Overall System performance and Gaming
Here is where we dig out the FutureMark tests.
For overall system performance we use PCMark Vantage, this is run in both x86 and x64 mode to give the best indication of performance.
In synthetic system tests we see that the AMD Athlon II isn't hampered by its lack of L3 cache. It is slower than the 955 at stock, but that's due to a slower clock speed. When we overclock the Athlon II, it stomps on the Phenom II.
For synthetic gaming tests we used the industry standard and overclockers bragging tool 3DMark Vantage. This is a test that strives to mimic the impact modern games have on a system. FutureMark went a long way to change from the early days of graphics driven tests to a broader approach including physics, AI, and more advanced graphics simulations. 3DMark Vantage uses the DX10 API in addition to having support for PhysX. Due to the PhysX support and our use of an nVidia GPU we run with PhysX enabled and disabled to give you the best indication of real system performance. For testing we use the Performance test run.
This is where we start to see things kick into a higher gear. The CPU score at stock for the Athlon II isn't as impressive as the Phenom II, however overclocking really put this to bed.
Cinebench R10 x64
Cinebench is a synthetic rendering tool developed by Maxon. Maxon is the same company that developed Cinema4D another industry leading 3D Animation application. Cinebench R10 tests your systems ability to render across a single and multiple CPU cores. It also tests your systems ability to process OpenGL information.
This is where we started to see the Athlon II loose a bit of ground to the Phenom II; L3 cache got used a bit here. When we overclocked, the Phenom II closed in right behind the Athlon II.