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Sharky Extreme : CPU Reviews & Articles April 4, 2009

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    AMD Phenom 9900 Performance Preview
    By Vince Freeman :  December 24, 2007

    SiSoft SANDRA XII 2008 Bandwidth Performance

    SiSoft SANDRA XII 2008 is a very popular system benchmark, and each revision sticks to its roots and supplies a wide range of individual benchmarks and system utilities. These tests include processor, system, network, and hard drive benchmarks, along with many other performance metrics. The memory bandwidth test is the most popular section of the SiSoft SANDRA benchmark suite, and it highlights the potential performance levels of the CPU-memory subsystem. As the Integer and FPU memory bandwidth scores are quite similar, we are only including the first one in our benchmark testing.

    To say that the AMD Phenom produced underwhelming scores in the first round of SANDRA XII 2008 memory testing would be a gross understatement. The Phenom barely competed with the Core 2 Quad, and dropped well below the results of the Athlon 64 X2. The new design was called into question, as was the Phenom's integrated memory controller. To get an idea of how bad the Phenom did initially, here's a chart outlining the memory bandwidth scores, which is scary to say the least.

    Now it turns out that the AMD Phenom architecture does not perform well with the specific test used with SANDRA XII 2008. SiSoft has just updated their benchmark to SP1, making it fully Phenom-compliant. The results are staggering. Where the Phenom was initially the whipping boy, now it shoots out well ahead of the competition, giving a nice quad core boost to even the Athlon 64 X2 scores.

    * Please note that we retested the Phenom with the SP1 update, but the memory bandwidth benchmark was the only one that showed any real improvement.

    The SiSoft SANDRA XII 2008 Cache & Memory benchmark goes well beyond memory performance, and measures the bandwidth of the combined processor cache and memory subsystem. This test can show off the architectural advantages of each processor, as well as the benefits of larger and faster L1/L2 data caches, and help give us an overall view of how the processor and memory match up in high-speed data transfers.

    The Phenom 9900 acquits itself very well in the Cache & Memory benchmark, which has long been a mainstay of the Core 2 Quad. Here, the Phenom 9900 may not take the performance crown, but its sheer proximity to the Core 2 Quad Q6600 is almost a victory in itself.

    Unfortunately, the SANDRA 2008 XII SP1 update did nothing to change the low scores of the Phenom processor in the SANDRA multi-core benchmarking. This tests the inter-core bandwidth, processor affinity and latency of today's top-end CPUs, and until told otherwise, we are taking these with a huge grain of salt. The Phenom is a true quad core design, and should absolutely shine in a test like this, or at the very least, show a significant gain over the Athlon 64 X2.

    The AMD Phenom does fare much better in the inter-core latency test, where even the Phenom 9500 outpaces the Core 2 Quad Q6600.

    Page 1 The Phenom 9900 Processor
    Page 2 Test Setup and Benchmark Software
    Page 3 PCMark05 Pro Performance
  • Page 4 SiSoft SANDRA XII Memory and Multi-Core Performance
    Page 5 Everest Ultimate Edition 4.2 Performance
    Page 6 CINEBENCH 9.5/10 and WinRAR Performance
    Page 7 MPEG-2, DivX, WMV, and High-Def Video Encoding Performance
    Page 8 3DMark06 Pro, DOOM 3 and FarCry Performance
    Page 9 Quake 4, Prey and Splinter Cell: CT Performance
    Page 10 Company of Heroes, F.E.A.R. and Supreme Commander Performance
    Page 11 Benchmark Analysis and System Power Consumption
    Page 12 Value and Conclusion

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