by Rob Williams on August 17, 2007 in Processors
One of the most popular CPUs on the market right now is the Q6600, thanks to the fact that it offers four cores at 2.4GHz. But what about the Xeon’s? Their prices are also more affordable now, with their X3210 2.13GHz retailing for $260. Read on as we pit this Quad-Core against the rest of our fleet.
SYSmark is an industry leading system benchmarking tool, which is completely automated but utilizes real-world tests. It installs common applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, Photoshop CS2, 3DS Max, SketchUp! among others.
SYSmark grades the performance of the system by how well it could handle different operations. Systems with more than one core will benefit in the tests, since there is a lot of multi-tasking throughout. Once the test is completed, it will provide you with an overall score, in addition to showing areas where the computer excelled.
Running the entire suite shows us that this benchmark is totally capable of handing out appropriate scores for very fast CPUs. There are a few interesting points here. First is the fact that the extra CPU power helped the QX6850 storm past the others in the 3D tests, scoring a full 40 points higher than the 2.4GHz Q6600 and 53 points higher than our X3210. This is one benchmark where it seems faster Dual-Cores could outperform slower Quad-Cores.
According to SYSmark, an E6750 is essentially on par with our X3210. If the suite put a greater push on using all of the available cores, we would have seen different results. However, it’s at that point when the scenario would no longer be realistic. This does show us that Quad-Cores are not necessarily required for multi-tasking in an everyday environment though.
When thinking about faster processors or processors with more cores, multi-media projects immediately come to mind as being the prime suspects for having the greatest benefit. However, anyone who regularly uses Linux knows that a faster processor can greatly improve application compiling, with the GCC compiler. Programmers themselves would see the greatest benefit, especially those who find themselves recompiling their application every few hours.
Even if you don’t use Linux, the results found here can benefit programmers in general, or those who simply wish to know what faster frequencies and additional cores are capable of. GCC is completely multithreaded friendly, so the results found here should represent the average increase you would see with similar multithreaded applications.
For testing, we use Fedora 7 x86, as it’s an easy distro to install and maintain. It’s not bloated, which is important as well. Our target is a copy of Wine 0.9.30. The distro is based on the 2.6.21 Linux kernel and we are using GCC 4.1.2 as our compiler. For single core testing, “time make” was used while dual and quad core compilations used “time make -j 3” and “time make -j 5”, respectively.
As a single-core application, the X3210 was outpaced by everything, given the lower clockspeed, but when put into full gear (all four cores) it surpassed the Dual-Core processors on hand. If you have the need to compile, a Quad-Core of any speed is going to be amazing.