Articles: CPU

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General Performance

As usual, we use Bapco SYSmark 2012 suite to estimate the processor performance in general-purpose tasks. It emulates the usage models in popular office and digital content creation and processing applications. The idea behind this test is fairly simple: it produces a single score characterizing the average computer performance. after the launch of Windows 8 SYSmark 2012 got updated to version 1.5, and this is exactly the version we are using in our test session.

Compared with the predecessors, Vishera processors make good progress. FX-8350 outperforms FX-8150 by 19%, which is mostly due to its higher clock frequency. However, you shouldn’t underestimate the contribution of the new microarchitecture, either. Even FX-8320 with slightly lower clock speed than that of the top Zambezi processor, is not any slower: FX-8320 is 10% faster than FX-8150. We see almost the same results among the six-core AMD processors from different generations: FX-6300 and FX-6200. However, the quad-core FX-4300 is only 6% ahead of the FX-4170, because the old quad-core Bulldozer processor works at a relatively high clock frequency, and also features a full-size 8 MB L3 cache, unlike its successor.

However, the success of the new AMD processors, which is so obvious when we compare the models from two different generations, doesn’t change the bigger picture involving competitors from Intel. Eight-core FX CPUs are still inferior to quad-core Ivy Bridge processors, while six-core and quad-core AMD processors can only compete against Core i3 or Pentium.

Let’s take a closer look at the performance scores SYSmark 2012 generates in different usage scenarios. Office Productivity scenario emulates typical office tasks, such as text editing, electronic tables processing, email and Internet surfing. This scenario uses the following applications: ABBYY FineReader Pro 10.0, Adobe Acrobat Pro 9, Adobe Flash Player 10.1, Microsoft Excel 2010, Microsoft Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft Outlook 2010, Microsoft PowerPoint 2010, Microsoft Word 2010 and WinZip Pro 14.5.

Media Creation scenario emulates the creation of a video clip using previously taken digital images and videos. Here they use popular Adobe suites: Photoshop CS5 Extended, Premiere Pro CS5 and After Effects CS5.

Web Development is a scenario emulating web-site designing. It uses the following applications: Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Adobe Premiere Pro CS5, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5, Mozilla Firefox 3.6.8 and Microsoft Internet Explorer 9.

Data/Financial Analysis scenario is devoted to statistical analysis and prediction of market trends performed in Microsoft Excel 2010.

3D Modeling scenario is fully dedicated to 3D objects and rendering of static and dynamic scenes using Adobe Photoshop CS5 Extended, Autodesk 3ds Max 2011, Autodesk AutoCAD 2011 and Google SketchUp Pro 8.

The last scenario called System Management creates backups and installs software and updates. It involves several different versions of Mozilla Firefox Installer and WinZip Pro 14.5.

Although the total score may make Vishera processors seem not fast enough, there are popular situations when some of them do really well. Contemporary AMD microarchitectures are pretty weak when it comes to loads with few computing threads, because their performance-per-core turns out not high enough in the end. However, when we deal with multi-threaded loads, they can really shine because they have more physical cores than Intel offerings.

A few great examples of situations when the FX series processors do really well are 3D modeling tasks or financial calculations. Here eight-core FX-8350 and FX-8320 perform as good as the quad-core Core i5 processors and sometimes even better than them. However, the models with fewer cores can’t boast the same success. Even in the most favorable testing conditions, six-core and quad-core AMD Vishera processors can only get to the level of the Intel Core i3.

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