Gaming Performance using Quake 4, Battlefield 2 & Half-Life 2 Episode 1

Our gaming performance analysis starts out with Quake 4 running at 1600 x 1200 with High Quality visual settings. We used version 1.2 of Quake 4 and SMP was enabled:

Gaming Performance - Quake 4

Once we shift over to gaming performance, the differences between all of the tested systems are greatly diminished. Enabling 4xAA would further reduce the difference, to the point where most of the systems would be about equal. This does not change the fact that the Core 2 Duo chips are able to outperform their AMD counterparts in terms of raw performance, so once faster graphics cards become available we should see the processors begin to differentiate themselves more. Of course, by then we might also have games that are more demanding of the GPU.

Looking specifically at Quake 4 performance -- and remember that this is one of the few games that can truly take advantage of multiple processor cores -- the Core 2 processors continue to outperform their AMD counterparts, but only by a small margin. The overall spread between the X6800 and the X2 3800+ is 35%, which is certainly noticeable, but with frame rates that are all averaging over ~120 FPS Quake 4 is clearly going to run well on all of the tested systems. We had hoped to include Prey performance as well, so that we could see how an updated Quake 4/Doom 3 engine game performs, but we ran into benchmarking issues that we are currently investigating.

Next up we've got the recently released Half Life 2: Episode 1, running at default quality settings (auto detected with a pair of X1900 XTs installed) with the exception of AA and aniso being disabled. As with all of our gaming tests in this article we tested at 1600 x 1200:

Gaming Performance - Half-Life 2: Episode One

In Half-Life 2: Episode One, the Performance spread is 41%. At the top end of the spectrum, we're beginning to become GPU limited even without antialiasing enabled. Valve's Source engine clearly likes the Core 2 architecture, as even without overclocking the E6300 and E6400 clearly perform better than their similarly priced AMD counterparts.

Gaming Performance - Battlefield 2

Battlefield 2 is a game that has consistently demonstrated it is more CPU limited than GPU limited, especially with high-end graphics solutions. Here the spread between the processors is 58%, and the E6300/E6400 without overclocking are faster than everything from AMD except for the FX-62. At the top end of the spectrum, we finally begin to reach the limitations of our GPUs, with the top four systems all performing within 3% of each other.

Encoding Performance using DivX 6.1, WME9, Quicktime (H.264) & iTunes Gaming Performance using F.E.A.R. & Rise of Legends
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  • bob661 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I wonder if motherboard prices fore the Conroe's will go down once Nvidia and ATI start making chipsets for those CPU's. Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    I'm sure they will, and I will myself switch to Conroe when prices drop enough.

    For now though, there seem to be many questions left unanswered: how much these chips actually overclock (seems both that low-end parts do not overclock nearly as well as high-end, which is very different from X2s, and it also seems that not everyone is matching AT's overclock results), how expensive of a motherboard you need to get a good overclock (seems like a very expensive one, very different from X2s once again, where a cheap DFI Infinity or ePox motherboard overclocks basically as well as an expensive ASUS), and my above point of whether or not Conroe is actually faster dollar for dollar at the X2 5000+ level and below (I suspect it isn't). These articles need to be adressing these above points, rather than pointing out what we already understand - yes Conroe is faster clock for clock.

    Anandtech is doing something very dangerous by putting certain chips together in people's minds. The X2 3800+ and E6300 are NOT competitors, the AMD part is probably $150 cheaper after motherboard purchase. But since AT is placing ideas in people's heads about the Intel part being so much faster, when Conroe is available for purchase and the very possible price-gouging takes place, people are still going to buy them thanks to sloppy reporting, since they are now convinced that Conroe destroys AMD's equivilent chips by such a large degree, and therefore paying $250 for a E6300 must still be a good choice. If AT were instead comparing the E6300 to a X2 5000+, buyers would see the true performance difference, and then be able to figure out that if the Intel part is at all above MSRP it isn't a good deal with these motherboard prices.
    Reply
  • dev0lution - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    quote:

    The X2 3800+ and E6300 are NOT competitors, the AMD part is probably $150 cheaper after motherboard purchase. But since AT is placing ideas in people's heads about the Intel part being so much faster, when Conroe is available for purchase and the very possible price-gouging takes place, people are still going to buy them thanks to sloppy reporting, since they are now convinced that Conroe destroys AMD's equivilent chips by such a large degree, and therefore paying $250 for a E6300 must still be a good choice. If AT were instead comparing the E6300 to a X2 5000+, buyers would see the true performance difference, and then be able to figure out that if the Intel part is at all above MSRP it isn't a good deal with these motherboard prices.


    Again, where are you getting that? It's an AM2 AMD vs Conroe comparison, so again, you're point about motherboard cost isn't as relevant as you make it out to be. Granted, you'll pay more this week for a Conroe-capable motherboard and the E6300 is still approximately $31 more but it's not the dramatic price gap that would elevate the 5000+ parts to be equivalent.

    It would have been nice to see a 939 vs. Conroe comparison, but even that's not apples to apples since the 4800+ is rated at 110w on AMD's site vs. 65w for the Conroes. Personally, sitting in a heatwave I'm beginning to appreciate how much a s939 4000+ throws off.
    Reply
  • dev0lution - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    And check the article again Mr. Attention-to-detail. An E6300 isn't $250, it's $183. Guess you skipped that part once you started foaming at the mouth.... Reply
  • Sunrise089 - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Please read more carefully. I was talking about buying a post price-gouging E6300, and therefore making up a higher price it might go for. I think it was quite clear. Reply
  • theteamaqua - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    meh no where near extreme

    ES5 stepping B1 (retail is stepping6 , B2) can go much higher

    E6400 : 8x480
    E6300: 7x500

    this is weak OCing
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, July 26, 2006 - link

    Everyone knows AMD processors have always been, and will always be, far superior to the crap from Intel. Any article suggesting otherwise is clear evidence of pro-Intel bias, that indeed you all get weekly checks from Intel for the favorable press. The reality is that most Intel processors really don't even work at all; all the supposed PC's sold with Intel processors secretly use AMD processors instead, but again Intel pays off the companies to say they're Intel Inside. Intel has an endless supply of money because of their unfair business practices and the Magic Money Fairy.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    hey, also, why did y'all mod me down to zero on that? come on, it was funny! at least a little funny? worth a chuckle for everyone but coldpower?
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    I daresay I got quite a laugh out of coldpower's response(s) to my little attempt at satire.
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Friday, July 28, 2006 - link

    by the way, coldpower, I didn't include the silly /sarcasm tag because I thought it would be far less funny (just plain stupid even) if I did. The idea was to start off sounding rather fanboy-ish but potentially serious, head towards the deep-end, and then go completely into tin-foil-hat territory. I was actually going to make it far longer and more complicated, probably tie in to the Masons somehow, but I had other things to do so I just wound it up quick with the 'Magic Money Fairy' bit.

    Surely I thought anyone I got on the hook would have wiggled off around the time I claimed that most 'Intel-Inside' PC's actually had AMD chips in them...
    Reply

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