Test System Setup
So, with two systems built almost to identical budgets, we'll today see which the more attractive option is. For most people the general thought would be the Intel one I think, just because when we think of Intel machines, we always think they're faster.
The thing is, that statement holds a lot of truth. When it comes to power houses, there's nothing in the AMD flock that's really able to compete with those really high end expensive CPUs like the 990X. What about people who are working on a budget, though? If you don't have $4,000 US for a system, is the AMD option something you should be looking at?
We'll figure that out today as we run some benchmarks on our machines. Before we get into the performance side of things, though, let's first look at the overclocking side of things. Like our other $599 article, we'll be testing the machine at both stock speeds and overclocked.
You can see above the speeds we ended up with. We managed to push our X4 965 from a stock clock of 3.4GHz to 4.09GHz which is a really nice overclock. As we've mentioned before, because of the way the P67 / Z68 platform works, if you haven't got a "K" series CPU you're limited by a small ceiling in BCLK.
Just like our other $599 PC article, we also overclocked the video card of choice. As you can also see in the above image, we managed to up our card to 1000MHz on the core and 4800MHz QDR on the 1GB of GDDR5 memory.
This is a strong overclock from stock and we should see some strong gains over the stock clocked setup. With everything said and done, though, let's have a look at just how our AMD based PC went.
Let's get started!
Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.
Just having a quick look at some CPU benchmarks, we can see that performance is extremely strong in the L1 cache department. In L2 and L3, though, it's not as strong.
Phenom II architecture is getting a bit on now, but I think this is where a lot of the negative performance comments come from. Is the lower L2 and L3 performance going to make a difference when we start to get into games which is exactly what we've built this PC to do? - We'll soon see.