SYSMark 2007 Performance

Our journey starts with SYSMark 2007, the only all-encompassing performance suite in our review today. The idea here is simple: one benchmark to indicate the overall performance of your machine.

SYSMark 2007 - Overall

Ok. Right out of the gate, on pre-production silicon, with a pre-production motherboard and without a super aggressive turbo-mode the 2.66GHz Lynnfield sample is able to perform just as well as the i7-920. This is just as we expected given the minimal impact of triple-channel DDR3 on i7 that we pointed out in our original review.

Curiously enough, HT doesn't seem to do anything at all for Lynnfield in this test. Remember that stressing four cores is tough enough, finding eight CPU intensive threads is even more difficult.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Performance

To measure performance under Photoshop CS4 we turn to the Retouch Artists’ Speed Test. The test does basic photo editing; there are a couple of color space conversions, many layer creations, color curve adjustment, image and canvas size adjustment, unsharp mask, and finally a gaussian blur performed on the entire image.

The whole process is timed and thanks to the use of Intel's X25-M SSD as our test bed hard drive, performance is far more predictable than back when we used to test on mechanical disks.

Time is reported in seconds and the lower numbers mean better performance. The test is multithreaded and can hit all four cores in a quad-core machine.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 - Retouch Artists Speed Test

 

DivX 8.5.3 with Xmpeg 5.0.3

Our DivX test is the same DivX / XMpeg 5.03 test we've run for the past few years now, the 1080p source file is encoded using the unconstrained DivX profile, quality/performance is set balanced at 5 and enhanced multithreading is enabled:

DivX 6.8.5 w/ Xmpeg 5.0.3 - MPEG-2 to DivX Transcode

Once more, we see very little impact from Hyper Threading; the entry level Lynnfield may not be as bad as you'd think. On top of that, the crippled Lynnfield is less than 4% slower than the Core i7-920. Enable its aggressive turbo mode and I believe we'll have a chip that can actually beat, even if only slightly, the Core i7-920.

x264 HD Video Encoding Performance

Graysky's x264 HD test uses the publicly available x264 codec (open source alternative to H.264) to encode a 4Mbps 720p MPEG-2 source. The focus here is on quality rather than speed, thus the benchmark uses a 2-pass encode and reports the average frame rate in each pass.

x264 HD Encode Benchmark - 720p MPEG-2 to x264 Transcode

The x264 encode test shows one application where Hyper Threading is important. A 2.13GHz Lynnfield with HT enabled is faster than a 2.66GHz Lynnfield with HT disabled, unfortunately the former isn't on the roadmap and the latter is what we're getting.

Without HT enabled the $196 Lynnfield 2.66GHz core is faster than every non-EE Penryn Core 2 Quad as well as AMD's Phenom II X4 955 (in the second pass of the test). The i7-920 is significantly faster thanks to having HT enabled; and now we have the perfect reason for Intel disabling HT on the "low end" Lynnfield.

x264 HD Encode Benchmark - 720p MPEG-2 to x264 Transcode

 

Windows Media Encoder 9 x64 Advanced Profile

In order to be codec agnostic we've got a Windows Media Encoder benchmark looking at the same sort of thing we've been doing in the DivX and x264 tests, but using WME instead.

Windows Media Encoder 9 x64 - Advanced Profile Transcode

Tests that don't scale well with HT enabled, once again, show no performance difference between a 2.66GHz Lynnfield and a 2.66GHz Bloomfield.

The First Lynnfield Sample 3D Rendering Performance
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  • ssj4Gogeta - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    There's always the dual-core Nehalem Clarkdale for the mainstream market. And I think they'll launch lower clock Lynnfields too, like Anand said.

    I think Intel did a good job by separating its high-end processors from the mainstream ones and launching them as a different series. So now instead of having one $1200 extreme part, we have 3 high-end parts, with the lowest priced one a very affordable option for geeks who are on a budget.
    Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Congratulations Intel, you've created a beast.

    What is AMD going to do now? I don't think they have any new cores ready for launch this year. If Lynnfield offers the same performance as i7 920 for Phenom II prices, AMD will either have to bump up their clock speeds ridiculously, or lower their prices yet again. Things aren't looking good for AMD. Lynnfield turns out to be better than I expected.


    And I HATE Intel and their tick-tock. Actually I can't decided whether to hate or like it. It's good that they're advancing our planet's technology at a really fast pace so we'll be prepared when aliens attack. But which damn processor do I buy??? They launch a new series every year, and a new stepping every few months. Which one to buy? WHEN to buy??? My parents won't buy me processors every 6 months!
    Reply
  • MadMan007 - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    You could always do what people did back in the day - upgrade when your current hardware no longer does what you need it to do. I know, crazy right!? Reply
  • Griswold - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Its only a crazy concept if daddy is paying for those upgrades all the time - you and the rest of us know its the right thing to do. :] Reply
  • Jaramin - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    Looking at AMD's roadmap, I fear this is going to hurt a lot :( If the pricing is good, it could confine AMD into the lower mainstream segment. Reply
  • Hyperion1400 - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    That remains to be seen. Don't Istanbul heading for market at around the same time as Core-i5. There has been little information leaked about Istanbul and no performance numbers have come to light. So, as of now, it is impossible to predict how competitive AMD's offerings will be. Not to mention we have Magny Cours to look forward too in 1H 2010. Reply
  • ssj4Gogeta - Friday, May 29, 2009 - link

    But Istanbul is just a 6-core Opteron. In other words, a server chip. Reply
  • Hyperion1400 - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    As was Barcelona and Shanghai. But, that didn't seem to stop them from releasing them on the main stream market. Reply
  • Spoelie - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    but costs would be too prohibitive
    PhII is already similar in die size as bloomfield, and is forced to be priced lower for competitive reasons.
    You think AMD won't be hurting if it sells an even larger die to compete with a smaller-than-bloomfield die, in a market where having more than 6 cores is questionable value at best?

    No, only thing amd can do is crank up clock speeds, try to get 3.4 and 3.6ghz models out the door
    Reply
  • Spoelie - Saturday, May 30, 2009 - link

    Oh and up the uncore clock on them as well, preferably 2.4ghz, but might make them look worse in power consumption comparisons Reply

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