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Test Systems And Benchmarks

Phenom II X2 555 Vs. Pentium G6950: The Rematch
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We used two test systems that share the same type of hard drive, CPU cooler, and memory in order to minimize the variables affecting performance. We also include results from a previously-tested Core i5-750 for reference, but only for application benchmarks, as the game benchmarks are affected by the newer graphic drivers.

To keep the CPUs running cool enough, we need aftermarket cooling capable of outperforming each company's stock cooler, yet cheap enough to apply to budget overclocking systems like the ones we're building. It doesn't make sense to put a $50 cooler on a $100 CPU, as the resulting cost would approach the price of the retail Core i5-750.

Once again, we chose Cooler Master's TX3. While it's not the most effective or quiet cooler out there, the TX3 does a much better job than a stock heatsink/fan combination, and the $20 price tag makes it an ideal fit for these budget CPUs. The Hyper TX3 works on both Socket AM3 and LGA 1156 interfaces, which makes for an ideal comparison in this case.

Now for the motherboards. For the AMD system, we chose Asus's M4A785TD-V EVO, a solid platform built around the 785G chipset that proved its memory support and overclocking prowess in our AMD 785G motherboard roundup. At $100 online, it is a fantastic low-cost AMD overclocking board.

Choosing a board for the Intel system is a little more complicated. The P55 chipset is our first choice, but most overclock-friendly P55 motherboards are a little more expensive, and we want to keep the budget low for this comparison. Since the Gigabyte H55M-USB3 performed very well in fellow editor Thomas Soderstrom's budget H55 chipset roundup, we'll take a leap of faith and give Gigabyte's H55M-UD2H a try. This board costs just under $90 online ($10 cheaper than our AMD board). On a side note, it's not often that the cost of an Intel CPU and motherboard is lower than a comparable AMD setup, but the LGA 1156 motherboard and CPU combo have a $10 advantage in this review.


Intel Test System
AMD Test System
CPU

Intel Pentium G6950 2.8 GHz (Clarkdale)
Dual-core, 3MB L3 Cache, 133 MHz reference clock, 2,000 MHz QPI
Overclocked:
4.3 GHz, 205 MHz reference clock, 2,870 MHz QPI

AMD Phenom II X2 555 (Callisto),
3.2 GHz, 2,000 MHz HT Link, 6MB L3 Cache
Overclocked:
213 MHz HT Ref, 2,139 MHz HT Link/Northbridge
Dual-core: 4.065 GHz, Quad-core: 3.8 GHz

Motherboard

Gigabyte H55M-UD2H LGA 1156
Chipset: Intel H55, BIOSF8

Asus M4A785TD-V EVO Socket AM3
Chipset: AMD 785G, BIOS 0410

Networking
Onboard Gigabit LAN controller
Memory

Mushkin PC3-10700
  2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1066, CL 7-8-8-8-24-1T
Overclocked:
DDR3-1230, CL 8-8-8-8-24-1T

Mushkin PC3-10700
  2 x 2,048MB, DDR3-1333, CL 9-9-9-24-1T
Overclocked:
DDR3-1420, CL 9-9-9-24-1T

Graphics

Saphire Radeon HD 5850
725 MHz GPU, 1GB GDDR5 at 1,000 MHz

Hard Drive

Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB
7,200 RPM, 32MB Cache, SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Power

Corsair CMPSU-750HX 750W
ATX12V, EPS12V , 80-Plus Certified

Software and Drivers
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 7 x64
DirectX versionDirectX 11
Graphics Drivers

ATI Catalyst 10.3

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
High Quality, No AA
Fallout 3Patch 1.7, Saved Game "Capital Wasteland" (60 sec)
Highest Details, No AA, No AF
Far Cry 2Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark
Ultra High Quality, No AA
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.XPatch 1.02, DirectX 10.1, in-game benchmark
Highest Settings, No AA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunes 8Version: 8.2.1.6 (x64)
Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Lame MP3Version: 3.98.2, wave to MP3
Audio CD "Terminator II" SE, 53 min
wave to MP3
TMPGEnc 4.0 ExpressVersion: 4.7.3.292
Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX 6.8.5Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1
Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1
MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS4 (64-bit)Version: 11.0 Extended, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
WinZip 12Version 12.1, WinZip Command Line Version 3.0
Compression = Best, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.01, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.00, System, Memory, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks, Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra 2009 SP4aVersion 2009.9.15.130, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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