This is done for fun (I am retired).

    My Question: I am planning (in about 6 to 8 months) to upgrade to either a Four Dual-Core Opteron system (fastest chips then available) or a Four Processor Itanium-2 System. This is strictly for the simulation (number crunching) application. Comparisons in this arena are even more difficult to come by than those in this article. You guys do not seem short on opinion and I would appreciate any references you would suggest to help figure out which way to go.

  • snorre - Tuesday, July 5, 2005 - link

    #54, I agree. Kristopher Kubicki has been biased towards Intel ever since he joined Anandtech, and there have always been some issues with all the articles he has been involved in.

    Why are there no 64-bit large-scale benchmarks, requiring 4GB+ of RAM ?

    And why didn't he include Athlon 64-X2 4400+, 4600+ or 4800+ ?

    And please also include some real SMP benchmarks instead of all these stupid multitasking benchmarks that nobody cares about anyways.
  • DrMrLordX - Sunday, July 3, 2005 - link

    #49, the real problem is that Kubicki's articles never have the detail of benchmarks carried out under Windows XP. We get fewer benchmarks and less hardware tested. Sure, there aren't as many programs under Linux available, perhapss, but that's no reason for him to cut out all single-app tests. People will frequently be running one single-threade or multithreaded app on dual-core CPUs, and they will also be running only two apps at once. Neither such scenario is represented well in this benchmark.

    This article does not provide enough information to draw conclusions about which CPU will be best under Linux.
  • sMashPiranha - Saturday, July 2, 2005 - link

    Seemed a little Intel biased, but who doesn't have a bias? Informative nonetheless.
  • tommy2q - Saturday, July 2, 2005 - link

    someone needs to be fired
  • sprockkets - Saturday, July 2, 2005 - link

    funny, the web page says 51 comments, last comment by ElFenix on Jul 1,2005 at 11:50pm when my comment above is 51 at 12:03 AM on Jul 2
  • sprockkets - Saturday, July 2, 2005 - link

    for Steinberg Wave lab, how about Audacity? GLAME?

    Doesn't Nerolinux use the command line cdrecord and such anyhow?
  • ElFenix - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    just a couple minor nits to pick, and this goes back to my whole 'you guys really need to hire an articles editor' thing that i've been harping on for 2 or 3 years
    on page 8, it says haplessly, where you should probably have happily. haplessly isn't a very positive word.
    and, as someone else has already pointed out, the manchester is not the $558 processor in this round up.

    if you get in a faster core (maybe a 1 meg l2 cache version), could you please update the article? thanks.
  • JarredWalton - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    4400+ would have been nice, but it's hard to get all the CPUs we'd like for every article. The 4800+ is in a league of its own as far as price, so including that would dictate that we also include the P4XE 840. Delaying articles for a few weeks while we try to get CPUs sorted out is not very useful either..There will be future articles, so don't get too worried.

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