Final Words

To summarize, here's a chart showing the performance improvement the Opteron offered over an identically clocked Athlon XP:

Opteron Performance Advantage over Athlon XP @ 1.80GHz
Content Creation Winstone 2003

Business Winstone 2002

Unreal Tournament 2003 (Flyby)

Unreal Tournament 2003 (Botmatch)

Quake III Arena

Jedi Knight II

Comanche 4

DivX Encoding

Windows Media 9 Encoding

3dsmax - SinglePipe

3dsmax - Underwater

3dsmax - 3dsmax5_rays

3dsmax - cballs2

3dsmax - vol_light2

Lightwave - raytrace

Lightwave - sunset

Lightwave - radiosity

27%

14%

12%

25%

45%

87%

18%

14%

19%

7%

7%

15%

6%

0%

52%

-2%

45%

|
0
|
17
|
35
|
52
|
70
|
87
|
104

Taking into account that most of our tests weren't overly sensitive to cache size increases and aren't incredibly memory bandwidth intensive, these performance figures suggest some very strong potential for the Athlon 64. If AMD can launch the Athlon 64, even at 2GHz, it could be competitive with a Pentium 4 3.0C across the board; we'll have to wait and see what will be necessary for AMD to remain competitive once Prescott hits later this year.

These numbers also speak very highly of the performance we can expect out of Opteron/nForce3 Pro systems; for the gamers without a budget, the Opteron/nForce3 may be an interesting platform to look into, although we'll leave final judgments until we actually test gaming environments with a higher performing AGP card.

The final thing to take away from this performance review is that the Opteron's SSE2 performance is respectable, it looks like AMD will finally be able to be competitive in areas that were previously Intel-dominated. There will still be some situations, such as video encoding, where the Pentium 4's architecture will continue to dominate. Remember that at the core, the Opteron is still very much a K7; no amount of cache or low latency memory accesses will change applications that simply run faster on Intel's NetBurst architecture.

With that said, we conclude our coverage of AMD's latest processor in what has turned out to be "Opteron Week." There have been talks in the lab about doing a 5th part to the series, we'll see if the moons are in proper alignment for that later. For now, we hope you enjoyed the coverage and be sure to take a look at all of our articles in the series:

- AMD's Opteron Coverage - Part 1: Intro to Opteron/K8 Architecture
- AMD's Opteron Coverage - Part 2: Enterprise Performance
- AMD's Opteron Coverage - Part 3: The First Servers Arrive

 

3D Rendering Performance - Lightwave 3D 7.5

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