Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

26 Desktop Processors Compared

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the two-bakers-dozens dept.

Intel 192

theraindog writes "The number of different CPU models available from AMD and Intel is daunting to say the least. The Tech Report's latest CPU review makes some sense of the landscape, exploring the performance and power consumption characteristics of more than two dozen desktop processors between the $999 Core i7-975 and more affordable sub-$100 chips. The article also highlights the value proposition offered by each CPU on its own and as a part of the total cost of a system. The resulting scatter plots nicely illustrate which CPUs deliver the best performance per dollar."

cancel ×

192 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Newt Gingrich: Traitor +1, Informative (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270633)

This letter has three main sections. In the first, I argue that some of Newt Gingrich's hangers-on once admittedâ"after considerable tergiversationâ"that yes, he had secretly plotted to feed on the politics of resentment, alienation, frustration, anger, and fear. In the second, I make it clear that he is a man of questionable moral character. And in the third and final section, I conclude that it is up to each of us to institute change. Before I launch into my main topic, I want to make a few matters crystal-clear: (1) Many of our present-day sufferings are the consequence of the asinine relationship between him and what I call mingy publishers of hate literature, and (2) as a result of that, he is secretly saying that I should just turn to a life of crime. Now that you know where I stand on those issues, I can safely say that if we don't bring the communion of knowledge to all of us right now, then Gingrich's campaigns will soon start to metastasize until they retard the free and natural economic development of various countries' indigenous population.

Whether or not you realize this, Gingrich's vicegerents mistake incoherence for sense and think profound anything that is froward or uncontrollable. I don't think anyone questions that. But did you know that some of his screeds raise important questions about future social interactions and their relationship to civil liberties? Anyone with an IQ two points higher than a wet sponge's knows that Gingrich uses the word "literally" when he means "metaphorically". But, even so, Gingrich thinks nothing of violating the spirit of an indigenous people whose art and songs and way of life are proof that Gingrich lies routinelyâ"even under oath. To top that off, Gingrich's epithets are unhealthy and lacking in purpose. In reaching that conclusion I have made the usual assumption that when one examines the ramifications of letting him produce a new generation of sneaky, brassbound wonks whose opinions and prejudices, far from being enlightened and challenged, are simply legitimized, one finds a preponderance of evidence leading to the conclusion that there's no shortage of sin in the world today. It's been around since the Garden of Eden and will unequivocally persist as long as Gingrich continues to engage in the trafficking of human beings.

I find Gingrich's ruinous policies and dubious values unacceptable. So what's the connection between that and Gingrich's quips? The connection is that the irony is that his most inconsiderate campaigns of malice and malignity are also his most virulent. As the French say, "Les extremes se touchent." Gingrich thinks it would be a great idea to insult the intelligence, interests, and life plans of whole groups of people. Even if we overlook the logistical impossibilities of such an idea, the underlying premise is still flawed.

I'm not a psychiatrist. Sometimes, though, I wish I were, so that I could better understand what makes people like Gingrich want to destroy all tradition, all morality, and the entire democratic system. I know more about boosterism than most people. You might even say that I'm an expert on the subject. I can therefore state with confidence that if I have a bias, it is only against grungy, featherbrained sad sacks who crush any semblance of opposition to Gingrich's inhumane metanarratives. When I observe Gingrich's collaborators' behavior, I can't help but recall the proverbial expression, "monkey see, monkey do". That's because, like him, they all want to palm off our present situation as the compelling ground for worldwide favoritism. Also, while a monkey might think that some people deserve to feel safe while others do not, the fact remains that his cronies often reverse the normal process of interpretation. That is, they value the unsaid over the said, the obscure over the clear.

All kidding aside, Gingrich maintains a "Big Brother" dossier of incriminating personal information about everyone he distrusts, to use as a potential weapon. Is your name listed in that dossier? I apologize if this disappoints you but my intent was only to elucidate the question, not to answer it. I shall therefore state only that Gingrich's primary goal is to replace law and order with anarchy and despotism. All of his other objectives are secondary to this one supreme purpose. That's why you must always remember that Gingrich is known for walking into crowded rooms and telling everyone there that vigilantism resonates with the body's natural alpha waves. Try, if you can, to concoct a statement better calculated to show how crafty Gingrich is. You can't do it. Not only that, but he must have recently made a huge withdrawal from the First National Bank of Lies. How else could Gingrich manage to tell us that if he kicks us in the teeth we'll then lick his toes and beg for another kick?

After I get us out of the hammerlock that Gingrich is holding us in, I know that everyone will come to the dismayed conclusion that I stated at the beginning of this discussion: If Gingrich can't cite the basis for his claim that he is as innocent as a newborn lamb then he should just shut up about it. The more I think about venal heresiarchs, the more troubled I become by his ballyhoos. His hysteria-producing bons mots are sufficient to give pause to the less thoughtful among us. "Oh, oh," such people think. "We'd better help Gingrich suck up to savage parvenusâ"just in case."

Gingrich's undertakings have kept us separated for too long from the love, contributions, and challenges of our brothers and sisters in this wonderful adventure we share togetherâ"life! If you were to ask Gingrich, he'd say that he doesn't remember leading to the destruction of the human race. Not only does Gingrich have a very selective memory, but his manuscripts have served as a powerful weapon with which presumptuous, anti-democratic nobodies can call evil good and good evil. Regular readers of my letters probably take that for granted, but if I am to throw down the gauntlet and challenge his deputies to combat the tasteless ideology of scapegoatism that has infected the minds of so many bilious power brokers, I must explain to the population at large that if you looked up "confused" in the dictionary, you'd probably see his picture. Gingrich's taradiddles have a crippling effect on science and technology. If you doubt this, just ask around.

