by Rob Williams on December 29, 2008 in Processors
Need to upgrade or build a brand-new PC, but are on a very limited budget? If you don’t mind making some small sacrifices, Intel’s Wolfdale-based Pentium Dual-Core E5200 is worthy of serious consideration. Despite retailing for only $80, it offers solid performance and some incredible overclocking headroom.
Mathematics: Sandra Arithmetic, Crypto, Microsoft Excel
With each new processor launch, one thing that’s bound to prove faster are mathematical equations, which when all said and done, plays a massive role in a lot of our computing today. The faster an equation can be completed, the faster a math-heavy process can finish.
Sandra includes applications designed to specifically test the mathematical performance of processors, with the main one being the arithmetic test.
Math might seem easy, but when algorithms are designed to take advantage of a multi-core processor, the results are impressive. In Sandra’s Arithmetic test, the E5200 performs well compared to the others, and neither Cache nor the SSE4 instructions make an ounce of a difference here. It’s mostly about frequency, but architecture improvements help as well, which you can see by comparing the i7-965 to the QX9770, which share the same clock speed.
Sandra 2009 Cryptography
Crypto is a major part of computing, whether you know it or not, and certain processes can prove slower than others, depending on their algorithms. User passwords on your home PC are encrypted, as are user passwords on web servers (like in our forums). Past that, crypto is used in other areas as well, such as with creating of unbreakable locks on files or assigning a hash to a particular file (like md5).
In Sandra’s Cryptography test, the results are outputted as MB/s, higher being better. Although this is somewhat of an odd metric to go by, generally speaking, the higher the number, the faster the CPU tears through the respective algorithm, which comes down to how fast a password is either encrypted, decrypted, signed, et cetera.
As we found out in our launch article, i7 doesn’t perform as well here as the Core 2 processors do, for whatever reason, but aside from that, the scaling-ability here is again quite good. The E7200 performs only marginally better than our E5200.
Microsoft Excel 2007
Most, if not all, businesses in existence have to crack open a spreadsheet at some point. Though simple in concept, spreadsheets are an ideal way to either track information or compute large calculations all in real-time. This is important when you run a business that deals with a large amount of expenses.
Although the importance of how fast a calculation takes in an Excel file is, we include results here since they heavily test the mathematical capabilities of each processor. Because Excel 2007 is completely multi-threaded (it can even take advantage of an 8-Core Skulltrail), it makes for a great benchmark to show the scaling between all of our CPUs.
I’ll let Intel explain the two files we use:
Monte Carlo – This workload calculates the European Put and Call option valuation for Black-Scholes option pricing using Monte Carlo simulation. It simulates the calculations performed when a spreadsheet with input parameters is updated and must recalculate the option valuation. In this scenario we execute approximately 300,000 iterations of Monte Carlo simulation. In addition, the workload uses Excel lookup functions to compare the put price from the model with the historical market price for 50,000 rows to understand the convergence. The input file is a 70.1 MB spreadsheet.
Calculations – This workload executes approximately 28,000 sets of calculations using the most common calculations and functions found in Excel*. These include common arithmetic operations like addition, subtraction, division, rounding and square root. It also includes common statistical analysis functions such as Max, Min, Median and Average. The calculations are performed after a spreadsheet with a large dataset is updated with new values and must re-calculate many data points. The input file is a 6.2 MB spreadsheet.
With this test, we can begin to see some larger differences between the CPUs, but where our Pentium chip is concerned, the differences are minimal. The data-specific nature of the Big Number Crunch file seemed to be more harsh towards our E5200 than the Monte Carlo calculation.