AMD Phenom X4 9950 BE & 9350e Review
By Vince Freeman :
July 2, 2008
3DMark06 Pro Performance
3DMark06 is the latest version in the popular 3DMark series of gaming benchmarks, and like 3DMark05, it also requires DirectX 9.0 compatibility. The 3DMark06 program offers a high-end selection of both gaming and CPU tests, while upping the ante in terms of jaw-dropping graphics and 3D feature support. 3DMark06 is not only a prime way of determining potential DirectX 9 game performance, but the individual CPU performance score also makes it a valuable tool in processor reviews and performance comparisons. This CPU benchmark is performed at the standard 1280x1024 resolution and 32-bit color depth, with no anti-aliasing or filtering options enabled.
Standard game benchmarks usually don't show any real advantage with a dual or quad-core setup, primarily because these are not written with a multi-core platform in mind. While this is true in the majority of cases, 3DMark06 Pro does offer multi-threaded game benchmarking, and will help give us an idea of theoretical performance in true multi-threaded game environments. The 2.6 GHz Phenom X4 9950 BE is the fastest AMD processor in this test, but remains back of the Core 2 Quad Q6700. Its four cores also help push the Phenom X4 9350e past the Phenom X3 8750 and Athlon 64 X2 6000+.
DOOM 3 Performance
DOOM 3 is a game that needs no introduction, and continues in a long line of id Software Quake and DOOM first-person shooters. This installment is one serious 3D game test, including potentially the highest-end graphics yet seen on the PC. It is also a different type of game benchmark, especially compared to Quake 3, as it has a greater reliance on the 3D video card for high-end framerate results. This makes it less-than an optimum current CPU performance test, but may still bear fruit as newer and faster processors make an appearance.
While not expressly multi-threaded, DOOM 3 also shows some performance gains with dual and quad core processors. But even at 2.6 GHz, the Phenom X4 9950 BE remains well back of the Intel dual cores, while staying competitive with the lower-clocked quads. The 2.0 GHz Phenom X4 9350e is in tough, and posts the lowest framerate.
FarCry is a first-person shooter that takes in-game graphics to the next level, although in a different direction than DOOM 3. Instead of darkness and confined spaces, FarCry places you outdoors, on bright sandy beaches, jungles or even on the water itself. This game gives our processors a different kind of a stress test, and rest assured that FarCry ranks up there with the very toughest 3D game benchmarks. For this test, we are using the full retail version, and a custom game demo.
It's much the same in the FarCry results, and while the Phenom X4 9950 BE and its 2.6 GHz clock boosts its score to respectability, the lower-speed Phenom X4 9350e is again the slowest processor in the chart.