Articles: CPU

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Computing Performance

In the first part of our testing we will focus on conventional computing. It is the performance delivered by the processor’s x86 cores.

Overall 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 e are using in our test session.

We know the highs and lows of the modern Ivy Bridge and Piledriver microarchitectures well enough, so the standings of the products in the diagrams do not surprise us. Intel’s Ivy Bridge CPUs with Hyper-Threading support are generally faster than the dual-core Piledriver modules of AMD APUs, therefore the Core i3 series takes the lead. Intel’s dual-core CPUs without Hyper-Threading are considerably slower, though. They are comparable in performance to the quad-core Trinity A8 and A10 APUs. As for AMD’s junior APUs that have one dual-core Piledriver module inside, the A6 and A4 series are very weak in terms of general-purpose computing, being inferior even to the Intel Celeron series.

There’s one peculiarity about the relative performance of the AMD products. The A8-5600K processor has a higher SYSmark 2012 score than the A10-5700, a higher-class model. Why? Because the A8-5600K with its 100-watt TDP is designed for working at higher clock rates. As for the A10-5700, its positioning in the senior series does not reflect its computing performance but is due to its full-featured graphics core with the maximum number of shader processors. Thus, if you are interested in computing performance only, the A8-5600K is going to be preferable to the A10-5700.

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.

The particular type of load has a considerable effect on the relative performance of the products we’re discussing here. It is only in two scenarios that the results agree exactly with the overall scores: office work and media content processing. Here, the quad-core AMD A10 and A8 APUs are comparable to Intel’s Pentium and Celeron. All of the Intel CPUs are much faster than any Trinity in terms of website development. It is in rendering and data analysis tasks which can be easily performed in parallel on multiple execution cores that the Socket FM2 APUs show their best. Even though they can’t match the Core i3, the quad-core A10 and A8 APUs are better than Intel’s Pentium and Celeron then. AMD’s APUs are also good in the system maintenance scenario: the competing products are similar to each other, the A4 and A6 series APUs even being cable to beat Intel’s Celeron.

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