Intel Pentium Extreme Edition 840 3.2 GHz
Intel Pentium D 840 3.2 GHz
Intel Pentium 4 540 3.2 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 3800+ 2.4 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 X2 3800+ 2.0 GHz
AMD Athlon 64 4800+ 2.4 GHz
Intel D975XBX Motherboard
ASUS A8N32-SLI Deluxe Motherboard
ATI Radeon X1800 XT with Catalyst 5.13
34GB Western Digital Raptor (10,000RPM, 8MB cache)
Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2
Desktop resolution 1024x768, 32-bit color, 85Hz refresh
Let’s talk about our configuration choices here for a second. On the Intel side, I chose three similarly clocked Pentium processors. Comparisons between the two 840s help determine just how many threads Quake 4 is capable of recognizing. Comparing the 840 and 540 reveals the impact of a second physical core of similar design (I could have used the 640 instead, but then we’d get into issues over 1MB of L2 cache versus 2MB and so on).
For the AMD platform, we have a pair of 3800+ processors, which should shed some light on the value of similarly rated models, one with one core and one with two. Because they aren’t running at the same speed, though, it’s hard to really flesh out the benefits of threading. Thus, the single-core 3800+ is being compared to the dual-core 4800+, both at 2.4 GHz.
You’ll also notice that we’re running an ATI Radeon X1800 XT. In light of previously confirmed issues with NVIDIA’s latest drivers and this threading-aware patch, we’ll reserve judgment on GeForce 7-series cards for another day.