If the left of the current political spectrum is careless insurrectionism and the right is sinister colonialism then Gingrich's politics are indeed going to be a form of obtuse officialism. Should this be discussed in school? You bet. That's the function of education: To teach students how to purge the darkness from Gingrich's heart. Headstrong ideas are continually escaping the confines of Gingrich's (obviously very weak) mind. Let me express that same thought in slightly different terms: Money and greed shape Gingrich's thinking. And here, I avouch, lies a clue to the intellectual vacuum so gapingly apparent in Gingrich's half-measures. Let's be honest here: Gingrich has never satisfactorily proved his assertion that it is his moral imperative to use terms of opprobrium such as "impolitic perjurers" and "coldhearted rascals" to castigate whomever he opposes. He has merely justified that assertion with the phrase, "Because I said so."

Gingrich complains a lot. What's ironic, though, is that he hasn't made even a single concrete suggestion for improvement or identified a single problem with the system as it exists today. After hearing about his clumsy attempts to substitute rumor and gossip for bona fide evidence, I was saddened. I was saddened that he has lowered himself to this level. I use such language purposefullyâ"and somewhat sardonicallyâ"to illustrate how Gingrich enjoys the sense of control that comes from forcing someone else to do things the way he wants them done. Or, to express that sentiment without all of the emotionally charged lingo, if everyone does his own, small part, together we can change the minds of those who censor any incomplicitous canards.

I'll repeat what I've already said: Gingrich's true goal is to produce precisely the alienation and conflict needed to emphasize the negative in our lives instead of accentuating the positive. All the statements that his proxies make to justify or downplay that goal are only apologetics; they do nothing to do what comes naturally. Today, we might have let Gingrich deny the obvious. Tomorrow, we won't. Instead, we will make Gingrich pay for his crimes against humanity. Here's an extraordinary paradox: All of the beastly loonies who shouldn't be allowed to manipulate public understanding of interventionism invariably want to. Now that I've told you what I think, let me end this letter by stating that I fully intend to bring meaning, direction, and purpose into our lives. Let Newt Gingrich tremble. And though the heavens fall, let there be justice.

Re:Newt Gingrich: Traitor +1, Informative (1, Funny)

Itninja (937614) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270793)

tl;dr Also, WTF is a "vicegerent"?

Seems pretty clear: (3, Informative)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270675)

AMD has pretty embarrassing performance on the high end, which makes your choice there downright trivial; but is an excellent value in those niches where they have an entry.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (0)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270769)

So a $1000 i7 Extreme is an easy choice over a $250 Phenom II 955? AMD in a heartbeat

Re:Seems pretty clear: (4, Informative)

caerwyn (38056) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270831)

No, but the $300 i7 920 surely is...

Re:Seems pretty clear: (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271083)

Not if you factor in the motherboard price difference - about $100 for x58 over AM2+. The i7 is brilliant for heavy, multi-threaded workloads but I question how much of that performance is really worth it for an average consumer or even Slashdot reader.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (5, Interesting)

Rockoon (1252108) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271181)

I'd also question its price/longevity scale as well, since the sort of folks who are going to drop $700+ on a basic (no video card, no monitor, no hd's) high performance system are probably the same sort of folks who are going to scrap that box as soon as Larrabee hits.

My AMDx2 3800+ is starting to show its age, but there is no way I am going to buy a high end part with Larrabee so close.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Interesting)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271673)

WHen I can I buy the highest end I can and use it for 5 years.
I might upgrade a video card. After 5 years, it gets deprecated into the house hold pool.
I have 5 year old computers running games like team fortress 2 and wow just fine. Not the highest end graphic performance, but fine enough.

When I build my next box, It will have 16Gigs ram, minimum. Hopefully 32. This will probably stretch it's use out to 8 years.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Insightful)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271959)

That's one way to go, but the most economically sound way to do it has always been (slightly) more frequent upgrade cycles and lower range hardware.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Interesting)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271521)

That's just the motherboard, let alone the processor or ram cost differences. Not to mention they are about to change the socket again rather soon, if I recall correctly (aka 1 year).

AMD changes sockets a lot more gradually, letting people actually, you know, upgrade.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272487)

I upgrade on the order of every four years. This means CPU, MB, RAM and graphics card. No way around it.

That being said, I plan on upgrading to i7 920. My current system is a desktop, mail-, web-, file-, print-, dns-, and dhcp-server, router, firewall, and a few more things I am forgetting. [Of course I run Linux]. My current P4 2.8Ghz (space heater that also does some computation) can't handle much when it I run a simple multi-threaded desktop app. The cpu has 1 core and two "hyperthreads". I look forward to 4 cores and 8 hyperthreads--I could use them. I don't see why other people need a desktop and a server on today's hardware.

I generally think that it's better to get a reasonably priced base system on the latest platform, and then you can do a cheap partial upgrade to the high end version of the platform (off eBay) in two years...

Re:Seems pretty clear: (5, Insightful)

athakur999 (44340) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271145)

The Phenom II X4 955 beats the i7 920 in 3 out of the 4 games they tried. The only one it lost was Cryis Warhead and it was a narrow loss (48 vs. 46 FPS).

