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WorldBench's overall score is a pretty decent indication of general-use performance for desktop computers. This benchmark uses scripting to step through a series of tasks in common Windows applications and then produces an overall score for comparison. WorldBench also records individual results for its component application tests, allowing us to compare performance in each. We'll look at the overall score, and then we'll show individual application results alongside the results from some of our own application tests.

The Phenom IIs can't quite keep up with the competing Core 2s in WorldBench, largely due to a couple of tests where the AMD CPUs tend to struggle. We'll look at those individual test results as we go.

Productivity and general use software

MS Office productivity

Firefox web browsing

Multitasking - Firefox and Windows Media Encoder

The X4 955 is quite a bit quicker to finish these three tests than the Q9550, and in two of the three, the new Phenom II outperforms even the Core i7-940. Notably, both the Office and Firefox/Windows Media Encoder tests have a multitasking component in which multiple applications are running and in use concurrently. In both cases, the X4 955 places near the top of the pack, behind only Intel's very fastest desktop processors.

WinZip file compression

Nero CD authoring

The Phenom II comes back to earth in both of these tests, and both of them—especially Nero—tend to be limited somewhat by disk I/O throughput. We've documented quite well that the disk controllers in AMD's chipsets are a platform-level weakness, largely due to an essentially broken implementation of SATA NCQ.

With that said, WinZip isn't entirely disk I/O bound, since faster Phenoms consistently finish before slower ones.