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Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least twice, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

ProcessorAthlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz (S939)
Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2GHz (90nm)
Athlon 64 3500+ 2.2GHz (130nm)
Athlon 64 3800+ 2.4GHz
Athlon 64 4000+ 2.4GHz
Athlon 64 FX-55 2.6GHz
Pentium 4 540 3.2GHz
Pentium 4 550 3.4GHz
Pentium 4 560 3.6GHz
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.4GHz
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.46GHzPentium 4 520 2.8GHz
System bus1GHz HyperTransport800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
MotherboardAsus A8V DeluxeAbit AA8 DuraMaxIntel D925XECV2Abit AG8
BIOS revision1008 beta 11.4CV92510A.86A.033815
North bridgeK8T800 Pro925X MCH925XE MCH915P MCH
South bridgeVT8237ICH6RICH6RICH6R
Chipset drivers4-in-1 v.1.11 beta (9/7/04)INF Update
INF Update
INF Update
Memory size1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory typeOCZ PC3200 EL DDR SDRAM at 400MHzOCZ PC2 5300 DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHzOCZ PC2 5300 DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHzOCZ PC3200 EL DDR SDRAM at 400MHz
CAS latency2332
Cycle time510105
RAS to CAS delay2332
RAS precharge2332
Hard driveMaxtor MaXLine III 250GB SATA 150WD Raptor WD360GB SATA 150
AudioIntegrated VT8237/ALC850 with 3.64 driversIntegrated ICH6R/ALC880 with driversIntegrated ICH6R/ALC880 with driversIntegrated ICH6R/ALC658
GraphicsGeForce 6800 GT 256MB with ForceWare 66.81 drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional
OS updatesService Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c

We'll be looking at the Pentium 4 520's performance at both 2.8 and 3.57GHz and comparing those results to the fastest Pentium 4 and Athlon 64 processors on the market. At 2.8GHz, the Pentium 4 520 system used 2-2-2-5 memory timings and a quad-pumped 800MHz front-side bus. When running at 3.57GHz, the system used a 255MHz front-side bus (1020MHz, quad-pumped) and 2.5-4-4-8 memory timings. That gives the 3.57GHz chip an advantage in both processor and front-side bus speed, but a disadvantage when it comes to memory timings.

I should also point out that the Pentium 4 520 system used a WD Raptor WD360GD hard drive rather than a Maxtor MaXLine III. Disk subsystem performance only affects a few of our tests, so for those, we'll only be comparing the Pentium 4 520 at 2.8GHz and 3.57GHz.

All tests on the Intel systems were run with Hyper-Threading enabled.

Thanks to OCZ for providing us with memory for our testing. If you're looking to tweak out your system to the max and maybe overclock it a little, OCZ's RAM is definitely worth considering.

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1152x864 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.