These price difference of these two chips is about $35 on Newegg. I think for gamers, getting the X4 955 and putting that extra $35 towards the video card will net better results. This isn't counting the additional cost of DDR2 vs. DDR3 memory which has minimal effect on performance right now but still has a big price difference.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

dr_wheel (671305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272375)

I know that some people hate to hear the "yea, but if you overclock part X" argument, but here goes...

You can pick up a core 2 duo E8400 wolfdale ($168@newegg) and an arctic freezer 7 pro hsf ($37), and perform a very, very modest overclock from 3.0 to 3.33ghz for a total of $205. Hell, you could probably perform this overclock with the stock cooler with no issues and save a further $37.

Now, you have the equivalent of the $270 E8600 c2d which also rates high in their gaming benchmarks (beating the phenom ii 955, i7 920, and even the i7 940 in their hl2 and crysis warhead benches, and only slightly losing to the 955 and i7 940 in farcry 2).

What's the point of all this? If I'm building a gaming PC on any kind of budget, I'm still looking at the easily overclockable and basement bargain c2d, leaving even more money for a faster gpu. I have yet to see a compelling argument for 3-4 cores for gaming. For example, look at this price/performance data:

Unreal Tournament 3 - 1680x1050
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q3-2008/Unreal-Tournament-3-1680x1050,819.html [tomshardware.com]
Q9650 - $325 @ newegg - 149.7 fps
E8500 - $190 @ newegg - 133.7 fps

71% increase in cost for an 11% increase in performance.

Crysis - 1680x1050
http://www.tomshardware.com/charts/desktop-cpu-charts-q3-2008/Crysis-1680x1050,818.html [tomshardware.com]
Q9650 - $325 @ newegg - 132.4 fps
E8500 - $190 @ newegg - 134.8 fps

71% increase in cost vs. a 2% decrease in performance.

Sure, you could make the argument that future games will likely utilize 4 cores more effectively. But when? I'd wager a guess that we aren't really going to see a significant advantage to quad-core gaming for a few years yet. Just about enough time to plan the next pc upgrade!

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272499)

"Now, you have the equivalent of the $270 E8600 c2d which also rates high in their gaming benchmarks (beating the phenom ii 955, i7 920, and even the i7 940 in their hl2 and crysis warhead benches, and only slightly losing to the 955 and i7 940 in farcry 2)."

Maybe I'm missing something but the links you posted do not show the E8600 beating the 920, 940 or 955, except where it beats a 920 by less than 1 frame per second. All that tells me is that games are not CPU bound.

"71% increase in cost vs. a 2% decrease in performance.

Sure, you could make the argument that future games will likely utilize 4 cores more effectively. But when? I'd wager a guess that we aren't really going to see a significant advantage to quad-core gaming for a few years yet. Just about enough time to plan the next pc upgrade!"


I'm not a gamer, but remember, your computer has a process scheduler that will thread processes to each core. So, as opposed to a synthetic benchmark, in real life, you may be doing several things when playing games. Virus scan, listening to an mp3, downloading a torrent. All of those things would be offloaded to idle cores, without affecting your gaming at all.

With that said, if all you do is play video games, your best bang for your buck is probably an AMD processor followed closely by something like an E8X00, no doubt. Remember, most of the time you're much better off just dumping any extra money into a better graphics card. Of course you'll get a lot more longevity out of upgrading to something like an i7 920 and upgrading the entire platform.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271517)

I got my i7 920 for $199.99 from Microcenter (in-store only). I have the receipt right here (still need to do the rebates for other comp. bits)

1/3 off the CPU was certainly a major decision for this last build.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

Rewind (138843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271129)

So a $1000 i7 Extreme is an easy choice over a $250 Phenom II 955?

AMD in a heartbeat

Why exactly are you comparing an extreme model to a Phenom? The Extremes are sort of an outlier. Also it is all relative. For a 'high end desktop processor' I would take a $180ish E8400 over a $200ish X4 940. Then again if you are really using a lot of applications that would benefit from quad the tables could easily be flipped. Really all depends on what you are running etc. Either way I think most people consider Intel's extreme models out of the realm of desktop PC, gamer or no. They obviously sell or Intel wouldn't have them, but they have never really been a great value to most imo.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (2, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272169)

I agree so much I'm going to take it to the next level:

Almost all hardware today is ridiculously powerful for ridiculously cheap. Review sites implicitly agree by reviewing at full detail 1600x1200 or higher.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271167)

For somebody motivated primarily by performance, not price/performance, yes.

I am not one such; but they are hardly nonexistent.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270813)

Not embarrassing, just not as fast. However, a Ferrari is vastly more powerful for the money, but a Corvette is still the much better deal -- do I really need to explain this on here?

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270957)

The Corvette ZR1 has more horsepower and is less expensive than any current Ferrari.

I love Ferrari... but the Corvette needs no apologies at all!

Re:Seems pretty clear: (4, Funny)

characterZer0 (138196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270991)

It does if you want to turn.

Or if you want to not look like a redneck.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (2, Informative)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271113)

A quick glance through some magazine tables shows the ZR1 with more grip (1.05 g or more) on a skidpad than any Ferrari, as well. Only the Viper ACR has done better.

Rednecks don't drive cars that cost more than 100K USD.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

EastCoastSurfer (310758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271287)

Only the Viper ACR has done better.

So they finally fixed the Viper? I remember that used to be one of its biggest drawbacks - tons of power, but awful handling if you needed to do anything other than drive in a straight line.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271873)

Rednecks don't drive cars that cost more than 100K USD.

