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Reviewed By: Carl Nelson [02.02.02]
Manufactured by: AMD, Intel
Prices: AthlonXP 2000: Find the lowest price on iBuyer!
Intel Pentium 4 2.2 GHz: Find the lowest price on iBuyer!


SYSmark 2001

SYSmark tests the performance of several Content Creation and Office Productivity applications, and gives a final score, along with individual category results.

Just 2 days ago, BapCO announced SYSmark 2002, but unfortunately I was unable to attain a copy in time for this review.  Next time, folks!

Unfortunately there is something we have to discuss before getting to the results...

The Controversy

Now, let's get this covered first... On the first page, we told you about a little bit of controversy regarding AMD's benchmarking methods.  I mentioned the fact that they patched a benchmarking suite to make use of AMD's SSE functions.  This is treading dangerous territory, folks.  Fortunately it isn't as simple as AMD just hacking the benchmark to suit them better; one of the programs in the suite (Windows Media Encoder 7.1) is slightly outdated without a patch that checks for support of AMD's SSE instructions.

I have seen people argue for both sides - one side says that no hardware company should be touching the benchmark suites AT ALL.  We are looking at benchmark scores here, and though the real world results may be different, nobody has any business messing around with the results.

The other side says that since SYSmark is supposed to show real world performance, it should be updated, since WMEnc 7.1 does support AMD's SSE with a patch (I looked for this patch, but I could not find it, or any mention of it on Microsoft's site).

What's my viewpoint? Well it doesn't really matter.  One thing I will not do is patch a benchmark unless it is released by the people who programmed it.  What would happen if AMD released a version of Prime95 that increased benchmark performance by 3X? What if ATI released a patch for 3DMark 2001 which made it run faster on their cards?

I would argue against the "It doesn't show real world results" bit... I am sure that WMEnc won't be the only program that doesn't support AMD's SSE right away.  For the sole case of SYSmark, however, it seems to be valid (I just wish I could find out about this official patch from Microsoft).

The Results

That being said, here are the SYSMark Results:

I'm not surprised to see the P4 taking over this benchmark easily, with the whole "WMEnc" issue.  Now it's time for me to tell you that this may not reflect real world results, etc.

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