We couldn't possibly call our performance testing of the Athlon XP 2200+ complete, without a healthy dose of gaming benchmarks. We ran three different tests to demonstrate the new Athlon's gaming prowess, MadOnion's 3DMark 2002SE, Novalogic's Comanche 4 and Quake 3 Arena.
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| Gaming Benchmarks and Comparisons |
| MadOnion, Comanche 4 and Quake 3 Benchmarks |
We ran 3DMark 2002SE though a default benchmark run, on all of the test systems (1024x768x32). The 2.53MHz. Pentium 4 managed to outpace everything else, but the Athlon XP 2200+ was right behind it. With the Athlon overclocked, we gained over 200 3DMarks, but were still about 500 points behind the 2.53GHz. machine.
Novalogic's Comanche 4 benchmark is a heavily CPU dependant test. We ran the time demo at a low-resolution and color depth with no audio, to further isolate CPU performance. At it's default clock speed, the Athlon XP 2200+ was outperformed by both of the Pentium 4's, albeit by a very small margin. With the CPU overclocked, we gained a couple of frames per second but still were not able to catch the 2.53Ghz. P4.
We saw more of the same with Quake 3 Arena, which traditionally favors the Pentium 4. The 2200+ fell about 6 FPS behind the 2.2GHz. P4 at it's default clock speed. When we overclocked the Thoroughbred, we managed to gain almost 7 FPS, which put the Athlon XP 2200+ slightly ahead of the 2.2GHz. P4 but still a full 19.5 FPS lower than the 2.53GHz. system.
Overall, we have mixed feelings about the AMD Athlon XP 2200+. We were pleased to see AMD deliver a CPU based on their new .13 micron manufacturing process but were a bit disappointed that the new "Thoroughbred" core doesn't bring any new features to the table. When Intel introduced the "Northwood" Pentium 4's, they doubled the on-die cache to 512K, and have since upped the FSB to 533MHz. AMD on the other hand has simply taken the "Palomino" Athlon core and started manufacturing it on a .13 micron process. Had AMD increased the on-die cache, upped the FSB or introduced some other performance enhancing feature, we possibly would have been much more impressed. What this new core amounts to essentially, is more headroom for clock speed and better profit margins for AMD.
That certainly is not to say the new Athlon XP 2200+ is without merit. Initial word is that this CPU will sell for $241 US in lots of 1000, which is less than half of what Intel is charging for their top of the line 2.53GHz. Pentium 4. At an introductory price this low, with it's relative performance being so high, there is no better CPU than the Athlon XP 2200+ for cost conscious consumers. AMD still has a firm grasp on the "Price vs. Performance" crown. Looking forward, as AMD further refines their manufacturing process and yields get better, we're excited with the prospect of seeing even higher clocked Athlons. We have no doubt hardcore overclockers, and perhaps AMD themselves, will soon take the "Thoroughbred" well beyond the 2GHz. mark. With Athlons clocked that high, and the impending release of "faster" chipsets like the KT400 and 200MHz DDR (DDR400) memory, the battle between AMD and Intel shows no signs of subsiding. Later in the year AMD is also set to release their new "Hammer" line of 64-bit CPUs, which should further fuel the fire... Competition, you've gotta love it!
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