True, but some of us do have 100K lawn ornaments!

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272513)

Skidpad numbers doen't translate directly into handling. That said, the zr1 is an exceptional value and an amazing automobile.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (5, Insightful)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271189)

Not to mention that for most folks that "ludicrous speed" is simply overkill. I've been building my customers a mix of Pentium Duals and AMD 7550s and all they can talk about is how blazing fast they are. Because for most of the stuff folks are doing today, even games, the CPU is rarely the bottleneck and passed "good enough" a few years back.

So at least for my customers and myself (I liked how the last AMD 7550 ran so quiet so I built one for myself) it is more about "bang for the buck" and when I can build a nice AMD 7550 with 4Gb of RAM, a 780 board along with a 300Gb Sata 2 and a nice black case for $281 shipped it is just nuts to blow all that extra cash in this economy to get a bigger epeen. For most of us even the bottom of the line dual cores are sitting idle a good 80% of the time, so why blow the extra cash? I just checked process Explorer and with 9 tabs plus Comodo Internet Security on XP X64 I've still got 3.2Gb of RAM free and am only using an average of 1.4% CPU, plus I got another 1Gb of RAM on the $50 HD4650 for watching videos.

Considering my first machine was a VIC20 where I had to peek and poke everything all this extra power is nice, but I doubt I'll be saying "you know what? I need more power!" for quite awhile yet. So for a box that cost a hair over $500 counting the OS and GPU I'm a happy little camper. While having ludicrous speed might be good if I was doing major CAD or graphics work, for the things that myself and my customers do with their PCs there just really isn't a point. Hell I gave my nearly 5 year old 3.6GHz P4 to my oldest and he is blasting zombies in Left4Dead even as we speak, so even that CPU is "good enough" for what he wants to do with it. The "bang for the buck" you get nowadays even on the low end is frankly unreal!

Re:Seems pretty clear: (4, Funny)

Latinhypercube (935707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271253)

Wait until your kid is 3d rendering in Maya and you will be screaming for 8 core Xeons.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272159)

Hell I gave my nearly 5 year old 3.6GHz P4 to my oldest and he is blasting zombies in Left4Dead even as we speak

I read this sentence, and at first I thought you were saying you let your "nearly 5 year old" kid play Left 4 Dead!

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

bangthegong (1190059) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272301)

There are some niche markets where price/performance or raw speed matter, but for the majority of buyers it's irrelevant. I've recently convinced my baby-boomer parents to get a new computer, and in the store they kept asking about the speed as though they would have any clue what 2.4GHz meant anyway. I finally convinced them it was the features other than speed they should consider, and as long as the computer has a modern CPU it was going to work for them just fine. Good enough is good enough for most people nowadays! There are some cases where it matters even for the average user (such as the differences between netbook processors) but for anything with a dual core or quad core, forget it. It is all "fast".

Re:Seems pretty clear: (0, Offtopic)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271201)

I think that by choosing Corvette you made you car analogy inadequate (and that would be inexcusable! ;p )

You were looking for any Porsche or Audi R8...things you can actually use for daily driving.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272521)

Not embarrassing, just not as fast. However, a Ferrari is vastly more powerful for the money, but a Corvette is still the much better deal -- do I really need to explain this on here?

Yes. In my experience, computer nerds and muscle car freaks are groups that seldom overlap. As far as I'm concerned Ferraris and Corvettes the same thing, impractical expensive cars for those going through a mid life crisis. I have no idea what you are trying to convey with this analogy.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

sanosuke001 (640243) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270837)

Forgot to add...

The only thing I'd get the i7 over the phenom ii's for is triple channel ram. That's the only upside I see with Intel chips.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Insightful)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270911)

Well now, they are faster. They're just not $800 faster. Nowhere near it.

Not to mention that the corresponding hardware you have to buy with a Core i7 (the expensive motherboard, the expensive triple channel ram) makes it even more not worth it.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (0)

jgtg32a (1173373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271421)

I thought that the phenoms could do triple channel if you put them on an AM3 board, IIRC Intel has the memory controls on the chip itself and and AMD puts them on the motherboard

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Informative)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271811)

The consumer i7 chips do not support ECC RAM while the AMD ones do. That could be important to some.

Even better value with integrated gfx (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270927)

AMD would end up with even better value on low-end if the cheap AMD system was built on a mobo with integrated GFX...which is good enough for everything except recent GFX-intensive games.

Yeah, there are always Nvidia chipsets...but for some reason motherboards with them are definitely more expensive (at least where I shop) than comparable ones (both with AMD and Nv chipsets) for AMD platform.

Re:Even better value with integrated gfx (2, Informative)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272063)

Seconded. I have a Radeon HD3200 and an Athlon 7750 in my Mythbuntu media center, and I couldn't be happier. Plays HD video like a dream and the total system including 4GB of RAM and 4 1TB hard drives clocks in at around $600 or so, $700 with the nice Antec case I got for it.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270935)

Plot isn't that clear to me at all.

Price/performance is slope on that graph, and AMD looks pretty good at first look, occupying a band mostly on the top-left.

They ought to have plotted performance on the independent axis vs. price/performance on the y axis. And put that sucker on a log-log plot. Then we'll see who's got the best price/performance for various performance levels.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270951)

I don't know about that, the AMD X4 955 is on par performance and price wise with the Intel Q9550. Of course, the i7 line is probably what you mean by high end, but you're paying at least $200 - $900 more for a 25-75% performance gain.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (3, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271177)

Personally I don't find it that trivial; never before has the best choice been so extremely dependent on what you need the performance for.

