AMD's Athlon XP 2100+ The Last of the Palominosby Anand Lal Shimpi on March 13, 2002 12:47 AM EST
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With this review we also use SYSMark 2002 for the first time in a CPU review. SYSMark 2002 can be considered to be a much more memory bandwidth intensive version of the Winstone tests. The benchmark is split into two parts, Internet Content Creation which deals with content creation applications (Photoshop, Dreamweaver, etc...) and Office Productivity which is more general usage oriented (Word, Excel, Netscape, Anti-Virus, etc...).
The 2002 update changes things around a bit; first of all the benchmark's total scores are arrived at differently than in the 2001 benchmark. Windows Media Encoder no longer accounts for close to half of the Internet Content Creation test, rather only about 10%. There is also no need for a special Athlon XP SSE patch as the 2002 suite uses a version of the encoding dll that properly detects SSE support on all Palomino cores as well as Pentium 4 cores.
The rest of the benchmark is much more evenly distributed and it is much more memory bandwidth intensive than the old benchmark. The Internet Content Creation tests on average use about 600MB/s of bandwidth vs 300MB in SYSMark 2001. The Office Productivity tests are still stuck at around 580MB/s of memory bandwidth.
For more information on the tests and the applications used consult this whitepaper provided by BAPCo.
Content Creation Performance
Internet Content Creation SYSMark 2002
Now that the ICC test suite is much more memory bandwidth intensive it's much more sensitive to larger caches. This gives the Northwood a significant advantage over even the Pentium 4 in this test.
The Athlon XP 2100+ does relatively well as it's outperformed by the Pentium 4 2.0GHz by only a 6.6% margin. The Northwoods with their additional cache are much more difficult to beat however as they both score over 16% more than Pentium 4 2.0GHz.
The CPU scaling graph under Internet Content Creation SYSMark 2002 is completely different than what we saw under CCWS2K. As the clock frequency increases the Pentium 4's performance curve begins to separate from the Athlon XP, the use of the Northwood core separates the performance curves even more.