Does it Improve Real World Performance?

There is a convenient convergence point between the 1066MHz FSB and the 800MHz FSB - 3.2GHz. By underclocking our 3.4EE and our 3.46EE to 3.2GHz we managed to put together a nice comparison of the impact of FSB on real world performance, independent of CPU and memory clock speed. Granted, the impact of the 1066MHz FSB will be greater at higher CPU clock speeds, but the impact at 3.2GHz should be able to tell us how much of the 3.46EE's performance advantage is due to its faster FSB.

The table below gives a good indication of the lack of performance improvement due to the 1066MHz FSB today in most applications. With an average performance increase of less than 1%, you shouldn't expect the 1066MHz FSB to do much for Intel at all.

Business/General Use
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
Business Winstone 2004
21.2
21.2
0.00%
SYSMark 2004 - Communication
136
136
0.00%
SYSMark 2004 - Document Creation
201
198
1.49%
SYSMark 2004 - Data Analysis
162
161
0.62%
Microsoft Office XP with SP-2
511
511
0.00%
Mozilla 1.4
401
405
1.00%
ACD Systems ACDSee PowerPack 5.0
593
593
0.00%
Ahead Software Nero Express 6.0.0.3
543
553
1.84%
WinZip Computing WinZip 8.1
419
431
2.86%
WinRAR
419
413
1.43%
Average Performance Increase
 
 
0.92%

Under Multitasking Content Creation applications we see that despite the nature of these applications to be more memory bandwidth intensive, the 800MHz FSB simply wasn't a limitation for the Pentium 4 Extreme Edition. Couple that with the fact that with a very large on-die L3 cache, the Extreme Edition needs to fetch data across the FSB much less frequently, it's no surprise that the biggest performance improvement in our Multitasking Content Creation tests was only 1.52%.

Multitasking Content Creation
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
Content Creation Winstone 2004
30.9
30.9
0.00%
SYSMark 2004 - 3D Creation
207
204
1.45%
SYSMark 2004 - 2D Creation
264
260
1.52%
SYSMark 2004 - Web Publication
187
185
1.07%
Multitasking: Mozilla and Windows Media Encoder
596
600
0.67%
Average Performance Increase
0.94%

There's not much to see in the Video Creation/Photo Editing tests, the 1066MHz FSB does absolutely nothing for performance here.

Video Creation/Photo Editing
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
Adobe Photoshop 7.0.1
347
347
0.00%
Adobe Premiere 6.5
533
533
0.00%
Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator 1.5
289
289
0.00%
Average Performance Increase
 
 
0.00%

In the past, DivX encoding has seen reasonable performance increases due to a faster FSB and increased memory bandwidth. With the move to the 1066MHz FSB we seem to have hit a limit, as there's absolutely no performance improvement here either. It looks like it will take much higher clock speeds for the 1066MHz FSB to make a difference.

Audio/Video Encoding
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
MusicMatch Jukebox 7.10
434
434
0.00%
DivX Encoding
49.9
49.9
0.00%
XV iD Encoding
28.7
28.5
0.70%
Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0
2.32
2.32
0.00%
Average Performance Increase
 
 
0.00%

Games have also been areas where faster FSB frequencies have benefited Intel, but once again we see that the average performance increase is less than a percent. Starwars Battlefront shows the greatest increase in performance at 2.8% due to the 1066MHz FSB.

Gaming
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
Doom 3
86.1
85.2
1.05%
Sims 2
46
46
0.00%
CS: Source
156.8
156.4
0.26%
Halo
88.4
88
0.45%
Far Cry
133.5
132
1.12%
Star Wars Battlefront
143
139
2.80%
Battlefield Vietnam
239
239
0.00%
UT2004
59
58.6
0.68%
Wolf: ET
98
96.9
1.12%
Warcraft III
60
59
1.67%
Average Performance Increase
 
 
0.91%

We weren't expecting to see much in the 3D rendering tests and the 1066MHz FSB did not disappoint with only a 0.74% average performance increase here.

3D Rendering
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
Discreet 3ds max 5.1 (DirectX)
280
282
0.71%
Discreet 3ds max 5.1 (OpenGL)
339
342
0.88%
SPECapc 3dsmax 6
1.63
1.62
0.61%
Average Performance Increase
 
 
0.74%

Our final suite of tests are the professional applications tested by SPECviewperf 8. Here we see the largest overall gains provided by the 1066MHz FSB, with performance improvements approaching 5%, and average performance improvements approaching 3%. There's very little gain in compiling performance but in the realm of 3D professional application performance the 1066MHz FSB begins to show its worth. The gains here will only get better as clock speeds increase, so maybe the 1066MHz FSB will pay off for those running demanding enough applications to require a $1000+ 3.46EE CPU.

Professional Apps
 
1066MHz FSB
800MHz FSB
Performance Improvement
SPECviewperf 8 - 3dsmax-03
15.99
15.99
0.00%
SPECviewperf 8 - catia-01
12.62
12.08
4.28%
SPECviewperf 8 - light-07
12.89
12.41
3.72%
SPECviewperf 8 - maya-01
12.66
12.32
2.69%
SPECviewperf 8 - proe-03
15.9
15.31
3.71%
SPECviewperf 8 - sw-01
12.87
12.53
2.64%
SPECviewperf 8 - ugs-04
13.71
13.1
4.45%
Visual Studio 6
16.8
16.7
0.60%
Average Performance Increase
 
 
2.76%

Does the 1066MHz FSB Improve Memory Performance? Intel D925XECV2: Intel’s Enthusiast motherboard
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  • T8000 - Thursday, November 4, 2004 - link

    The most important part of this release is the Intel 925XE chipset, that will allow much higher overclocks because of its 1066 bus support.