Say you've got some eminently parallel task, like ray tracing. With the huge price/performance difference between low end and high end you might beat the high end in performance by buying two cheap systems rather than one expensive. Look at the i7-940; it's just barely twice as fast as the cheapest CPU, yet it costs six times as much. That price would easily accommodate a cheap motherboard and memory and you'd still be shelling out less.

On the other hand, say you have very few parallel tasks, then you may still be as well off with a cheap CPU. Without several tasks you're not going so see much difference between a dual core CPU with good per-core performance and a quad core. Not an entirely rare situation when talking about desktop systems.

Or you might be in the sweet spot of latency sensitive parallel tasks, possibly applicable to some games, in which case a more expensive quad core CPU might definitely be what you're looking for.

And add to that the need for actual application specific benchmarks to determine actual performance as opposed to generic benchmarks... well, I wouldn't call the choice trivial.

Re:Seems pretty clear: (0)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272131)

"AMD has pretty embarrassing performance on the high end"

But it was interesting to see all the lower end AMD models being of equal performance and just a few dollars cheaper than the Intel counterparts.

My issue with the graph is someone needs to take a class on "how to make a graph". 0% performance and $0 cpu.... why? Was there a $0 cpu? Did any of the cpus get a 0%? So instead of a nice, full graph that explains everything easily they have big empty white spaces at the x-y axis, then a cluster of ~20 plot points within a small area. Over half the graph is empty: from 0% to 275%, 0-100% is empty, and 250% to 275% is empty, so nearly half the graph is empty white space. Fail

Re:Seems pretty clear: (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272523)

In science we call that honesty. You can make a tiny little difference look REALLY BIG by cropping your graph so that it only shows a very tiny range. By showing the origin tiny differences look, well, tiny.

Prediction (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270689)

The economy will improve, but except for Barack Obama, niggers will continue to get worse.

Re:Prediction (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270725)

I concur.

Re:Prediction (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270757)

I concur too.

Oh, man! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270697)

Damn, $999? Why not $666?

Correlation is positive (3, Insightful)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270715)

The first take away I get is that there is an actual, substantial positive correlation between cost and performance. This is a good thing. If I were in a cynical mood I would have guessed that the correlation would have been small or non-existent. The other thing to note is that there are some CPUs that by this metric are clearly just not very worth it where their are cheaper ones that perform better. So, more expensive generally means better, but not always. So CPUs are sort of like wine?

Re:Correlation is positive (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270765)

You perhaps aren't cynical enough. I wonder how much this chart would change if the chips were overclocked. That would tell you if some of the slower processors were simply underclocked versions of the faster ones.

Re:Correlation is positive (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272003)

And perhaps you're too cynical.
Judging overclocked chips?

Are we talking about a 32 second test, or a test over several months?

Does the overclocked $250 system catch your house on fire after 6 hours of gaming?

Re:Correlation is positive (3, Funny)

TinBromide (921574) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270877)

yup, just like cars (Once upon a time, you could spend 36k USD for a pt cruiser), houses, internet subscriptions, insurance, meat, items on ebay, and just about anything that has a varied price range and is subject to advertising, brand loyalty, or outright cons.

I've always tended to get right behind the cutting edge, processors usually take a dive in price and speed, Like when i bought my processor, i paid 300 for a quad core intel last summer, the next step up was 395, then 600, then 1000, but the 1000 wasn't 3.3x faster, the 600 wasn't 2x faster, etc. However, the $150 intel chip was 40% slower, so the price/performance sort of follows a log function where the trick is finding the right place before the price starts to skyrocket in relation to performance. I'm sure that if you could find a bunch of old pentium 1 processors on the super cheap, in bulk, you might get the same price/performance as a new mid-level intel chip, but why would you want to run a beowulf cluster to get the same throughput? (Ignoring the price of all of the other components, since the article is price/cost of the cpu alone, that was the metric i went by as well).

I wonder what the price/performance ratio of a pentium 1 that cost $0.01 is.

Well, I suppose that running a beowulf cluster is it's own reward.

Re:Correlation is positive (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271057)

Aside from the possitive correlation, the other main point I would take away is the apparent 'knee' in the chart at about the $300 mark.

Seems that is the point of diminising returns.

Re:Correlation is positive (1)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271781)

So CPUs are sort of like wine?

I get your underlying point, but wine has more subjective values (wine enthusiasts would debate this though) that come into play whereas CPUs have more quantifiable comparisons. That said, for both CPUs and wine I would think that most of the people who are buying "high end" products they are a little more discerning about their purchases.

Re:Correlation is positive (1)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272089)

The other thing to note is that there are some CPUs that by this metric are clearly just not very worth it where their are cheaper ones that perform better.

Depends on how much you value the time it takes to complete $PROCESSOR_INTENSIVE_TASK. If I hired software engineers for $100,000 a year, that's $1 a minute and so it might very well be "worth it" to spend $1000 on the latest N-core processor (compilation being nearly infinitely parallel) if that save 5 minutes per compile over 200 compiles on the year.

The only thing the plot proves is that there are diminishing returns, not that any particular price/performance point is not "worth it".

Small graph (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270743)

That graph is so squished together I can hardly decipher some of it. There seem to be more dots than labels.

