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AMD Does DDR3 - The AM3 Phenom II

AMD Does DDR3 - The AM3 Phenom II



Test Setup

Test Setup

As usual, we had various test configurations for the processors that we'll be comparing today. For the new Phenom II models that we are reviewing, we have kept with the previous configuration for the Phenom II, since these AM3 processors will work without a hitch on the older AM2+ boards. We'll be sharing with you the performance on AM3 boards using DDR3 memory in a follow-up article.

  • MSI DKA 790GX Platinum (AMD 790GX chipset)
  • 2 x 1GB Aeneon DDR2-1066 (CAS 5-5-5-15)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (For World in Conflict and Crysis only, ForceWare 178.24)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2

For the Phenom II X4 810, AMD has targeted Intel's Q8200 (2.33GHz) quad-core CPU as its main competitor in terms of price and performance. However, we don't have this CPU in our lab hence we went with the alternatives, the faster Core 2 Quad Q9300, which is clocked at 2.5GHz and comes with a larger L2 (6MB) than the Q8200 and the aging but golden Q6600, which at 2.4GHz and with 2 x 4MB L2 cache, is quite similar to the Q8200.

Meanwhile the other CPU we received, the X3 720 'Black Edition' is intended to go against Intel's dual-core models, with the E8400 identified by AMD as the direct competitor (though we believe the E7000 series are better suited). Obviously, the X3 720 is priced accordingly in the Intel dual-core region. Hence, the test setup for these processors (Intel Q9300. Q6600 and Core 2 Duo) are listed below:-
ASUS P5E3 Deluxe (Intel X38 Express chipset)

  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (CAS 7-7-7-20), DDR3-1066 (for Q6600)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (For World in Conflict and Crysis only, ForceWare 178.24)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • Intel INF 8.3.1.1009 and Matrix Storage Manager 7.8.0.1012

Also, we have included a set of Core i7-920 results for reference and the configuration is as follows. Do note that HyperThreading and Turbo mode is enabled for the Core i7 system and it does have 3GB of DDR3-1333 memory instead of the 2GB on the other setups. The difference in memory capacity however makes little difference as established in an earlier exploration article.

  • Intel DX58SO Motherboard (Intel X58 Express chipset)
  • 3 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 (CAS 7-7-7-20) @1.62V
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Zotac GeForce GTX 260 (For World in Conflict and Crysis only, ForceWare 178.24)
  • Seagate 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
  • Intel INF 9.1.0.1007 and Matrix Storage Manager 8.6.0.1007

And finally, since we had a Phenom II X3 to look at, we have included our results from our last Phenom X3, the 8750 and the setup is:-

  • ASUS M3A32-MVP Deluxe Wi-Fi (AMD 790FX chipset)
  • 2 x 1GB Aeneon DDR2-1066@ DDR2-800 (CAS 5-5-5-15)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • ASUS GeForce 8800 GT 512MB (ForceWare 169.21)
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2

For two of our game benchmarks, World in Conflict and Crysis, we have started to move to a Zotac GeForce GTX 260 for testing. This was due to our experience when testing the Core i7, where our previous GPU, a GeForce 8800 GT appeared to be a bottleneck.

Benchmarks

The following benchmarks were used in this review:-

  • SYSmark 2007 Preview (ver 1.04)
  • SPEC CPU2000 v1.3
  • Futuremark PCMark 2005 Pro
  • Lightwave 3D 7.5
  • 3ds Max8 (SP2)
  • Cinebench 10
  • XMpeg 5.0.3 (DivX 6.8 encoding)
  • Futuremark 3DMark06 v1.1
  • AquaMark3
  • World in Conflict v1.05
  • Crysis v1.1

A note about the color coding for the benchmark graphs. We have placed the X4 810 and X3 720 against its closest competitors (we did have to replace the Q8200 with the Q9300 and Q6600). Hence, these 'groups' have distinct colors. Then we also included two sets of reference results, the Core i7 920 and Phenom II X4 920, which are in blue to distinguish them from the others.