Power to Spare
Our motherboard Core 2 Duo test setup consisted of an Intel 975X Express board, 2GB of DDR2-667 memory, a pair of SATA hard drives configured in a striped array, and an nVidia GeForce 7800GT-based graphics card. We swapped first a 2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800 chip and then a 2.67-GHz Core 2 E6700 chip into that setup to generate scores we could compare directly to an otherwise identically configured system featuring AMD's new DDR2-capable AM2 platform and its top-of-the-line FX-62 processor.
Both of the Intel setups bested the AMD-based system on every test in our WorldBench 5 suite as well as on every one of our gaming tests (see chart below). The improvement on WorldBench 5's multitasking tests, which involve running a Web browsing session in Mozilla while encoding a file with Windows Media Encoder, was particularly dramatic. You'll also see notable gains in Photoshop and similar graphics applications.
|Productivity Tests||Gaming Tests
|Intel Core 2 Extreme PC||2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800||160||279||273||222||181||157||205||n/a|
|Intel Core 2 Duo PC||2.67-GHz Core 2 E6700||153||296||283||235||185||151||193||n/a|
|2.8-GHz Athlon 64 FX-62||137||362||308||274||187||123||145||n/a|
|3.2-GHz Pentium D 940||113||500||434||351||199||103||111||n/a|
|Out-of-Box Core 2 Duo PC|
|ABS Ultimate X9
||2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800||181||252||239||189||152||208||269||313|
|CyberPower Gamer Infinity SLI Ultra||2.93-GHz Core 2 Extreme X6800||167||267||260||207||157||164||206||269|
|Dell XPS 700
||2.67-GHz Core 2 Duo E6700||153||297||300||221||185||140||180||241|
|Dell XPS 410
||2.4-GHz Core 2 Duo E6600||138||382||306||237||208||146||181||199|
|Velocity Micro Vector GX
||2.13-GHz Core 2 Duo E6400||117||385||344||277||468||91||128||173|
|Out-of-Box Comparison PC|
|2.6-GHz Athlon 64 FX-60||142||341||283||298||160||n/a||n/a||156|
|3.4-GHz Pentium 4 650||111||672||326||421||212||n/a||n/a||140|
More Test Details
The Core 2 Extreme X6800 reference system logged a score of 160 on WorldBench 5, 17 percent higher than the 137 turned in by the corresponding system using AMD's Athlon 64 FX-62. And the PC using the less expensive E6700 chip managed a score of 153 on WorldBench--still 12 percent better than the FX-62 PC's mark.
In addition to our lab-built systems, we tested several vendor-supplied PCs. For example, Dell's $3985 XPS 700, a high-end system based on the 2.67-GHz Duo E6700 processor, came with 2GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce 7950 GX2 Dual-GPU graphics board with 1GB of SDRAM, and two 320GB SATA hard drives in a Raid 0 array. That system (whose price includes a 24-inch wide-screen monitor) also earned a score of 153 on WorldBench 5, well ahead of the 142 posted by the previous top scorer, a 2.6-GHz AMD Athlon 64 FX-60-based Xi system.
Dell's $2350 XPS 410--a relatively mainstream system based on the midrange 2.4-GHz E6600 CPU--shipped with 2GB of RAM, an nVidia GeForce 7900GS graphics board, and two 320GB SATA drives configured in a Raid 0 array. That machine (whose price includes a 20-inch wide-screen LCD) earned a score of 138 on WorldBench 5, matching the score posted by AMD's high-end FX-62 chip on our motherboard test bed.
But even those notable scores paled in comparison to the performance of the overclocked system that ABS sent us. The $4199 water-cooled ABS Ultimate X9--which shipped with 2GB of RAM, a pair of Radeon X1900 Crossfire graphics boards, two superfast Western Digital 150GB SATA drives configured in a striped RAID array, and a Core 2 Extreme X6800 chip overclocked from 2.93 GHz to run at 3.5 GHz--turned in a WorldBench 5 score of 181. Obviously, this system is not a likely choice for typical buyers, but its score is by far the highest we've seen from a shipping system. And it may indicate how much headroom Intel's Core microarchitecture possesses.