The Test

CPU: AMD Athlon 64 X2 4200+ (2.2GHz/512KBx2)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ (2.0GHz/512KBx2)
AMD Athlon 64 X2 2.0GHz/1MBx2
Intel Pentium M 760 (2.0GHz/2MB)
Intel Core Duo T2500 (2.0GHz/2MB)
Motherboard: ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe
AOpen i915Ga-HFS
Unnamed 945G Yonah Motherboard
Motherboard BIOS: ASUS: Version 1013 Dated 08/10/2005
AOpen: Version 1.11 Dated 11/15/2005
Chipset: NVIDIA nForce4 SLI
Intel 915 Express
Intel 945G
Chipset Drivers: nForce4 6.66
Memory: OCZ PC3500 DDR 2-2-2-7
DDR2-533 4-4-4-12
Video Card: ATI Radeon X850 XT
NVIDIA GeForce 7800GTX
Video Drivers: ATI Catalyst
NVIDIA ForceWare 81.85
Desktop Resolution: 1280 x 1024 - 32-bit @ 60Hz
OS: Windows XP Professional SP2

While we used an NVIDIA GeForce 7800 GTX for almost all of our tests, there was one exception, thanks to a NVIDIA driver bug.  With dual core processors, NVIDIA's 81.95 drivers will cause the system to maintain 100% CPU utilization when running 3dsmax 7, even when the system is actually not doing anything at all.  We didn't discover this bug until we had already run the majority of our tests using the 7800 GTX. So, for the 3dsmax 7 tests, we switched to an ATI Radeon X850 XT.  The GPU doesn't impact CPU rendering performance at all, so it doesn't change the performance characteristics of the platform. We just wanted to point out the bug, in case any of you were wondering why your dual core platforms were behaving strangely in certain applications.  NVIDIA is aware of the problem and is working on a publicly available fix. 

For this comparison, we've kept the number of CPUs to a minimum, focusing on the Pentium M, Core Duo and Athlon 64 X2.  The exclusion of the Pentium D was on purpose; we've already compared the Core Duo to the Pentium D in our last article and to put it bluntly, the Pentium D won't really be competition for any of Intel's new architectures.  By this time next year, NetBurst will have already been forgotten and the real comparison that matters is how Core Duo stacks up to the Athlon 64 X2, whose architecture is not going the way of the dodo. 

As we mentioned earlier in this article, in addition to the X2 3800+ and 4200+, we have included benchmarks of an Athlon 64 X2 running at 2.0GHz, but with a 1MB L2 cache per core (2MB total on die).  The point of including this simulated "Athlon 64 X2 4000+" is to answer complaints that the Core Duo has a larger L2 cache than the X2 3800+ and thus isn't a true apples-to-apples comparison.  So we've now leveled the playing field even more, and actually given AMD more of an advantage - the 2.0GHz/1MB L2 Athlon 64 X2 has a larger L1 cache (128KB per core vs. 64KB per core), and of course, the X2 still has its own on die memory controller. 

With that said, let's see how things stack up now...

A Fair Pentium M Comparison Overall System Performance with Winstone 2004


View All Comments

  • mitcoes - Saturday, April 22, 2006 - link

    The msot important question about corel duo, is if dual processors Apple Machines with ATI X1900XT woul be a better machine than AMD and Pentium with one processor at same clocks. Better when core duo would arrive to 3 Mhz or nearby. Becouse hard gamers, and renderers would buy this (expending a few more bucks) and have the choice of use MAC OS, Win XP, an Linux on the same machine with opengl games probably going better in Leopard than in XP becouse of the better networking of UNIX and Linux over TCP/IP. The test of packets losed with Quake3 XP vs Leopard would be a great test, becouse probably AMD, and Pentium with same clocks and ATI would have similar preformance in games that are not prepared for two processors, but Photoshop CS2, blender And other CAD/CAM apps would run better. Perhaps The future new market of Apple machines are hard gamers, and hard users like architects, renderers, animators and so one. But it must be tested. And I want to know if MAC mainboards are better than ASUS and Gigabyte ones (or other better if them exists). Reply
  • Cygni - Wednesday, December 21, 2005 - link

    Congrat AT commenters! I have to say, this is the new HIGH SCORE for useless, incorrect, biased, self important posts in the history of AT!

    Really, i was going to respond to each one in turn, but I think its far easier just to make this one post where i point out that many, many, many of you should likely try lurking a bit instead of instantly hitting the reply button and spouting off about latencys, bus widths, and other thing your Toms Hardware Education degree has certified you an expert at. We will all be more intelligent if you didnt post.
  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    They should have used low latency DDR2-533 rather than the normal JEDEC specified 4-4-4-12 latency for their reviews. It might be faster then :)).

    Also, testing Sonoma notebooks have shown that it likes single channel DDR2-533 better than DDR2-400, like how it doesn't benefit from dual channel. I would also like to see DDR2-667 results(over dual channel DDR2-533), as few % here and there will really show Yonah's potential.
  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Yes that would be interesting, as Anantech does have Corsair DDR2-667 3-2-2-8 available in their repitoire. Reply
  • StuckMojo - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    I'd like to see compilation benchmarks. Lots of us use our laptops for software development.
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link


    At the recent Spec CPU Cint2000 test--The most fast x86 CPU about compiler is P4 670.
    176.gcc 2195/2195 ponits

    PM@2.26GHz(1995/1994) is fast than FX-55@2.6GHz(1931/1933).

  • IntelUser2000 - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    If any of you actually care to search for transistor performance of Intel's and AMD/IBM, you can see that AMD/IBM's the newest 65nm process is only 2-3% faster but Intel is providing the numbers at HALF the leakage.

    There WILL be X2 clock speed like versions of Yonah with higher TDP and being graded as EE.

    -Equal platform comparisons are never possible.
    -DDR2's power advantage isn't as great as you think.
    -We don't know if Turion would benefit at all from DDR2 in performance, the claimed 15% or so is at best case, aka single benchmark. It always happens, companies say some wonder number and in reality its even worse than the previous one.
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    The very low latency of L2 cache is the main real reason? AT may be foreget that L2 can be shared, which is different with AMD. Reply
  • Schmide - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    Correct me if I'm wrong. Doesn't the AMD architecture have a 3 cycle L1 latency due to an exclusive L1 L2 cache relationship. While Intel uses a 2 cycle L1 inclusive L1 L2 cache relationship. With the larger cache sizes now, the more costly exclusive set seems to be holding AMD back. However, this higher latency could be the reason AMD is able to reach higher speeds using a lower process.

    As for the power consumption, I wonder if the board design had anything to do with the X2 being 30% higher. Chime in here

    On die memory controller advantage AMD.
    DDR2 lower power consumption advantage Intel
    65nm process advantage Intel
    Mature SOI advantage AMD.
  • Betwon - Tuesday, December 20, 2005 - link

    You are wrong about the cache of Yonah. The mobile CPU is different with the Netburst.Yonah's L1 latency is 3 cycles, and it is a kind of write-back cache, which needs not always copy the data to L2. L2 latency is 14 cycles(AT said), which is the same with AthonX2. And Yonah's number of pipeline stages is 11,12, or 13. The AthonX2 is 12-stage. So, (Include AT)we believe that Yonah can reach the high frequency. The real reason of Yonah only max 2.16GHz -- for the moblie applications ... to control the power sum. Reply

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