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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  • StealthyOne - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    where is the pentium EE? :-)
  • JGunther - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    #4, it's 'cause Kris is writing the article. 'nuff said. ONCE AGAIN he's skewed the benchmarks by throwing the top of the line Intel dual core chip up against the entry level AMD chip. Nice job.

    Also, ditto on #7 and #12... way to criticize the AMD part for its price, Kris, without mentioning that the Pentium-D requires a mobo upgrade while the X2 does not.
  • semo - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    #6 that's what i'm thinking.

    plus, i thought that with dma enabled, the cpu would not have to do too much work to burn a dvd
  • atlr - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    I look forward to some database server/web server tests.
  • appu - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    Kris, great work! You might want to consider
    amaroK ( as an equivalent
    of iTunes under Linux, or even gtkpod. XMMS is
    better treated as an equivalent of Winamp 2.x.
  • Furen - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    I have one question: why was the compile job on the x2 system only run with -j1? Not trying to flame you or anything, just a wondering...
  • bob661 - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    Kristopher Kubick,
    "At $558 you pay through the nose for the additional performance of the Athlon 64 X2 4200+"

    That's the price for the P-D 840 not the X2 4200.
  • SLIM - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    I think #7 has hit the nail on the head. One other large difference in the prices besides the memory is the extra $100+ spent on a 955x motherboard or a comparable nforce4 sli intel edition (not sure if these support dual core yet though). The price difference, as has been pointed out several time before, between the intel cpus and amd cpus is just about negated once you tack on the extra cost of the MB and memory.

    You could definitely choose a 945 MB and save about $100 but I have yet to see the pentium D benched on that platform, and I don't think there is an sli platform for intel that's available for under $225.

  • GoatHerderEd - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    Ill stick with my K6-3 550 (=
  • Furen - Friday, July 1, 2005 - link

    haha, what a cool article name and icon =)

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