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Ok, here's the plan
Now, let's move on to our test results. We'll start with 32-bit benchmarks to test the performance impact of the larger L2 cache, and then we'll move to power consumption, where we can see the influence of the power management features in these new processors. Finally, in a follow-up article, we'll take a look at 64-bit performance with Windows XP Professional x64.

In order to compare the 32-bit performance of the new Pentium 4 processors to the widest possible range of competitors, including the Pentium M, I've reused some test results from my previous articles. I hope you'll forgive the use of an AGP motherboard on the Athlon 64 system, but there wasn't time to retest everything. Generally, the move to PCI Express doesn't change performance much in current applications. If you'd like to see how the Athlon 64 4000+ performs on a couple of new PCI Express chipsets, please have a look at this article. The results are largely comparable to the ones you'll see here.

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 3800+ 2.4GHz
Athlon 64 4000+ 2.4GHz
Athlon 64 FX-55 2.6GHz
Pentium M 755 2.0GHz
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 3.46GHz
Pentium 4  640 3.2GHz
Pentium 4 650 3.4GHz
Pentium 4 660 3.6GHz
Pentium M 755 at 2.4GHz Pentium 4 570J 3.8GHz
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz
System bus1GHz HyperTransport400MHz (100MHz quad-pumped)800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
533MHz (133MHz quad-pumped)
1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
MotherboardAsus A8V DeluxeDFI 855GME-MGFAbit AA8 DuraMaxIntel D925XECV2
BIOS revision1008 beta 155GMDC061.4CV92510A.86A.0338
North bridgeK8T800 Pro855GME925X MCH925XE MCH
South bridgeVT82376300ESB ICHICH6RICH6R
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 PC3200 EL DDR SDRAM at 333MHzOCZ PC2 5300 DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHzOCZ PC2 5300 DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency (CL)2233
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)2233
RAS precharge (tRP)2233
Cycle time (tRAS)551010
Hard driveMaxtor MaXLine III 250GB SATA 150
AudioIntegrated VT8237/ALC850 with 3.64 driversIntegrated 6300ESB/ALC655 with driversIntegrated ICH6R/ALC880 with driversIntegrated ICH6R/ALC880 with drivers
InGraphics GeForce 6800 GT 256MB AGP with ForceWare 66.81 drivers GeForce 6800 GT 256MB AGP with ForceWare 66.81 drivers GeForce 6800 GT 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 66.81 drivers GeForce 6800 GT 256MB PCI-E with ForceWare 66.81 drivers
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional
OS updatesService Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c

All tests on the Pentium 4 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.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by OCZ PowerStream power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor's Choice winners in our latest PSU round-up.

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.