Only Intel compatible .... (2, Interesting)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270869)

if they want to talk about desktop processors come back to me when they talk about decent choice, what about the ARM ?

I am fed up with all these people who think that all the world is Intel compatible -- when there are better CPUs out there.

Re:Only Intel compatible .... (3, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270979)

They'll cover ARM when someone sells a motherboard with a socket I can stick a 2+ GHz quad-core ARM in and get performance equal to an equivalent AMD or Intel chip.

As it stands, ARM is irrelevant outside the embedded/pda/non-x86 netbook scope.

Re:Only Intel compatible .... (1)

Rewind (138843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271011)

ARM is largely irrelevant to the regular desktop PC. Not totally, but pretty close. Why exactly do you think an ARM processor would be superior?

Re:Only Intel compatible .... (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271067)

Um, ARM CPUs really aren't high end in the least. Sure, they might be decent enough for web browsing, but tell me whenever I can get an ARM CPU that can render, play games, etc. Until then I'm sticking with x86. All ARM-based CPUs are good for is low power systems like phones, etc.

GBA, DS, and DSi have ARM CPUs (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272047)

tell me whenever I can get an ARM CPU that can render, play games, etc.

Games? Nintendo has put ARM CPUs in its handhelds since mid-2001.

Re:Only Intel compatible .... (1)

pankkake (877909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271069)

You mean there are powerful ARM CPUs suited for heavy desktop usage?

Too bad (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271077)

Because desktop PCs of the world DO run Intel compatible chips, and that is just how it is. Doesn't matter if you don't think it should be that way, that's how it is and that's what tech sites deal with. Windows is of course the by far dominant desktop OS with over 90% market share. Well Windows only runs on Intel and AMD chips. Most versions are x86 and x64 only, there are a few IA64 (Itanium) versions. No ARM, no Power, etc.

After Windows is MacOS. All new Macs sold for a number of years have been Intel chips only. Until recently they did provide support for their older PPC desktops, but no more. The latest MacOS is Intel only.

After those two, is Linux. Now Linux can, in theory, run on any CPU. Search hard enough and you'll find distros for just about anything. However we are talking desktop PCs. So who's the biggest there? Ubuntu. It's primary platforms? x64 and x64. There technically are PPC and SPARC versions, but no ARM. Also the SPARC and PPC support are very unofficial. PPC support was for PPC Macs, and officially ended at version 6.10.

Now all the OSes aside, there is the simple matter of hardware, which is what this site was talking about. Where do you go to buy an ARM desktop? I am not aware of any vendors selling them. So you can't very well do a price/performance comparison for a desktop that doesn't exist.

So please, less whining about irrelevant BS. If you like ARM that's wonderful, and ARM chips are used in many devices. ARM is extremely popular in the mobile arena, for example. However desktop computers are x86 and x64. That's just life. Don't get pissey with hardware sites when they deal with that reality. They aren't in business to push your viewpoint, they are in business to help people make buying decisions.

Windows Mobile for subnotebooks (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272109)

Windows only runs on Intel and AMD chips.

Unless it's Windows CE. I seem to remember that some early examples of what everyone but Psion now calls "netbooks" [wikipedia.org] ran Windows CE.

Where do you go to buy an ARM desktop? I am not aware of any vendors selling them.

There used to be desktop computers that run RISC OS [wikipedia.org] , but I get your point.

Re:Only Intel compatible .... (1)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271125)

It makes little sense to compare ARM boards. They are usually power-optimized (with peripherals consuming substantial fraction of power), not performance-optimized. Also, end-user devices might be underclocked and undervoltaged. Besides, if you want performance with non-x86 CPUs, then look at MIPS CPUs (which are usually used for things like AV processing in set-top boxes).

Now, a comparison of end-used devices (netbooks/phones) with ARM/MIPS CPUs might actually make sense.

A better solution. (5, Interesting)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270885)

What is the cheapest CPU that can playback 780P flash well?
That is probably a good CPU for 99% of the population. Flash is a resource hog and is likely to be most intensive thing that most people use.
The next step up would be to list several games and see what is the cheapest CPU that can play them at say 60FPS at good settings with a $99 video card.

If your a video editor, hardcore PC gamer, transcode a lot of video, or run CAD get the fastest CPU you can afford.
So hard core types should buy I7s and pretty much everybody else should buy AMDs once you take into account ram and motherboard prices.

Also if you are planing on running virtual machines AMD are often a better choice. Intel doesn't support virtualization on a lot of their CPUs while I think AMD does on their AM2 and up CPUs.

Re:A better solution. (3, Insightful)

wjh31 (1372867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271033)

if all you want is 720P flash, pretty much anything on the market will do. My wifes laptop with a C2D T2080 @ 1.73GHz manages it fine. when comparing it against other desktop processors of similar performance on here: (http://www.cpubenchmark.net/cpu_lookup.php?cpu=Intel+T2080+%40+1.73GHz), and then looking it up on ebuyer.com, suggests that a £40 proccesor is fine for 720p flash.

Re:A better solution. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271143)

That is kind of the point. If you want to step it up then go for one that supports 1080p and that will be good enough for most people.
And actually I think the Atom doesn't handle 720p all that well yet.

That is the interesting thing about CPUs today. The best price to performance ratio isn't always important.
If you have no need for the extra performance don't get it. As it is very few applications will use an I7 well. Most people just don't need 8 threads.

Re:A better solution. (1)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272589)

"And actually I think the Atom doesn't handle 720p all that well yet."

