AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 & 3800+: Socket 939 Has Arrived
Wolfenstein: ET & Comanche 4
To start our in-game testing, we ran through a batch of time demos with the OpenGL game Wolfenstein: Enemy Territory. Wolfenstein: ET is a free, standalone multiplayer game that is based on the original Return to Castle Wolfenstein, that was released a few years back. It uses a heavily modified version of the Quake 3 engine which makes it a very easy to use benchmarking tool. We ran the test using the "Fastest" setting at a low resolution of 640X480, using 16-bit color and textures. Running this test with a high-end graphics card, at these minimal settings, isolates processor and memory performance, without being limited by the graphics subsystem.
Although the performance difference isn't dramatic, with less than 4.5% separating AMD's and Intel's currently flagship CPUs, the FX-53s and 3800+ did finish at the head of the pack, once again. If we discount the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition, which is currently selling at a much higher price than the FX-53, AMD's performance in our custom Wolfenstein: ET benchmark becomes much more dominant.
We continued our testing with another DirectX game, Novalogic's combat helicopter simulation, Comanche 4. Despite the fact that this is a game benchmark that can be used to test the relative performance of video cards, frame rates are strongly influenced by processor speed and available memory bandwidth, especially at low resolutions with sound disabled. This is how we ran the tests to get the frame rates listed below.
The 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition performed very well in the Comanche 4 benchmark, but the Socket 939 Athlon 64 FX-53 stole the show. At 78.83 FPS, the FX-53 posted the fastest non-overclocked score we have seen in this benchmark, to date. The Athlon 64 3800+ finished in third, just behind the P4 EE, followed by the rest of the Athlons, while the remaining Pentium 4s, especially the Prescotts, fell behind.