Intel Clarkdale vs AMD Phenom II with 785G – Mainstream Showdown

CPU by massman @ 2010-01-11

With the launch of Clarkdale by Intel, they have finally released a Nehalem for the masses, the Core i3 and i5 variations with integrated graphics are a direct competitor to the market segment currently held by AMD Phenom and Athlon CPUs. In this article we compare the performance of the IGP on the Intel Core i5 661 to and AMD system with 785G chipset.

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A few pictures and the test setup


A small gallery for those who want to see the hardware before the tests. Nothing spectacular to see here, though.

Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
(Click to enlarge

Test setup

Massman's Review Hardware
  • Intel Core i5 661
  • AMD Phenom II X4 965 BE
  • Cooling
  • CoolerMaster V8
  • Sunbeamtech Core-Contact Freezer
  • OCZ Freeze cooling paste
  • Mainboard
  • Intel DH55TC
  • DFI LANparty BI 785G-M35
  • Videocard"see: cpu and mainboard section"
    Memory 4x2GB Corsair Dominator 1600MHz CL8-8-8-24 1.65V, v3.1
    (p/n: CMD8GX3M4A1600C8)
  • Western Digital WD3200KS
  • Acard ANS-9010
  • PSU Antec Truepower 1KW

    Test Methodology :

    To test the performance, we used the following benchmarks.

  • Cinebench 10: Single and Multi CPU
  • Hexus Pifast
  • Lavalys Everest: Read, Write, Copy and Latency
  • PCMark05: System, CPU, Memory, Graphics and HDD subtest
  • Resident Evil 5: 1280x720x32bit, no quality
  • SuperPi 1M and 32M
  • TechArp X264
  • Winrar
  • Wprime 32M and 1024M

    Operating System: Windows 7 64-bit.

    Next to that, we ran each configuration at two different settings: stock and overclocked to 3.8GHz. For the overclocked settings, we prefer to refer to the screenshots underneath showing the different test settings. Please note that we have optimised the Phenom II test setup in the overclocked test setting by increasing the IGP clock frequency and tuning the HT Link and NB frequency. All configurations are useable 24/7, so no extreme overclocking here.

    Intel Core i5 661 configuration - Left: 3.40GHz (turbo), right: 3.80GHz

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
    (Click to enlarge)

    For the stock comparison, we enabled turbo mode as this a feature of the Intel processor. Since this Intel mainboard offered little to no bios options to tune our configuration, we just increase the BCLK as high as possible. No alterations were performed to tune the memory or graphics processor subsystem. At the moment of testing, no GPU-Z was available that was able to correctly show the GPU specifications.

    AMD Phenom II X4 965 configuration - Left: 3.20GHz, right: 3.80GHz

    Madshrimps (c) Madshrimps (c)
    (Click to enlarge)

    As you can see, we have increase the GPU clock frequency to 800MHz in the overclocked test setting. Also, please make a note of the 1600CL8 8GB memory configuration: handling 8GB of memory isn't the most easy task to do, but both the mainboards as the memory itself gave us very little problems when tuning.
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    Comment from jmke @ 2010/01/11
    Comment from wutske @ 2010/01/11
    Too bad the memory timings of both systems weren't the same because this biasses the results (as you've mentioned in the review).
    Comment from jmke @ 2010/01/11
    yes and no.
    the memory subsystem for Clarkdale is noticeably lower due to its design, but even then the CPU is never bandwidth starved, even with the slowest of DDR3 sticks.
    Comment from wutske @ 2010/01/11
    okay, but now it's not only the CPU which needs the memory but also the GPU.
    And some synthetic benchmark do benefit from the lower latencies (like on the AMD setup).
    Comment from Massman @ 2010/01/11
    There are still issues with the current H55 mainboards in terms of delivering decent memory performance. Either the Clarkdale is just no good for high memory bandwidth, or the bioses are too immature.