The Clarkdale Experiment: Mea Culpaby Loyd Case on May 4, 2010 1:57 PM EST
Ignoring generic performance benchmarks like Sysmark, I ran a couple of media encoding tests, POV-RAY 2.70 (beta 35a) and Cinebench 10. The idea wasn’t to make any definitive judgment about performance, but just get a feel for how the two CPUs might perform in memory intensive tests.
It’s no big surprise that the Core i5 750 outperforms Clarkdale; these apps are multithreaded, and physical cores will trump virtual cores in this class of application. As you can see, in both POV-RAY and Cinebench, Clarkdale’s single core performance is a little higher than Lynnfield – but the differences are much smaller than the even the 12.5% disparity in Turbo Boost peak clock speeds. It’s possible that the L3 cache size disparities have an impact.
But these systems are gaming systems, so let’s take a look at how they perform with games.
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GeorgeH - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkIt’s nice to see you test these systems, but the numbers and analysis you present are completely useless; here are two reasons why:
From the article: “When we keep the resolution and detil levels low (tessellation is off in the low resolution test), the CPU differences are noticeable. Once we dial up the graphics pain, though, the difference is negligible.” At both resolutions the difference is about 3%; how can 3% be both noticeable and negligible at the same time?
How repeatable is 195.15 FPS – can you really report 5 significant figures here? From the article: “The numbers vary slightly, but the pattern doesn’t change.” Varying numbers are incredibly important to establishing the relevance of a pattern; for all I know 195.15 is a high outlier and 143.1 is a low outlier. You might be reporting the mean of multiple runs with significant figures appropriate to their standard deviation, but the overall impression of the article is that you ran the benches once and reported whatever number got spit out, with verification that it indeed should have been “bigger” or “smaller” than the number spit out by the other system by running the benchmarks again.
Combining those two problems, I’m forced to conclude that any numbers and analysis you report here are worthless. That’s unfortunate because they probably aren’t, it’s just the style of the report and failure to indicate more clearly what your testing methodology is that unfairly gives that impression.
tno - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkI agree, completely, and this brings me to the biggest worry I've had over the content on AT for the last year or so. When it was Gary and Anand, there were some hiccups, either with style or content in many of the early articles. But before too long they both got very good at what they do and the result was for a while though throughput wasn't high it was of high quality, consistently. As the staff has grown, however, some of the new blood is really good at analysis and great create models for comparing various pieces of technology but don't write very well. Other staff members, Loyd inclusive, seem to have a great grasp of style and even their analysis sounds good, yet clearly here there are some content errors that lessen the impact of the piece.
Anand, you have become a master at providing excellent content with impeccable style. Your new writers are all capable, but I think it might be time for a little writing and statistical analysis boot camp.
dfonseca - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkSeconded.
This article by Loyd is a great example of this problem. It is well-worded and pleasant to read, but entirely inconsistent with other AT articles - with the exception of those written by Loyd.
Articles with this kind of content (hardware configuration benchmarking) abound in AT, and they roughly follow the same pattern with regards to what data is gathered, how it's presented, chart formatting, etc. Reading AT would be a better experience if the articles followed on that formula, or improved on it (with a strong focus on continuity).
futrtrubl - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkSpeaking of charts I think he grouped his bars badly. He's comparing systems so he should group by test/setting not by CPU so it's easier to compare.
Also, he is inconsistent in referring to the chips, sometimes by model number and sometimes by codename. I don't know which is which and while I can look it up I shouldn't have to translate it in my head every time they are mentioned.
anactoraaron - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkBut the biggest thing with these numbers is the HDD difference. Having a 250gb SSD vs anything other than another SSD will throw these numbers off... Putting in a SSD for the i5-750 will likely add ~10% more to all numbers across the board for it. I just can't help but think how much better the i5 750 would have been with a SSD. Anand himself no longer does any benchmarking amongst cpu's now without a SSD since it takes away variables a platter HDD may cause.
I second the boot camp idea.
alphacheez - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkThis shows that the i5-750 seems to have more room to grow as demands will increase in the future.
The 750 should be able to keep up with the next generation of games while the 661 might run out of steam and leave you CPU-bound.
I think the colors on the Cinebench and video encoding graphs are/were backwards. The higher Cinebench score should correspond with the multi-CPU test and I'd expect the 1080p wmv to h.264 encode to take longer than the avi to mp4 (iPod) encode.
I'd be interested to hear others experience with Clarkdale-based HTPCs as far as video playback, encoding, power usage, and noise.
The systems examined in this write-up are pretty high-powered compared to what might be in a typical HTPC. A Radeon 5770 should be enough to power games at 1920x1080 (HDTV) resolutions and really put the kibosh on power usage.
jasperjones - Wednesday, May 5, 2010 - linkagreed, the legend in cinebench seems incorrect.
Jaguar36 - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkCould you check the power usage without the Radeon in the system? Since I leave my PC on 24/7 I really want to know how much power the card uses at idle compared to the IG.
justinegg - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkHow much of a difference could PCI-Express and other chipset bottlenecks affected these gaming benchmarks?
Would the i5 -750's numbers be closer to the 661's if it were in the H55 board?
jonup - Tuesday, May 4, 2010 - linkI am not an expert, but per my discussions with several reviewers H55 performance is similar if not identical to P55.
As for the performance difference between 750 and 661, it could be due to the memory latencies on top of the L3 size.