AMD Athlon 64 4000+ & FX-55: A Thorough Investigationby Anand Lal Shimpi on October 19, 2004 1:04 AM EST
- Posted in
The Battle for Value: Athlon 64 3200+ vs. Pentium 4 530
In a review of processors selling for close to $1,000, it's important to look at some of the more affordable CPUs to see how they stack up against each other as well. With the introduction of the first 90nm Athlon 64 parts, AMD has been able to bring the Socket-939 Athlon 64 CPUs down below $300, making for an interesting value comparison.
Using our RealTime Pricing Engine we found that for just over $200 you could either have an Athlon 64 3200+ or a Pentium 4 530 (3GHz). While this doesn't take into account motherboard cost, 925X boards and Socket-939 boards are in the same general price ranges. You can get a Socket-939 nForce3 board for $133, and you can get an ABIT 925X board for $150.
So the question becomes, based on our plethora of benchmarks, which CPU do you buy? In order to find out, we'll break down the benchmarks by category once again.
In our Business/General Use tests, the Athlon 64 3200+ won 6 benchmarks, tied in 1 and lost 3. In the 6 benchmarks that the Athlon 64 3200+ won, its average win percentage over the Pentium 4 530 was 17.6%. In the 3 that the Pentium 4 530 won, its average win percentage was also a hefty 9.6%. Overall it would seem that the Athlon 64 3200+ is the better buy for Business/General Use, although the Pentium 4 did manage to outperform it in some tests.
In our Multitasking Content Creation tests, the Athlon 64 3200+ won 2 benchmarks and the Pentium 4 530 won 3 benchmarks. In the two benchmarks the 3200+ won, it outperformed the 530 on average by 12.8%. In the three benchmarks the 530 won, it outperformed the 3200+ by 10.2%. Although the Athlon 64 won fewer benchmarks here it won by a larger overall percentage so we'll call this one a draw.
Next up is Video Creation/Editing and Photoshop performance, where the 3200+ won 2 out of the three tests by outperforming the 520 by 22.8% on average. The Pentium 4 won one test by a margin of 2.5%. The clear winner here is AMD.
Audio/Video encoding gave the Athlon 64 two wins at an average of 11.9%, while the Pentium 4 530 had 3 wins at an average of 11.3%. Given the virtually equal performance wins with a slight difference in the number of wins, we'll call this one a slight victory for Intel.
If you're a gamer, the choice is clear, the Athlon 64 3200+ won 10 out of 10 gaming benchmarks with an average performance advantage of 13.9% over the Pentium 4 530.
In our 3dsmax 3D rendering tests, the Athlon 64 won twice while the Pentium 4 one once. However the one test the Pentium 4 won in was actually a composite of 4 separate 3dsmax tests which we also included in our results. The Athlon 64 advantage in its two wins was 7.7%, while the Pentium 4 advantage in its wins was an average of 7%. With 4 actual victories over AMD's 2, our recommendation here would be leaning more strongly towards Intel but the win is definitely not clear cut.
Finally in our workstation tests, the Athlon 64 won 7 benchmarks, the Pentium 4 won one by 1% and failed one. The performance advantage here was an average of 8.4%, giving the advantage to AMD.
In the end, here's our scorecard for the Athlon 64 3200+ vs. Pentium 4 530:
Business/General Use - Athlon 64 3200+
Multitasking Content Creation - Tie
Video Creation/Editing and Photoshop - Athlon 64 3200+
Audio/Video Encoding - Pentium 4 530
Gaming - Athlon 64 3200+
3D Rendering with 3dsmax - Pentium 4 530
Workstation Performance - Athlon 64 3200+
Depending on your usage our recommendation may vary, but the best overall performer at the $200 price point appears to be the Athlon 64 3200+.