AMD Athlon "Thunderbird" 1.33GHz/1.30GHzby Anand Lal Shimpi on March 22, 2001 4:52 AM EST
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SYSMark 2000 goes about benchmarking in a different manner than the two previous Winstone tests. Instead of multitasking between various business or content creation applications, SYSMark simply runs one application at a time but features a wide variety of programs.
Although a few programs that compose the suite are particularly memory bandwidth intensive, the same cannot be said about the whole. For this reason, combined with the fact that there is no multitasking, the AMD760’s DDR SDRAM does not offer any incredible performance advantages here. As we discovered in our KT133A review, the Athlon isn’t as memory bandwidth hungry of a processor as the Pentium 4 is, so DDR isn’t given much of a chance to succeed here at all.
Even the regular Pentium III at 1GHz is fine for this type of usage. If you don’t find yourself running more than a single application at once, you don’t need to have a blazingly fast machine, even a regular Pentium III will do.
Here is where things get interesting. We just finished looking at a benchmark that 1) wasn’t memory bandwidth intensive as a whole, 2) ran a single application at a time and 3) resulted in a recommendation for a regular Pentium III for most users.
Taking a look at Benchmark Studio’s performance figures, the picture changes considerably. Remember that Benchmark Studio is more of an IT/Power User’s benchmark, there is quite a bit of multitasking going on, and while no particularly strenuous tasks are taking place (e.g. no 3D rendering, code compiling, etc…), the systems are quickly brought to their knees by simulating various types of load from accessing databases, watching videos and even checking email all while running normal office applications and browsing the web.
The first thing you’ll notice is that the Pentium III is just too slow for this benchmark which is a complete reversal from what we saw in SYSMark (it just goes to show you that there’s no one perfect processor for everyone’s needs, although some come very close). The Pentium III is crippled here by the lowest bandwidth FSB out of the bunch, and a 6-year-old architecture behind it. The Pentium III’s days are numbered and it isn’t shocking that Intel will stop manufacturing Pentium III processors after this year is over with. It’s time to jump on a faster bus guys.
When comparing the Athlon 1.33GHz processor on a KT133A platform to a Pentium 4 1.5GHz, the competition is fierce and very close. It is so close in fact that you can pretty much say that the two are on par with one another.
However when you throw the AMD760 platform into the fray, the 1.33GHz processor pulls a fair distance away from the competition, even that of its identical twin on the KT133A test bed.
The performance advantage here is actually quite largely in favor of the AMD760 platform and its DDR SDRAM, which is something that we haven’t seen too much of. In fact, the 1.33GHz Athlon on the AMD760 with PC2100 DDR SDRAM is able to complete the tests in approximately 80% of the time of the same CPU on the KT133A platform. Giving it a 20% performance advantage due to the platform/memory bus.
We’ve already explained the reasons, this is a particularly high memory bandwidth benchmark and it does happen to be how many power users conduct business on their computers, although a tad on the extreme side with this particular test featuring over 13 stress modules up and running.