The Benchmark Issue

Although we mentioned that there’s not much you can do to make a timedemo really favor one CPU architecture over another, you all demanded that we try with one of our demos.  We put our Quake 4 demo file on a USB drive and copied it over to the Conroe and Athlon 64 FX-60 systems that Intel had setup.  Note that the version of Quake 4 installed was which is newer than what we test with in our CPU reviews, so you can’t directly compare the numbers to previous AnandTech results but at least we’d be able to see if Intel’s Quake 4 demo was somehow giving Conroe the unfair advantage. 

We re-ran Intel’s Quake 4 demo to confirm our initial results.  Much to our surprise, we actually short-changed Intel the first time around. We noted that Conroe held a 28% performance advantage over the 2.8GHz Athlon 64 FX-60 with SMP disabled, but with it enabled the performance advantage shrunk to 15%.  We re-tested and confirmed our suspicions that Conroe’s Quake 4 performance with SMP enabled was more in line at a 24% advantage:

Quake 4 - r_useSMP=0

Quake 4 - r_useSMP=1

But what we’re really interested in is how Conroe performed in the very same Quake 4 demo that has been favoring AMD processors in all of our CPU reviews.  We loaded up our Quake 4 demo and had at it:

Quake 4 - AnandTech Demo - r_useSMP=0

Quake 4 - AnandTech Demo - r_useSMP=1

With SMP enabled we see that Conroe holds an even larger 31% performance advantage and with it disabled, the unreleased CPU was 29% faster.  If anything, Intel’s own demo was a little more conservative on Conroe and definitely not optimized to make AMD look bad. 

The BIOS Issue The F.E.A.R. Issue


View All Comments

  • Shintai - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    So to summon up with updated benchies, bios etc.

    Conroe 2.67Ghz beats the 2.8Ghz FX with:

    Quake(intel demo) Single 22.4%
    Quake(intel demo) SMP 24.8%
    Quake(Anand demo) Single 28.7%
    Quake(Anand demo) SMP 30.9%

    FEAR - min 25.4%
    FEAR - max 18.8%
    FEAR - avg 19.6%

    WMV9 12%
    DiVX 6.1 29.5%
    iTunes 9.7%

    UT2004 and HL2 in the 20 - 30% faster range aswell on Conroe according to Anand. But if Intel was mean, they bench this FX with a 3.33Ghz Conroe XE or a 3.0Ghz Woodcrest.

    And funny to see Intels dualcore implementation scales better than AMDs.

    530$ to get that much more performance than a 1000$ FX chip.
    Hell, even the 420$ and maybe 295$ chip is faster.

    Both Conroe and AM2 gets DDR-2 800 at retail.
  • dysonlu - Sunday, March 12, 2006 - link

    "530$ to get that much more performance than a 1000$ FX chip.
    Hell, even the 420$ and maybe 295$ chip is faster."

    So, where can I order this amazing 530$ CPU?

    It gets on my nerve to see people comparing prices between a computer part that's 6 months away from shipment and one that's shipping now.
  • Chadder007 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the update....just shows us that Intel wasn't fooling around.
    Even after the BIOS update, the Conroe pounds the fool out of the FX-60. Also I doubt any other changes can help with the AMD performance either, even a chipset upgrade.
  • plus - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    So the Conroe is 20% faster. Decent result. Of course, the FX60 is on the 90NM process... will be interesting to see what 65NM process brings to the FX series... AMD is due to have that out about the time Conroe is released.

    Intel always seems to compare best to AMD when they are one shrink ahead. Tells a lot about the strength of the Athlon core.

    I didn't see in the article if the Conroe is 64 bit. I've been running winXP64pro since Steam began auto-detecting 64bit capacity... It does seem to run smoother.

  • Eris23007 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    Furthermore, to add on to the last post in this reply chain, Intel has already announced a transition to 45nm in 2007 - not long after AMD will have their first 65nm chips.

    I've been predicting this for a while: AMD has been doing some excellent architectural work, but a good CPU is more than just architecture: the CMOS manufacturing process guys are of equal, if not greater importance. This is also where Intel has their biggest advantage: their CMOS manufacturing excellence is simply unparalleled both in quality and quantity. Say what you will about their architectural choices, but when is the last time you remember Intel failing to pull of a process shrink transition?
  • coldpower27 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    AMD 65nm products isn't due till 1st Half of 2007. It's also AMD own fault that they are 3-4 Quarters behind Intel typically on process transistions. So hence Intel has 65nm products to show sooner then AMD can. Hence comparisons to AMD's 90nm products are legitimate.

    Intel's Core Micro-architecture have EM64T by default. This is obvious, you actually think Intel won't include such a thing when basically the bulk of shipping Pentium 4's and Celeron D have it now.

    You have to remember the FX 60 was overclocked to 2.8GHZ and the Conroe @ 2.66GHZ beat it by 20% on average, what happens when you use the Conroe XE 3.0GHZ+/1333FSB edition agains the Athlon FX.
  • spinportal - Wednesday, March 22, 2006 - link

    Actually the Pentium D and Xeon lines have EMT64, the Yonah - DuoCore processors do not.
    So we need real price points, with a comparable 939 NF4 AMD rig on XP64 or Vista-64 Beta2.
    But where is the 64-bit push? All hoopla and not worth the aggravation of adoption?
  • anandtechrocks - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    20% from a CPU alone is a decent result? When is the last time you have gotten 20% performance increase from a new processor? I think the results are amazing, expecially this early in the game. Reply
  • porkster - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    How well does the amazing Conroe overclock? Were you allow to test that? Reply
  • Nighteye2 - Thursday, March 09, 2006 - link

    The EE conroe will of course perform a bit better with higher clock speeds, but with the bus limiting it and only so much cache to try to circumvent that I don't expect conroe to scale very well. I'd also like to see 64-bit performance, as the bigger instructions will reduce the advantage of the large cache.

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