Penryn performance details exposed

Intel has released additional information on preliminary Penryn performance figures it revealed yesterday. These benchmark results haven't been independently verified, so they should be taken with a grain of salt. However, since the Core 2 Duo certainly lived up to expectations set by preliminary benchmarks, perhaps only a grain is necessary.

According to Intel, Penryn performance was tested on a pre-production BadAxe2 motherboard with a dual-core Wolfdale chip with 6MB of cache and a quad-core Yorkfield chip with 12MB of cache. Both chips ran at 3.33GHz on a 1333MHz front-side bus. For comparison, Intel has included results from a Core 2 Extreme QX6800 running at 2.93GHz on a 1066MHz front-side bus. Intel says test systems were otherwise configured with identical hardware, including a GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, 2GB of DDR2-800 memory with 5-5-5-15 timings, and a 32-bit version of Windows Vista Ultimate, yielding the following results. The Divx and H.264 encoding scores are in seconds, so lower is better.

Penryn dual-core 3.33GHz Penryn quad-core 3.33GHz Core 2 Extreme QX6800 2.93GHz
3DMark06 - CPU 3061 4957 4070
3DMark06 - Overall 11015 11963 11123
Mainconcept H.264 encoder 119 73 89
Cinebench R9.5 - CPU benchmark 1134 1935 1549
Cinebench R10 Beta - CPU benchmark 7045 13068 10416
Half-Life 2: Lost Coast 210 210 153
Divx 6.6 Alpha with Virtualdub 1.7.1 22 18 38

The quad-core Penryn's performance advantage over the current QX6800 ranges from just over 7% in 3DMark06's overall score to a stunning 53% in the Divx encoding test. Penryn is working with a faster front-side bus and processor clock, of course, but it's unlikely the extra MHz alone accounts for the 18-25% performance advantage Penryn enjoys through the bulk of Intel's results. The Half-Life 2 results do seem a little odd, though, if only because both dual- and quad-core Penryn chips are a whopping 37% faster than the QX6800. Intel used build 2707 of Lost Coast, which doesn't take advantage of quad-core CPUs, but it's unclear what display resolution and in-game detail levels were used for that test.

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