AMD vs Intel - The Gaming Sweetspot

The Architecture

Core i7 Architecture
 
The Core i7 processor, launched around this time last year is an all new architecture that followed the highly successful Core 2 Quad lineup. Major changes included the integration of a memory controller onboard the processor and as a consequence, the death of the (arguably) limitation inducing "Front Side Bus" link. In addition, support for Triple Channel Memory was incorporated and the Intel Core 2's huge pool of Level 2 cache has been replaced by small dedicated sets of 256kB per core and a shared bank of 8mb Level 3 cache. Last but not least, the Core i7 saw the return of Hyperthreading Technology, which by specification is meant to aid the processing of multithreaded computations, by treating a given core as two.
 
 
 
 The end result is a platform that is completely reworked when compared to the LGA775/Core 2 Duo/Quad. Technically speaking, we're looking at a much more efficient architecture but of course, this all comes at a price and what's more is that as elaborate an architecture might be, it still commands the right software to harness it's true capabilties.
 
Phenom II Architecture
 
 Upon face value, AMD's Phenom II architecture doesn't appear all too different. The "Deneb" core, used in the entireity of the Phenom II lineup sports 512kB of Level 2 cache per core and a shared pool of 6MB Level 3 cache. AMD does not have a Hyperthreading equivalent and while it has an integrated memory controller and a fast data link, memory will only function in Dual Channel mode and thus reducing the maximum achievable memory bandwith on the Socket AM3 platform. 
 
 
It's not a particularly new architecture either as the Deneb core is more of a healthy progression of it's roots which stem as far back as the once revolutionary AMD Athlon 64 "K8" core. Core tweaks, an even faster Hypertransport Link speed and a large helping of Level 3 cache has proved to be more than enough to keep these processors up to speed. Another factor to consider is that along with the Deneb core's smaller "die" size and it's supposedly high yields, production costs are lower and this directly translates to lower purchase prices for the end user.
 
When it comes to mating your prospective new processor with the right motherboard and RAM, AMD does win from a price perspective, with very capable single graphics card boards such as the Gigabyte MA770T UD3P for under £70 and CrossfireX capable boards from £85. Memory pricing is also very respectable thanks to the requirement for Dual Channel memory over Triple Channel. With this in mind, does the phrase, "You get what you pay for" hold true in the context of this article? Let's see for ourselves.
 
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Most Recent Comments

25-10-2009, 23:33:24

tinytomlogan
We get the put the two heavey weighs in the ring head to head, will AMD throw in the towel? Or maybe Intel is all mouth.... We fire up the test rigs to find out who really is the best. By Mul

Continue Reading

26-10-2009, 03:37:55

AaronCooper
Hehe tom you put AMD Vs. nVidia not intel :P

26-10-2009, 06:48:36

Kylevdm
Great article, although I would switch the Call of Duty test results the other way round so it matches with all the others At the moment it is i7 on top where all the others have it on the bottom of the graph

26-10-2009, 08:17:54

Rastalovich
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='AaronCooper'
Hehe tom you put AMD Vs. nVidia not intel :P
Freudient slip.

It's evident to me that if ur just gaming, u can afford to make a choice of either camp. Even if ur enthusiastic in ur approach. Cash will often dictate ur choice, although primarily I try to stress to people (in this day'n'age) ur major purchase should always be the gfxcard for gaming. It makes little sense to dump a large portion of ur budget into cpu/mobo/mem and settle for a 4770, when u could get a 5870 and the balance can effectively make up the numbers.

Some1 with an i7 and a 4770 will do less well as a P35/E8400 and a 5870, for example.

Think the biggest decision maker is what else u do with the pc other than gaming.

Great read btw.

26-10-2009, 16:51:36

iceie
I think this test proves that the intel chips is really aggressive for the performance and the disadvantages that is set to test

27-10-2009, 07:56:17

Nelly
Sorry to criticise the review but it lacks depth in terms of results as their isn't enough infomation to give conclusive evidence i.e. not enough Benchmarks as some games fair better on one CPU or the other - check other reviews.

Would of been a more interesting read if you did a clock for clock analysis just to see if the INTEL i7 920 @ 3.4GHz gave a significant boost or not over the stock 2.66GHz.

Then do another test with both CPU's at 3.8GHz to see if either CPU can take advantage of the 5870 graphics card.

Also would of been more interesting if you had added results using Lynnfield into the equation.

On a positive note for Fred Bloggs buying a PC from a retail chain PC outlet the results will be good for the non-overclocker who isn't bothered about these things.

27-10-2009, 10:14:26

danimoth17
I would have preferred a comparison using the core i7-860 or 870.

that way you would have been using the same dual channel memory etc.

just to rule out other influences as much as possible.

27-10-2009, 13:31:29

Mul.
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Nelly'
Sorry to criticise the review but it lacks depth in terms of results as their isn't enough infomation to give conclusive evidence i.e. not enough Benchmarks as some games fair better on one CPU or the other - check other reviews.

Would of been a more interesting read if you did a clock for clock analysis just to see if the INTEL i7 920 @ 3.4GHz gave a significant boost or not over the stock 2.66GHz.

Then do another test with both CPU's at 3.8GHz to see if either CPU can take advantage of the 5870 graphics card.

Also would of been more interesting if you had added results using Lynnfield into the equation.

On a positive note for Fred Bloggs buying a PC from a retail chain PC outlet the results will be good for the non-overclocker who isn't bothered about these things.
Cheers for the feedback

Truth be told, with the equipment that I had to hand, between the previously reviewed Titan Goliath PC and it's HD 5870, I thought it might be possible to pull together another article with some results. If I had more gaming benchmarks to hand as well as a Core i5, then certainly they would have been included but even without doing so, our conclusion still holds true.

05-11-2009, 20:48:03

WelshD1K
amd has a slight advantage fo a faster clock speed. would be interesting to see how it waould fair vs a 920 @ 3.4 ..

i will argue that speed - speed amd seem to be down on the fps etc might be the lower fsb and high multi throttling the cards? , just a thought as my old e6600 did better fps than my amd 6000x2

with identical everything - mobo ...

05-11-2009, 23:48:13

FragTek
Nice shoot out! Makes me not feel so bad about going back to AMD, haha.
Reply
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