Athlon II X2 benchmarks
A few weeks ago we acquired a lot of Athlon II processors with C3 core revision. Although we posted pictures and individual benchmarks on Athlon II CPU pages, and added the results to our benchmark database more than a week ago, we decided to provide benchmarks in more readable format, i.e. as a review. Since I'm not a big fun of writing long articles with a lot of redundant and boring comments about benchmarks, I'm going to split the review into three parts - one for each reviewed Athlon II family, and then put just enough boring comments into each part.
Our first mini-review is about dual-core Athlon II family, or the cheapest line of K10-based processors. Of course, Sempron 140 CPU is twice cheaper than Athlon II, but we can't call it "a line of processors" with just one CPU in family. I'm not going to write long introduction to Athlon II X2 family because we already have it written on our CPU pages, and I'd rather refer you to those pages. Athlon II X2 family is built on enhanced K10 micro-architecture, and for micro-architecture details please see K10 microarchitecture page. For description of the family itself and for a list of all available and upcoming processors in the family please see Athlon II X2 family page.
Now some details about tested processors and our test environment. Athlon II CPUs are priced below $100, so I tried to select Intel processors in the same price range - Intel Pentium and Celeron families. I also added a few $100+ CPUs, such as Core i3-530 and Core 2 Duo, so we could see how well or poor budget models perform in comparison with more expensive parts. Current prices for tested processors are listed below:
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400 - $113
As a quick reference, I compiled features of tested processors in the table below. For more detailed characteristics please click on the processor name in the left column of the table:
"IMC" in the table above stands for Integrated Memory Controller. Processors with IMC have separate data busses to memory and to peripheral devices.
The tests were performed on:
All systems used 32-bit Windows XP, and had exactly the same type of hard disk drive and video card. We tried to eliminate meaningless numbers in our benchmarks, therefore all results are provided as a percentage, that represent relative performance of tested processor to performance of Athlon II X2 255 with C3 core revision.
Sandra Dhrystone (MIPS)
Let's start from pure integer synthetic benchmark, such as Sandra Dhrystone. I used older version of the Sandra software for testing - that was necessary as all results go into out benchmark database, and, for comparisons to be valid, we have to use the same version of software as we used when tested older processors. This version of SiSoft Sandra scales well with the number of cores and processor frequency, and is not affected much by the size of L2 and L3 caches. Intel Pentium processors are far ahead of Athlon IIs in this test - by up to 20%. Even Celeron E3400 beats the fastest Athlon II 255 in this test.
MySQL - selecting data
The next test also measures integer performance, while taking into account memory performance and the size of microprocessor caches. In this test we run many client processes (one per logical processor), which connect to a MySQL database and execute a series of SELECT statements. The resulting number is a number of SELECT transactions per second. Pentiums in this benchmark are still ahead of Phenom IIs and Athlon IIs, but not as much as in the previous test.
Apache web server - static pages
Apache web server test is yet another integer and memory benchmark. To get the results, we open 64 simultaneous connections to Apache web server, and fetch the same static page as many times as possible during predefined time interval. The test has greater error margin than other tests in our suite, this is why you'll see that Athlon II 250 has lower performance that model 245. Since the Apache server does minimal data processing, and most time is spent moving data from the server through system's buffers to our client processes, the test is very dependent on memory bandwidth performance. Processors with better memory bandwidth, like Pentium G6950, have clear advantage over other CPUs.
7Zip and WinRAR compressing/decompressing benchmarks
Other two tests, that are very dependent on memory and integer performance, are 7Zip and WinRAR compressing/decompressing tests. Both tests scale very well with the numbers of cores and processor frequency. As you can see from the results of 7Zip test, Athlon II 255 performs close to Phenom II 550, even though the Phenom II adds 6 MB level 3 cache. L2 cache access on Athlon II processors, and on Phenom IIs too, is faster than the L3 cache access due to lower latency of L2 cache. In the 7Zip test, extra 1 MB of faster L2 cache on the Athlon II 255 compensates for the lack of large, but slow L3 cache.
One note about this test. The version of 7Zip, that we used for testing, has two defects. First, it doesn't support triple-core processors, therefore Athlon II X3 440 performs at the same level as dual-core Athlon II processors. Second, the 7Zip runs slower when a CPU has HyperThreading enabled. For this reason the Core i5-530 processor with HT feature takes the last place in this benchmark. I included the test results in the review because both defects do not affect test results of remaining microprocessors.
WinRAR benchmark is similar to the 7Zip test with the exception that WinRAR supports Hyper-Threading and triple-core processors. As expected, the Core i5-530 and triple core 440 are the top performers in this test, the rest of processors is positioned in the same order as with the 7Zip benchmark - with Athlon II / Phenom II processors taking the lead over Intel counterparts.
AMD Athlon II X2 215
AMD Athlon II X2 240
AMD Athlon II X2 245
AMD Athlon II X2 245
AMD Athlon II X2 250
AMD Athlon II X2 250
AMD Athlon II X2 255
AMD Athlon II X2 255
AMD Athlon II X3 440
AMD Phenom II X2 550
AMD Phenom II X2 555
Intel Celeron E3400
Intel Core 2 Duo E7400
Intel Core I3-530
Intel Pentium E6500
Intel Pentium E6600
Intel Pentium G6950