Incorrect. NVIDIA Ion based nettops are already playing 1080p video smooth as silk. It's more about the graphics adapter than it is the Atom.

Re:A better solution. (1)

jackharrer (972403) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272093)

I'm doing it on IBM T42 with 1.7GHz PIV and Radeon 9700. That's like 4 years old. We really don't need faster processors we have already for general use computing. Games on the other hand...

I use Ubuntu (with Compiz), but I suppose Windows should be also fine, probably even better as drivers are faster.

Flash is a resource hog? Little red riding hood! (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271043)

Flash is a resource hog? Little Red Riding Hood for you!

http://vimeo.com/3514904 [vimeo.com]

How can you call that a hog? It is a blast, on any CPU.

Re:A better solution. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271199)

Flash sucks. Use HTML5.

Re:A better solution. (2, Interesting)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271407)

You mean 720P flash I assume, or, less likely, 480P. 780P isn't a standard high-def resolution.

But, to answer your question, probably the new class of netbook like the Pegatron [engadget.com] , which, interestingly enough is running a Freescale processor with an ARM based core. This little netbook also has flash based GPU acceleration (supposedly), is incredibly thin and sports I think 6 hours of battery life.

Re:A better solution. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271545)

Sorry that was a typo. Yes I meant 720P
And yes I think one of those ARM notebooks would be very handy.

tl;dr (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270903)

Honestly, I can't be bothered any more. If I need a CPU I'll just buy whichever one fits my budget & choice of motheboard (which frankly is far more likely to decide my choice of CPU than anything else).

Re:tl;dr (1)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271331)

Honestly, it doesn't matter much any more. Except for certain things like audio and video ripping/encoding, 3D design rendering, etc., most any modern dual-core CPU will do whatever a home user needs just fine. Yes, even for gaming. I'm running a socket AM2 Athlon 5600+ and it's not been a bottleneck yet. My video card could stand to be upgraded for some games though.

So your method of choosing a CPU makes more sense than any other right now.

All those cpus are not something i really need (1, Offtopic)

holywarrior21c (933929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270949)


I spent about $300 to build a whole new system, not $300 for a cpu. I bought about dozen computers in the past year for work. I found those $300 sufficient to build adequate system for regular web browsing/office work with Vista running on those computers.
I think it is more important to compare combination of 3 different parts or the system as a whole. Just by adding large amount of Ram boosts performance. In some cases having SSD as a HDD helps.
In reality, i find that you can easily spend a lot of money to buy "outlier" parts just you want best of what you can get to help work done a bit faster. Few grand in difference doesn't seem like foolish investment when it comes to professional video editing and graphical design. Time really is money for many jobs. Few minutes add up and become hours over a week. That will alter work output by chunks.

Re:All those cpus are not something i really need (2, Funny)

PIBM (588930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271173)

With vista ? There must not be much money left for the hardware!

In my day (1)

lavacano201014 (999580) | more than 5 years ago | (#28270981)

We didn't have 26 processors to compare. We had two: The kind they put in computers, and our brains. And let me tell you, our brains overshot the computers.

Ancient CPUs (upgrade comparison) (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28270989)

Do any of the CPU reviews use old CPUs? What I what to know is how much faster today's CPU is compared to my 3-6 year old CPU, but these hardware reviews typically have a low end much newer/faster than my current system. Practically, a 50% CPU edge is too marginal for me to upgrade, but if a new system was 3X faster than my current aging machine I would be tempted!

Re:Ancient CPUs (upgrade comparison) (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271087)

Do any of the CPU reviews use old CPUs? What I what to know is how much faster today's CPU is compared to my 3-6 year old CPU, but these hardware reviews typically have a low end much newer/faster than my current system. Practically, a 50% CPU edge is too marginal for me to upgrade, but if a new system was 3X faster than my current aging machine I would be tempted!

tomshardware.com

Re:Ancient CPUs (upgrade comparison) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271207)

Err, tomshardware.com doesn't usually go back that far. One CPU generation typically, sometimes two, so say 2-3 years. Do they do a yearly deep past comparison that I've missed?

Re:Ancient CPUs (upgrade comparison) (4, Informative)

dr_wheel (671305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271257)

Tom's cpu chart is a great tool, but they don't generally compare older chips to newer ones. They also change the testing credentials from time to time, so there's no real way to directly compare old vs. new.

Anandtech has a new cpu benchmark site that compares everything from a single-core atom up to the top-of-the-line core i7. They've also recently added two pentium 4 chips to the mix so you really can directly compare them to the newer stuff. Check it out:

http://www.anandtech.com/bench/ [anandtech.com]

What I'm seeing... (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271071)

The performance scales sub-linearly with the price, and ends up almost flat at the extreme end. This means you need to examine the cost of SMP vs. a more powerful CPU. Two X2 6400+ chips in an SMP should give you about the same performance at the same cost as one i7-920, after you add in the extra for the upgraded chipsets and mobo.

More powerful low-end chips become more and more effective when SMPed versus their higher-end rivals. The other benefit of going SMP is that you have fewer cores sharing the same cache, therefore increase the number of distinct tasks you can perform in parallel effectively without cache-flooding.

Of course, you can't SMP forever - the largest SMP array you can make before the system slows down by more than the CPU increases performance is 16-way. Even before then, you lose linear scaling fairly early on. So you end up balancing the different CPUs against the different methods of arranging them to get the best performance for your money.

Re:What I'm seeing... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272151)

No shit Sherlock. Please link to a motherboard that supports 2 X2s. Not Opterons, X2s.

