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Testbed and Methods

First of all, we gave up testing with disabled graphics. Although the entire load would lie on the CPU in this case, we wouldn’t be able to claim the superiority of this or that processor in real game conditions. The OpenGL driver also uses CPU resources, so although testing with r_skipRenderContext=1 is an excellent synthetic benchmark, it doesn’t produce a clear picture of what we really have when playing Doom 3. So, we ran all the tests with the game graphics enabled.

To minimize the effect of the graphics subsystem on the end result, we used one of the fastest graphics cards of today, based on the GeForce 6800 GT GPU. According to our previous reports, graphics cards on the newest GPUs from NVIDIA run Doom 3 faster than their rivals from ATI.

The settings of the game itself don’t practically affect the results of CPU tests – the main thing is having dynamic shadows enabled. So all the tests were run at the Medium Quality settings in 1024x768 resolution.

We had Intel’s processors with frequencies of 3GHz and higher, and AMD’s processors with ratings of 3000+ and higher for our tests. Of course, we tested Intel’s CPUs on the two available platforms, i875P and i925X Express. Thus we will also be able to evaluate the innovations implemented in the i925X Express chipset like DDR2 SDRAM and the new graphics bus PCI Express x16.

So, we used the following hardware in our test systems:

CPUs:

  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 (Socket 939, 1024KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 FX-51 (Socket 940, 1024KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 3800+ (Socket 939, 512KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 3700+ (Socket 754, 1024KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 3500+ (Socket 939, 512KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 3400+ (Socket 754, 1024KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 3200+ (Socket 754, 1024KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon 64 3000+ (Socket 754, 512KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon XP 3200+ (400MHz FSB, 512KB L2);
  • AMD Athlon XP 3000+ (400MHz FSB, 512KB L2);
  • Intel Pentium 4 560 (LGA775);
  • Intel Pentium 4 550 (LGA775);
  • Intel Pentium 4 540 (LGA775);
  • Intel Pentium 4 530 (LGA775);
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.4E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.2E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.2GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.0E GHz (Socket 478, Prescott);
  • Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz (Socket 478, Northwood);
  • Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz (LGA775);
  • Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz (Socket 478);
  • Intel Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.2GHz (Socket 478).

Mainboards:

  • ASUS A8V Deluxe (Socket 939, VIA K8T800 Pro);
  • ASUS SK8V (Socket 940, VIA K8T800);
  • SOYO KT880 Dragon 2 (Socket A, VIA KT880);
  • ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe (Socket 478, i875P);
  • ABIT KV8-MAX3 (Socket 754, VIA K8T800);
  • ASUS P5AD2 Premium (LGA775, i925X Express).

Memory:

  • 1024MB DDR400 SDRAM (Corsair CMX512-3200XLPRO, 2 x 512MB, 2-2-2-5);
  • 1024MB DDR2-533 SDRAM (Corsair CM2X512-4300, 2 x 512MB, 4-4-4-12).

Graphics cards:

  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT (AGP 8x, ForceWare 61.77);
  • NVIDIA GeForce 6800 GT (PCI Express x16, ForceWare 61.77).

Disk subsystem:

  • Western Digital Raptor WD740GD.

We performed our tests in Microsoft Windows XP with Service Pack 2 and DirectX 9.0c installed.

 
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