SYSMark 2007 Performance

Our journey starts with SYSMark 2007, the only all-encompassing performance suite in our review today. The idea here is simple: one benchmark to indicate the overall performance of your machine.

SYSMark 2007 - Overall

Let's go down the matchups shall we? The Phenom II X4 970 BE is competitive with the Core i5 750. Intel manages a 5.9% performance advantage in this comparison, but as I mentioned earlier the two chips will trade blows across much of our benchmark suite.

The Phenom II X6 1075T doesn't have a direct competitor but here it does worse than the cheaper Core i5 750. SYSMark is mostly a test of good dual-core performance and as a result Intel's turbo does more for performance here than AMD's 2-extra cores. It's a valid scenario to keep in mind as the number of applications that can stress all 6 cores are limited. Although when you're running one, there's generally no substitute for more cores.

As I mentioned in the introduction, the Phenom II X2 560 will easily lose to the Core i3 530 as the graph shows above. The same is true for the Athlon II X4 645. The chip gives you four cores at a very competitive price, but in a test that primarily stresses two cores the 645 doesn't get a chance to run.

The Athlon II X3 450 vs. Pentium G6950 matchup begins in Intel's favor, however this is the one and only time in our review that you'll see this happen.

Adobe Photoshop CS4 Performance

To measure performance under Photoshop CS4 we turn to the Retouch Artists’ Speed Test. The test does basic photo editing; there are a couple of color space conversions, many layer creations, color curve adjustment, image and canvas size adjustment, unsharp mask, and finally a gaussian blur performed on the entire image.

The whole process is timed and thanks to the use of Intel's X25-M SSD as our test bed hard drive, performance is far more predictable than back when we used to test on mechanical disks.

Time is reported in seconds and the lower numbers mean better performance. The test is multithreaded and can hit all four cores in a quad-core machine.


Adobe Photoshop CS4 - Retouch Artists Benchmark

Our Photoshop benchmark has traditionally favored Intel's architectures, which is definitely visible when you look at the Phenom II X6 1075T and Phenom II X4 970 BE above. The Athlon II X4 645 does slightly better than the Core i3 530 (effectively on-par with the 540), while the Athlon II X3 450 does noticeably better than the Pentium G6950. You can also see why I'm not really interested in the dual-core parts. They perform well, but that third core does come in handy for very little added cost.

The Lineup 3D Rendering Performance
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  • jonup - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    Part of it is probably because the older processor were tested with older mobos/BIOSes/chipsets. We can ask Anand to confirm my speculations. I just do not think that they have rerun old CPUs for this review and have used numbers from the original reviews.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    Correct, that is part of it. The earlier 8-series boards/BIOSes appear to have higher power consumption for example.

    There have also been general improvements in the manufacturing process.

    Take care,
  • jonup - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    Anand, I do not think you gave this CPU justice. It performs similarly to the Phenom x2 555 and it is at least $20 cheaper. It uses a lot less energy than the Phenom and in a office environment would be more responsive than the Athlon II X4 and X3 due to the higher clocks. I hate looking at the Task Manager, because most of the time one of my cores is loaded almost 100% and the other ones are near idle. I just think that the extra L2 and higher clocks make the Athlon II X2 265 better CPU for most of the people most of the time and the benches would never be able to display that.
  • Taft12 - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    This highlights what the real problem is for the PC industry today that they don't want you to know.

    Do you know why Anand doesn't benchmark much more common tasks like Windows 7 boot time or MS Word launch time? It's practically the same across the board on from $65 CPUs to $999 CPUs! Unless you play new games or use professional artist software, you have almost no reason to upgrade a PC that is a few years old. Power savings yes, but not enough over the life of a computer to justify spending hundreds of dollars.
  • Anand Lal Shimpi - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    Application launch time is actually reasonably CPU dependent if you've got a SSD. While I agree that common tasks don't vary in performance much between similarly clocked processors, I'd say the gap between generations is very visible. Many have said that Core 2 was fast enough but I'd argue there's a noticeable difference in just general PC usage between Lynnfield and Penryn simply because of the benefits you get from high turbo frequencies (windows pop up faster, there's a tangible reduction in response time). That gap will grow with each subsequent generation.

    The problem with these subjective performance tests is they are difficult to quantify.

    I agree that unless you have a specific application that is heavily influenced by CPU performance you don't need to upgrade every generation. But that's also why the PC upgrade cycle is typically 3 - 5 years. Original Core 2 owners will probably want to upgrade next year, while Lynnfield or AM3 owners can definitely wait.

    Take care,
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    I'm a C2D E6600 and I agree about the 3-5 years.

    My upgrade will probably come sometime between 2011Q2 and 2012Q3.

    Note: I don't typically upgrade parts unless they fail, so the mobo/cpu/gpu combo are generally the same as the initial build. Holding onto them for 5-6 years is terrific.
  • icrf - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    I've got the same CPU and was thinking of upgrading to SB or BD next year. My problem is that my old machine is still perfectly functional, I just wish it'd load SC2 or run through x264 a little quicker.

    What do you with this older perfectly functional hardware? Does anyone have any good ideas for how to re-task it? I've already got a similar spec'd HTPC along with a pre-ordered Boxee Box and an old XP2600 running the file server.
  • Pirks - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

  • vol7ron - Wednesday, September 22, 2010 - link

    I am looking at a couple options:

    1) donate it to friend or family - I still have parents and none are tech savy or willing to put money into it, so that's the most likely option

    2) keep it offline for spare parts or backup in case of disaster (laptop is probably good enough though)

    3) really look into setting up a home server, possibly get a dedicated IP and host some files for family/friends. It's not the most powerful hardware, but it's good enough for a small number of people.

    4) try to throttle down and turn it into an HTPC

    5) take all laptops and old cpus and play with Hadoop/MapReduce at home

    6) sell it

    Any other suggestions?
  • vol7ron - Tuesday, September 21, 2010 - link

    But that's also why they're beefing up the ondie gpu

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