Overclocking: Core i7 Vs. Phenom II

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Roffey123

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At last a P2/i7 comparison to shut the people whining for one up. In all I think its a fair comparison - although I am disappointed that AMD's OC potential wasn't as good as they made it out to be. But as all overclockers know - not all chips are the same or have the same OC potential.

The 3DS Max benchmark was puzzling as well, considering that i7 has 8 threads at its disposal. Do you guys have any idea as to why the AMD beat the i7 in that test; despite having only half as many threads?
 

unclefester

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I thought it funny they use an ATI card on the Intel board (not that it makes a difference).
Would have liked to see what the PII can gain or not gain by using the FSB not just the multiplier.
Didn't see anything about memory timings either. As most PII OC's have been done at @880MHz.
Overall a decent review.
So Ford vs Chevy goes on.
 
I would love to see a high end overclocked Core 2 Quad 9 series in the tests here to see a price comparison - cheaper and already established platform etc.

Also note that i7 platform should also feel more alive and responsive (un-benchmarkable) thanks to high memory bandwidths and more threads to balance things out like the P4C's and CL2 Dual Channel DDR1 - reguardless if it performed lower then the AMD A64's at the time it felt more responsive!

Intel also has that more solid platform to back that CPU and options for Crossfire AND SLi so its more the premium option, but that cheaper AMD setup is too close to the i7 for my liking - a few shifts in prices and models should show an interesting result in the new few weeks.

AM3 should be interesting, higher headroom + lower power etc (like 939 to AM2).
 

cangelini

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Uncle,
With the Black Edition, that's really the value there. You want to use the multiplier for a clean, easy overclock. Once you've found your ceiling, use the reference clock to fine-tune the setup.
 

vekere

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I hear AMD is going to hire Sylar to look at the new Core i7 processor so this year we will have an answer.
 

kschoche

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The WINRAR tests are so close to exactly half the time on the Intel chip compared to the AMD chip that I'd love to see how the results show up if you turn off hyperthreading, not that its a particularly meaningful result, but would be cool to look at still.
 

jtnstnt

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I'm curious about the heatsink selection on the Phenom II. I looked up the Ajigo MF091 and it didn't look too impressive. While the Intel system gets the Thermalright 120mm True extreme. Whats up with that?
 
[citation][nom]jtnstnt[/nom]I'm curious about the heatsink selection on the Phenom II. I looked up the Ajigo MF091 and it didn't look too impressive. While the Intel system gets the Thermalright 120mm True extreme. Whats up with that?[/citation]

Heh very good point there, although it depends on wether the limits of the OC was architectural or thermal
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]jtnstnt[/nom]I'm curious about the heatsink selection on the Phenom II. I looked up the Ajigo MF091 and it didn't look too impressive. While the Intel system gets the Thermalright 120mm True extreme. Whats up with that?[/citation]

The Ajigo sports a copper base, four heat pipes, and an aluminum fin array. You're right--it's not a particularly spectacular heatsink, though it was the best Phenom II-compatible cooler in the lab. As a result, I made it a point to mention that stepping up to a better cooler might have yielded better overclocking, but would also erode some of AMD's price advantage as well.

Heatsink aside, after talking to a number of colleagues from other sites at this year's CES, it sounds like the overclocks here are indeed representative of what others were able to do, even using different heatsinks. I'll look into getting more in the way of air cooling and hope for better results.
 

bernardv

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This Phenom II overclock is very very far from optimal. Here are some points:
1. 790FX board should be used, FX is the top end chipset.
2. Ph2 doesn't support ACC, check the forums where skilled people got this CPU beyond 4GHz on air, they know what they were doing.
3. If you're doing bench you should try to get an optimal RAM speed as well. Your RAM was running 30% below stock 1066!!! You must raise core do better.
 

arkadi

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[citation][nom]jtnstnt[/nom]I'm curious about the heatsink selection on the Phenom II. I looked up the Ajigo MF091 and it didn't look too impressive. While the Intel system gets the Thermalright 120mm True extreme. Whats up with that?[/citation]
P2 did go more than 60c, that what the article said any way. So i don't think it meter
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]bernardv[/nom][/citation]
Bernard, 790GX is actually a newer platform than 790FX, and the only way stepping *back* to that one could have made a difference would have been if we were testing multiple graphics cards, in which case the chipset's PCI Express connectivity would have benefited it.

Re: ACC--not sure if you were aware, but the enhancements rolled into ACC that made the Phenom a better overclocker are *already* rolled into Phenom II. Therefore, it doesn't need to support ACC since those capabilities are in-hardware.

