Intel Prescott P4 3.4GHz & Northwood P4 3.4GHz

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Intel Prescott P4 3.4GHz & Northwood P4 3.4GHz - Page 4

Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz Prescott
And Pentium 4 3.4GHz "Northwood"

By, Dave Altavilla
March 22, 2004

We took another look at Video Encoding performance with Windows Media Encoder 9.  Windows Media Encoder 9 is both SSE optimized and makes use of Hyperthreading.

Windows Media Encoder 9
Digital Video Encoding Test

In this test, we took a 416MB Digital Video file and encoded to WMV9 format.  Times were recorded in minutes and seconds.  Lower times indicate better performance.

Windows Media Encoder is one of those tests that simply runs better on an Intel processor obviously.  The Athlon 64s can't compete and the 3400+ is simply out classed by a spread of over 30 seconds versus a Prescott P4 at 3.4GHz.  This test is simply optimized better for SSE on the P4 and perhaps the enhanced Hyperthreading performance of Prescott or its larger caches size is giving it a slight edge over the Northwood cores in this test.

Cinebench 2003 Performance Tests
3D Modeling and Rendering Tests

The Cinebench 2003 benchmark is an OpenGL 3D rendering performance test, based on the commercially available Cinema 4D application.  This is a multi-threaded, multi-processor aware benchmark that renders a single 3D scene.  The time it took each test system to render the entire scene is represented in the graph below (listed in seconds).  We ran two sets of numbers, one in single thread mode and one in the benchmark's multi-threaded mode, for our Hyperthreading capable P4 test systems.

The Prescotts certainly didn't fair well in this test, but comparatively neither did the Athlon 64s.  It seems the deeper pipeline of Prescott is hampering overall performance, as the CPU can't compete with Northwood at the same clock speed.  In the Multi CPU test, the times represented there are times it took to render the exact same scene that was used in the single CPU test, only on the P4s two threads were used, one for the top and one for the bottom half of the scence.  Our Athlons 64 test systems couldn't run the multi CPU test.  We would have needed dual Opterons for that.  Obviously the gap widens nicely for the P4s with Hyperthreading enabled.

SPEC Viewperf
3D Modeling and Rendering Performance

Getting down to more "industrial strength" testing we have SPECs Viewperf series of benchmarks.  Viewperf 7.1 draws performance metrics on many data-points in several different OpenGL based applications from various ISVs (Independent Software Vendors). The SPECopc (SPEC OpenGL Performance Characterization) project group is comprised of companies like 3DLabs, Intel, AMD, NVIDIA, ATi, Dell, IBM, SGI, Sun Micro as well as others, and helps define and endorse what application viewsets are used in the SPECviewperf test.

Currently, there are six standard SPECopc application viewsets:   (courtesy

  • 3dsmax-02, based on SPECapc for 3ds max 3.1 configured with the Open GL driver, includes three models containing an average of 1.5 million vertices each, and tests performance of scenes with different levels of lighting.
  • dx-08, based on IBM's Data Explorer application, has 10 different tests.
  • drv-09, based on Intergraph's DesignReview model review package, has five different tests.
  • light-06, based on Discreet's Lightscape radiosity application, has four tests.
  • proe-02, based on SPECapc for Pro/ENGINEER 2001, measures two models in three modes - shaded, wireframe and hidden-line removal (HLR).
  • ugs-03, based on SPECapc for Unigraphics V17, tests performance based on an engine model containing 2.1 million vertices.

There's a lot to digest here and this is a very busy graph, so we'll break it down a bit for you.  The lead position was split nearly down the middle over all test runs, with the Prescott 3.4GHz processor taking some and the Athlon 64 FX-53 taking others.  Unigraphics and Design Review seem to be strong points for the Athlons, while Lightscape and Data Explorer seem to favor the P4s.  Interestingly enough, the P4EE's extra 2MB of L3 cache didn't afford it any real performance advantage but there's definitely something within Prescott CPUs that powers these benchmarks more efficiently for the P4, since clearly clock for clock they lead the pack for Intel's offering here.  We've asked Intel about this and haven't gotten a formal response but we suspect Viewperf likes fast low latency L2 cache.


Gaming Benchmarks - Wolfenstein ET, 3DMark 2003, Comanche 4

Tags:  Intel, Pre, NOR, 4G, GHz, P4, 4GHz, RT

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