What you say? There are none? Guess your whole post just became pointless.

Re:What I'm seeing... (2, Insightful)

jon3k (691256) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272413)

Dual and Quad socket motherboards are exceptionally expensive and typically require registered/ecc RAM. I would genuinely like to see a setup with comparable CPU features to say, a core i7 920, where you'd get comparable performance for the price using two processors. (no used prices obviously, since we need apples v apples).

Tech Report Slashdotted (1)

Xsydon (1099321) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271073)

Looks like Tech Report has been slashdotted.

Re:Tech Report Slashdotted (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271303)

Just curious. How does anything actually get slashdotted when no one actually RTFAs. Or maybe I'm just new around here and don't yet fully understand the term.

Re:Tech Report Slashdotted (2, Funny)

twidarkling (1537077) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271601)

easy, people click, then get scared of all the words, and run away. But they still access the page.

/.'ed (5, Funny)

dr_wheel (671305) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271091)

Apparently, the tech report should have benchmarked their web server before putting this article up.

Re:/.'ed (0, Flamebait)

Xsydon (1099321) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271163)

Looks like they use AMD. ;)

The site got slashdotted. (0, Redundant)

CEHT (164909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271109)

4:27pm EDT, the site is broken because this is being /.-ed. Power of social media!

i7 920 - the most cost effective? (1)

CEHT (164909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271227)

Haven't finish reading the report before the site gone under, but the i7 920 seems to be the most cost-effective according to their statistics.

Will they tell us what CPUs their DB are running? (1)

Lorens (597774) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271165)

The site seems to be working with an empty database after being slashdotted.

Article doesn't really talk about features (5, Informative)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271183)

Its too bad the article doesn't talk about things like Execute Disable, Virtualization support, etc. For a power user audience like /. these are important considerations.

For me not being able to install Xen, or Windows 7 XP mode, etc are complete deal killers. I want CPUs with those features, especially when shopping "value CPUs".

Getting something like an E8190 is a mistake that will bite a /. power user in the ass eventually even if it is a few bucks cheaper than an E8200 and delivers the same performance, at the same wattage, etc...

Re:Article doesn't really talk about features (1)

memnoch37 (1047172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272337)

Its too bad the article doesn't talk about things like Execute Disable, Virtualization support, etc. For a power user audience like /. these are important considerations.

For me not being able to install Xen, or Windows 7 XP mode, etc are complete deal killers. I want CPUs with those features, especially when shopping "value CPUs".

Getting something like an E8190 is a mistake that will bite a /. power user in the ass eventually even if it is a few bucks cheaper than an E8200 and delivers the same performance, at the same wattage, etc...

I completely agree. I recently put together a new pc for myself and I almost went with the recommended CPU from this article, the Q8400. Then I realized Win7's XP mode won't even run without hardware virtualization, which that chip lacks. The Q9400 is only slightly more expensive, has a larger cache, and has hardware vt, making it a no-brainer for me.

Intel Atom 330 (3, Informative)

Eil (82413) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271379)

I've been something of an AMD fanboy ever since the Athlon came out, but I just bought an Intel Atom 330 for a lightweight file server, and I have to say I'm thoroughly impressed. 64-bit, dual-core, virtualization extensions, and low-power to boot for around $80 which includes the motherboard. Simply unbeatable.

Also wanted to mention that these guys [cpubenchmark.net] have easy-to-read benchmark charts of a wide variety of CPUs. Certainly more than the 26 in TFA. Benchmarks don't tell the whole story of course, but it's a good start for quick-and-dirty comparison.

I just priced out two mid-level gaming systems (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 5 years ago | (#28271387)

$1025.93

All Parts from Newegg.com

$52.99 HDD -- N82E16822148262 - (Seagate 500GB SATA3G)

$159.99 Motherboard - N82E16813188043 - EVGA 780i

$219.99 CPU - N82E16819115131 - Q9400 C2Quad 2.66Ghz

$47.98 RAM - N82E16820104072 - Kingston HyperX 4Gb (2x2Gb)

$139.99 - PSU - N82E16817139009 - Corsair 850W

$99.99 - Case - N82E16811129021 - Antec 900

$189.99 - GTX260 - N82E16814130372 - EVGA 896-P3-1262

$25.99 - DVD+-RW - N82E168271361532 - LG DVD+-RW w/ Lightscribe

The other was an AMD-based system that costed about the same.

Both give similar performance and both will suit their owners needs just fine.

Screw a whole bunch of $1000 CPUs. I'll take $1000 systems anyday.

Re:I just priced out two mid-level gaming systems (1)

Spatial (1235392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28272023)

Criticism: they could've been $900 systems if you dropped the quads and got 500W Corsair PSUs.

The computers are only going to use around 350W at max load. Games don't utilise more than two cores (with some rare exceptions) so you could've got better real-world performance for less money with a dual core CPU. The E8400 for example.

Re:I just priced out two mid-level gaming systems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272085)

$1000 for mid level ? WTF are you smoking, and will you share with the rest of us?

For me, $400 is a decent gaming system, and $1000 is a super-high-end uber-elite gaming rig.

Figures (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28271411)

Surprisingly enough a site comparing Procs is down once posted on /.

Good thing I switched to Mac (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28272311)

I don't have to know much about hardware except to know the differences between the Mac models.

You see that as being limited in choices, I see that as "I have better things to do than be a hardware-knowing nerd all my life".

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?