Re: RAM speed, we're using DDR2-1066. Per this page, that is the maximum official supported spec for the AM2+ version of the chip. Not sure if you mis-read that we were using DDR2-800, perhaps.

All the best!
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]falchard[/nom]I think you got the wrong end of the silicon with the chip. Anandtech was able to reach a stable 3.9 GHz with 1.52 volts.[/citation]

And our own German lab was able to run 3.8 GHz at 1.55V and even boot at 4 GHz. And there's the variability of overclocking for ya. Everyone's experience is going to be different, and I can assure you that an extra 100-200 MHz would not change the tide of this comparison.
 

eodeo

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Could you please disclose what are you testing in Max 9, maybe even share the scene so we could also test it? By your own scoring, i920 @ 3.8ghz in this test is slower than c2q 6600 @ 2.4ghz. I know something whent wrong, but I dont know what.
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]eodeo[/nom]Could you please disclose what are you testing in Max 9, maybe even share the scene so we could also test it? By your own scoring, i920 @ 3.8ghz in this test is slower than c2q 6600 @ 2.4ghz. I know something whent wrong, but I dont know what.[/citation]

Sure! From the Test Setup page (page 4) of this story:
Version: 9.0, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)

In essence, this is a single image being rendered out at 1920x1080. If you email me, I'd be happy to send along the source data (cangelini at bestofmedia dot com).
 

nashville

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hey, in your ph2 review, power consumption on i7 was measured from 12v rail. i read uncore/cache dont get power from 12v rail, is this correct. if it is, will affect your measurements?
 

spearhead

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i find the benchmark not compleetly fair.core I7 would end up faster but you guys didn't gave Phenom II a fare chance by puting on a decend cooler such are scythe mugen or inifaty.you guys started to overclock it with the boxed cooler and for a boxed cooler these results are outstanding actualy.you should try that on core I7 and for sure it will hung even at a mere 200mhz increase because of the cooler. intels boxed cooler is worthless its load as a airplane and it dousn't cool decent we all know that that is why most of us go for a fancy afthermarket cooler.same for me when i changed it on my pentium 4 for a scythe samurai i felt quite some relief :) It is quite impressive phenom II 940 manages to hold its self so well against a higher clocked core I7. But both are great processors. core I7 is great if you can spend 1500+ euro on a complete system, Phenom 2 is great when you are to go for something around 900 euro.
 

johnbilicki

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It's simple: AMD wins here.

1.) Price: We don't NEED DDR3, read my performance comments. You can get 4GB of DDR2-1066 for $55 on Newegg. I can spare 50FPS when I'm already getting more FPS then my LCD can handle.

2.) Power: I live in Florida and the last thing I want is excessive heat. I can drop my Opteron 185 down to 1.8 from 2.6 so I look forward to buying the X4 940.

3.) Unless you're dead set on playing Crysis at 2560x1600 what's the point? LCD's run at 60Hz and you'll have a hard time convincing most people the difference between 130 FPS and 185FPS. I'd much rather impress my girlfriend with a nice dinner then spend an extra $300-$400 on more performance that doesn't make a difference now in the vast majority of games (and doesn't make a difference in any of the games I play).

Intel wins if you're loaded enough to care about Crysis at 2560x1600. Besides AMD has made our lives insanely easier by creating numerous possible upgrade paths.

I do have to say I'm disappointed at seeing Asus boards being used though. They never stood behind any of their products yet they flood the market with products (eight AM3 motherboards have already been announced in example). I also think you guys could have given Intel a bit of a break and used the cheapest i7 motherboard even though it supports slower DDR3 memory however it would mean the i7 would be slightly more reasonable in regards to the cost of a base system.

Thanks for the review and I look forward to reading about AM3 motherboards.
 

butcher

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what i would like to see it a clock for clock comparison between some of the intel/amd cpus

maybe a 940BE and 965/qx9650/q6600 ( or similar 65nm chip

they all but the q6600 have unlocked multipliers so you could adjust them all down to 2.4ghz ( maybe add an X4 @ 2.4ghz as well)
 

cangelini

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[citation][nom]nashville[/nom]hey, in your ph2 review, power consumption on i7 was measured from 12v rail. i read uncore/cache dont get power from 12v rail, is this correct. if it is, will affect your measurements?[/citation]

This is something I'm looking into and will need to report back on. Will have the German team update its Phenom II piece if this is the case. Can't go wrong with total consumption numbers you see here, though.
 
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