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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [02.02.04]
Manufactured by: Intel

Prices: 3.2GHz: $278
3.4 GHz: $417

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SYSmark 04: Internet Content Creation

And here is the reason our Prescott review is 12 hours late: SYSmark 04. If I didn't think it was such an important benchmark, I'd have dropped it. However I do think it is a very important benchmark, as it uses REAL real-world applications to test performance. So after waiting approximately 3.5 hours per benchmark run, multiplied by the 9 CPU's we used, I am happy to provide you with SYSmark 04 numbers. Unfortunately WebMark 04 didn't go quite as well, as I was unable to product consistent numbers in some tests...

You will probably want to read BapCo's whitepaper on SYSmark 04 for the full details on how this benchmark works.

Starting with the Internet Content Creation half of SYSmark 04, here is a list of the applications used in this test:

Adobe® After Effects® 5.5
Adobe® Photoshop® 7.01
Adobe® Premiere® 6.5
Discreet® 3ds max® 5.1
Macromedia® Dreamweaver® MX
Macromedia® Flash MX
Microsoft® Windows Media® Encoder 9 Series
Network Associates® McAfee® VirusScan® 7.0
WinZip Computing WinZip® 8.1

If you use these applications extensively, be sure to give the following results your full attention, as they will mean quite a bit to you.

Let's start with the overall Internet Content Creation score, which uses ALL the results to compile what may be the 'best overall' CPU for ICC:

Here we can see that Prescott lags behind by a very small margin. This has to be considered great news, because we saw what SSE2 did for Northwood, so SSE3 can only improve performance from here. Again we are seeing a huge increase in performance due to Hyperthreading, and this is real-world too, not number crunching. If you are buying a P4, you should probably only ever consider a HT model.

The overall score may not tell the whole story however; let's look at some detailed results. If you are wondering what exactly is being done in these tests, we'll give you the description of each from the whitepaper.

3D Creation: The user renders a 3D model to a bitmap using 3ds max 5.1, while preparing web pages in Dreamweaver MX. Then the user renders a 3D animation in a vector graphics format.

2D Creation: The user uses Premiere 6.5 to create a movie from several raw input movie cuts and sound cuts and starts exporting it. While waiting on this operation, the user imports the rendered image into Photosho 7.01, modifies it and saves the results. Once the movie is assembled, the user edits it and creates special effects using After Effects 5.5

Web Publication: The user extracts content from an archive using WinZip 8.1. Meanwhile, he uses Flash MX to open the exported 3D vector graphics file. He modifies it by including other pictures and optimizes it for faster animation. The final movie with the special effects is then compressed using Windows Media Encoder 9 series in a format that can be broadcast over broadband internet. The web site is given the final touches in Dreamweaver MX and the system is scanned by VirusScan 7.0

After reading those descriptions, you can see why the results benefit greatly from Hyperthreading support. Running all those applications at the same time is exactly where the Pentium 4 excels, and that is why you can get the same performance from a 3.0 GHz P4 that you can from a 3400+ Athlon 64. The extra L2 cache is probably what is helping the Prescott out here.

If you are more of an office-application type of guy, check out the results on the next page.

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