    This is because the 925XE will have the right divider to reach 1066 without any PCI-E overclock.

    So with a 925XE mainboard, you can run an Intel 530 CPU at 4Ghz with any PCI-E GPU you choose, because only the CPU will be overclocked and Prescott has excellent chances of reaching 4Ghz with modest water cooling or good air cooling.
    Reply
  • Odeen - Wednesday, November 3, 2004 - link

    Realtek codec on an Intel board... and here I thought Intel actually made quality motherboards, which entails Sigmatel or Soundmax onboard audio chips.

    Sigh :(
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Wednesday, November 3, 2004 - link

    Slim: You're right... my bad. I didn't read every single page. I read the couple of introductory pages, then skipped to the test configuration page, perused a few benches, and then skipped to the conclusion.

    The measured results of course are no different than I thought they would be...
    Reply
  • bob661 - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    We need to have our own review website called www.dontreleasesh!tunlessitsactuallyabetterproductthan theonebeforeit.com. Reply
  • SLIM - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    johnsonx,

    Anand did isolate the fsb as the sole variable when he DOWNclocked both chips to 3.2ghz (266 x 12 and 200 x 16) on page 3. There was a slight caveat that faster chips would benefit more from a fsb boost. And yes the faster bus increased performance by almost 1% in some tests woohoo!!!

    SLIM
    Reply
  • johnsonx - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    One thing that might've been interesting to see:

    Overclock the 3.4EE to 3.46Ghz by OC'ing the FSB to 203Mhz or 204Mhz (812 & 816 respectively). This would completely isolate the effect if the increased clock speed of the 3.46EE, showing only the increased FSB performance... at that point I suspect that the tiny performance gains would completely evaporate.

    Mind you, I'm not suggesting this would change the conclusion much, but it would put a big exclamation point to it...

    BTW, one does have to wonder why Intel bothered with this. If the 3.46EE/925XE combo is no faster than the 3.4EE/925X combo (I'm assuming the 925X=925XE @800FSB), then why go through all the trouble? Indeed, isn't it true that an 'old' 3.4EE/875 combo is faster still?

    Good grief, at least when AMD releases a new top-end chip it is actually measurably faster. Regardless of whether the rating is 'earned' or not, no one can argue that the 4000 isn't (generally) faster than the 3800, nor that the FX-55 isn't faster than any other A64.
    Reply
  • Tides - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    Some benchmarks? Hardly. AMD owns in actual games, workstation apps, and half of the other stuff. Not to mention AMD doesn't make you upgrade to ddr2, and AMD cpus are 64bit. Intel's new chips have low shelf lives while the current AMD 64's you buy will last you a lot longer.

    Performance, realiability, and long lasting.
    Reply
  • danidentity - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    IntelUser2000, you couldn't possibly be any more wrong. I will be the first to admit that AMD chips excel above Intel chips in many benchmarks.

    However:

    1. Intel is no where near dead. Calling them so is ridiculous. In Q3 of this year Intel posted revenue of 8.5 billion compared to AMD's 1.2 billion, or SEVEN times as much.

    2. AMD is NOT closing "very rapidly" in marketshare. It would appear that way from reading sites and forums like these, but it gives you a false impression. Keep in mind that the largest supplier of PCs on the planet puts Intel chips in every machine. AMD's mobile chips can't compete with the Pentium M in terms of performance and functionality.

    3. Intel is not stupid, they have some of the best engineers on the planet. If they seriously thought that AMD was going to topple them as the market leader, or even if they are predicting it, you can GUARANTEE they have something in the works to strike back. They have the means and the money.

    4. While many people don't know exactly what clockspeed is, everyone thinks it is the ultimate measure of performance. That mindset will take a LONG time to change, and by then, Intel will have something new.

    Most people out there don't even know AMD exists. Just because AMD chips beat Intel chips in some benchmarks posted on technical computer sites, don't mean they're going to topple Intel.
    Reply
  • JonahStone - Tuesday, November 2, 2004 - link

    Performance is not the only reason why somebody buys a CPU. Although 64 bit might not be available now, does not make it unimportant. Many who buy a computer will keep it for a long time. I do not want to buy a new PC in a year's time to run 64 bit apps. All reviews keep on comparing 32 bit performance and do not even mention the advantage 64 bit will bring. It does matter!!!!!!! Reply
  • IntelUser2000 - Monday, November 1, 2004 - link

    Intel is not doing bad. They are doing terrible. So terrible that you might as well call them dead. Probably will last till 2009 before they fill bankruptcy.

    To those people who say people in forums don't know anything and that there are other people stupid enough to buy Intel chips(I mean all Intel chips): Uhh, yeah, get your head straight, since AMD is closing with Intel very rapidly in marketshare, in server, desktop, and laptop, and that means that gamers actually do make a difference(albeit slowly) making other people buy computers. You think other people will buy P4's because of high clock speed? That's BS, since people who is stupid enough to buy Intel chips don't even know what clock speeds does. There are only a very few that knows computers JUST enough to say clock speed is good.
    Reply

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