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Memory performance

To no one's surprise, the Pentium 4 runs away with this one, but looking past that, we see some interesting results. First, the Duron soundly beats the 1GHz Athlon in the integer test and ties it in the floating point, the former probably due to hardware prefetch. On the integer test, the Duron comes surprisingly close to the 1.2GHz Athlon, especially considering the latter has the advantage of a 133MHz front-side bus, a 200MHz clock speed advantage, and DDR memory. The 1GHz AMD offerings manage to beat the 1.2GHz Pentium III in spite of giving up 200MHz in clock speed. The Celeron is solidly in last place, hampered by its slower clock speed and 100MHz memory bus.

Next we'll look at the Linpack results for a more detailed examination of cache and memory trends.

For those familiar with how to read a Linpack graph, the results look more or less as they should. If you're a little fuzzy on what the results indicate, here's a link to one of Scott's previous reviews that spells things out nicely.

When the results are analyzed by processor family, it's easier to see the trends present. Looking at the AMD entries, we can see that the 1.2GHz and 1GHz feature an almost identical curve, though the 1.2GHz's clock speed gives it a higher peak, while its DDR memory gives it higher performance once the data set size is too large to fit into cache. The Duron's curve begins by mirroring the 1GHz Athlon's, though it loses ground quickly as it runs out of cache. Interestingly, at the largest matrix sizes, the Duron seems to have a slight edge, probably due to hardware prefetch.

Looking at the Intel offerings, the Celeron and the Pentium III perform similarly with regard to matrix size. However, the Pentium III's higher front-side bus speed and clock speed enable it to score much higher than the Celeron, while the PIII's larger cache enables it to sustain that performance for much longer than the Celeron can. The Pentium 4's high memory bandwidth enables it to lead the pack by a wide margin once the data moves into main memory, though it's interesting to note that every processor but the Celeron has a higher peak megaflops rate, demonstrating the Pentium 4's tendency to execute a relatively low number of instructions per clock (IPC).

Looking at these synthetic tests, the Duron is performing surprisingly well, even beating out the 1GHz Athlon in one test. Let's see how things look on some real-world tests.