RSS Feed

HCW Tech Blog

For the latest info on computer hardware, tech, news, video games, software tips, and Linux, check out our new improved front page: HCW Tech Blog

Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [12.01.07]
Manufactured by: AMD, Intel


3D Rendering

This is not something I do personally, but I know a lot of people are into 3D rendering at home. To test 3D rendering performance, we make use of Maxon's CineBench program.

Based on Maxon's animation software, Cinema 4D, CineBench is a good real-world benchmark that makes comparing systems easier for those of us who aren't really familiar with creating 3D art. Cinema 4D was used to make such movies as Spiderman and Star Wars. Good enough for me!

Cinema 4D is heavily threaded - supporting up to 16 processors, and it scales incredibly well. Thus, it's a major benefit to anyone who is using this type of application to forget about everything else and built a system with as many CPU cores as they can afford. As far as the dual cores in our review, they all perform pretty much the same.

Power Consumption

Because CineBench has seperate single- and multi-threaded modes, it makes for a good benchmark for power consumption. To test this, we ran each test with the system plugged into our Watts Up power meter in both single threaded and multi threaded modes. Peak power consumption is given, in watts:

As you can see, Intel has come an incredibly long way to making the most efficient processors today. We all thought Apple was crazy when they announced the switch to Intel processors because they were "the most power efficient", but it all makes perfect sense now.

So, which CPU do you buy if you are shopping for one within the sub-$200 price range?

I think by now the answer is pretty obvious.

Core 2 Duo processors are at least as fast as their Athlon X2 counterparts, and in most cases are quite a bit faster. In every case, they run cooler, allowing for quieter cooling solutions, and consume far less power overall.

It seems like just yesterday that we were saying the exact same thing, with the roles reversed. But Intel have come an amazingly long way since they debuted Core 2 Duo. You really don't realize how great a CPU it really is until you've encoded a DivX movie in no time, with the CPU fan not making a peep.

However, the X2 CPUs aren't total flops. As you saw in most of our real-world tests, they did quite well for themselves, keeping within about 10-20% of their respective price competitors. I have to say, if you were an early Socket AM2 adopter, and have something like an early 3000+ or 4600+, it wouldn't be such a bad idea to just swap out the CPU. Black Edition 6400's are readily available, and the price is right - one can be had for as low as $170 now!

If you're building a new system, and don't do too many tasks that specifically benefit from multithreading, such as heavy video encoding and 3D rendering, then our recommendation is the Core 2 Duo E6750. With the recent price drop, it's an incredible deal.