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Raw System Performance

We start our round of benchmarks with the SANDRA suite of tests from SiSoftware. These synthetic benchmarks test the raw performance of a number of components found in a system. Newer versions of SANDRA even test multiple components at the same time in the hopes of producing results closer to real world operations. However we’re only interested in the raw numbers as a way of establishing a baseline before we go into more dynamic benchmarks.

The Processor Arithmetic benchmark produced some interesting results, which showcased the benefit of multiple cores from a standpoint of raw processing power. In both the Dhrystone instructions test and the Whetstone floating point test, the triple core AMD Phenom II 720 came in below the quad core Phenom 9850 BE and Phenom II 955. The benchmark also scales near perfectly as processor speed increases. The Phenom 9850 BE is rated at 2.5 GHZ and the Phenom II 955 is rated at 3.2GHz; a speed increase of 22%. This results in a 23% increase in Dhrystone performance and a 25% increase in Whetstone performance moving from the older to newer processor.

The Processor Multimedia test takes a 640×480 fractal image and manipulates it in different ways to emulate various multimedia tasks. This test is also multithreaded, and as we see from the results it does show a bias towards more cores and faster processors. Once again we see the scores scale nearly inline with the speed increase from the Phenom to the Phenom II. The Phenom II based Dragon platform does add a few extra percentage points onto that score, no doubt thanks in part to improved instructions on the newer Phenom II core.

Finally we test memory performance using the Memory Bandwidth benchmarks. This benchmark tests sustained memory bandwidtg, rather then burst or peak. This provides a clearer picture of expected memory perform. The test is also multithreaded, and since the memory controller is part of the Phenom core performance dependant on the processor.

With that in mind, it’s no surprise that that test results scale with the speed of the processors used for testing, and the number of cores in them. This is further reinforced by the difference in performance between our entry level Dragon platform, and the previous generation Spider platform. This conclusion is drawn from the fact that both the Spider and entry-level Dragon platforms use the same RAM.

Overall Performance

Since many say that SiSoftware Sandra isn’t a real world representation of actual system performance, we turned to PCMark Vantage to round off our suite of system benchmarks. Though still synthetic, the Futuremark team has put a lot of work into making their suites closely mimic real world operations. This does show in running PCMark Vantage.

As for the results, they weren’t as mundane as the previous SiSoftware Sandra test. The Composite score for all systems didn’t show a whole lot of difference between the quad core Phenom 9850 and the triple core Phenom II 720. The TV and Movies suite did show a little drop for the triple core CPU, and the Productivity suite showed a marked increase in performance for the triple core trooper. This processor is definitely a stubborn little part. The Phenom II 955 X4 of course blew everything out of the water.

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