Testbed Configuration and Methodology
Starting today we have significantly modified our testing methodology. Namely, we migrated to the latest Microsoft Windows 8 operating system. Of course, it doesn’t cause and radical changes, because the software environment doesn’t have too crucial of an effect on the computing performance of the tested platforms. However, it is important to keep in mind that Windows 8 kernel boasts a number of innovations.
First of all, unlike all previous operating systems, the scheduler in the new OS is originally optimized for all contemporary processor microarchitectures using SMT and CMT technologies. It means that neither contemporary AMD processors with paired cores, nor Intel processors with Hyper-Threading support will require patches of any kind: everything works in the most optimal way right out of the box. Secondly, the kernel of the new operating system did undergo some serious modifications improving its functioning on various mobile computers. And even though we focus on desktop tests, these changes matter for us, too. Windows 8 uses system memory more efficiently, parks the CPU cores more aggressively and tries to reduce the needs of the processor cycles. Thirdly, there is no more Aero interface in Windows 8: it has been replaced with Metro interface with higher 2D performance. And fourthly, the new system has been upgraded to DirectX version 11.1 (Direct3D 11.1, DXGI 1.2, WDDM 1.2, etc.).
As for the specific products tested today, AMD FX-8350, FX-8320, FX-6300 and FX-4300 from Vishera generation will compete against their predecessors on Zambezi design as well as against the contemporary competitors from Intel on Ivy Bridge. The honor of the old Bulldozer microarchitecture will be defended by the top processors in each category: eight-core FX-8150, six-core FX-6200 and quad-core FX-4170. Intel processors will be represented by the top LGA 1155 CPUs with four cores and Hyper-Threading support - Core i7-3770K, simpler quad-core products - Core i5-3570K and Core i5-3470, dual-core Core i3-3240 with Hyper-Threading support and the youngest member of the Ivy Bridge family - Pentium G2120.
As a result, our testbeds were built with the following hardware and software components:
- AMD FX-8350 (Vishera, 8 cores, 4.0-4.2 GHz, 4 x 2 MB L2, 8 MB L3);
- AMD FX-8320 (Vishera, 8 cores, 3.5-4.0 GHz, 4 x 2 MB L2, 8 MB L3);
- AMD FX-6300 (Vishera, 6 cores, 3.5-4.1 GHz, 3 x 2 MB L2, 8 MB L3);
- AMD FX-4300 (Vishera, 4 cores, 3.8-4.0 GHz, 2 x 2 MB L2, 4 MB L3);
- AMD FX-8150 (Zambezi, 8 cores, 3.6-4.2 GHz, 4 x 2 MB L2, 8 MB L3);
- AMD FX-6200 (Zambezi, 6 cores, 3.8-4.1 GHz, 3 x 2 MB L2, 8 MB L3);
- AMD FX-4170 (Zambezi, 4 cores, 4.2-4.3 GHz, 2 x 2 MB L2, 8 MB L3);
- Intel Core i7-3770K (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores + HT, 3.5-3.9 GHz, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8 MB L3);
- Intel Core i5-3570K (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.4-3.8 GHz, 4 x 256 KB L2, 6 MB L3).
- Intel Core i5-3470 (Ivy Bridge, 4 cores, 3.2-3.6 GHz, 4 x 256 KB L2, 6 MB L3);
- Intel Core i3-3240 (Ivy Bridge, 2 cores + HT, 3.4 GHz, 2 x 256 KB L2, 3 MB L3);
- Intel Pentium G2120 (Ivy Bridge, 2 cores, 3.1 GHz, 2 x 256 KB L2, 3 MB L3).
- Processor cooler: NZXT Havik 140;
- ASUS Crosshair V Formula (Socket AM3+, AMD 990FX + SB950);
- ASUS P8Z77-V Deluxe (LGA1155, Intel Z77 Express).
- Memory: 2 x 4 GB, DDR3-1866 SDRAM, 9-11-9-27 (Kingston KHX1866C9D3K2/8GX).
- Graphics card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680 (2 GB/256-bit GDDR5, 1006/6008 MHz).
- Disk drive: Intel SSD 520 240 GB (SSDSC2CW240A3K5).
- Power supply unit: Corsair AX1200i (80 Plus Platinum, 1200 W).
- Operating system: Microsoft Windows 8 Enterprise x64.
- AMD Chipset Driver 12.10;
- Intel Chipset Driver 18.104.22.1685;
- Intel Management Engine Driver 22.214.171.1248;
- Intel Rapid Storage Technology 126.96.36.1990;
- NVIDIA GeForce 306.97 Driver.