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post #8561 of 28697
I have tried 3DMark06 at a non-standard rez a few times. I have never ran 3DMark03. With the default (1280x1024) the effect of Crossfire is not exactly stellar. There is a 23% change in the score. I will try sometime today the difference between crossfire / no-crossfire at my native 1920x1200. The effect should be larger if the rumors are true. For the counter point, I will also try the CPU-bound resolution of 640x480. In theory, crossfire should have no effect. (Again, if the rumors are true.)

Personally, I see the influence of the CPU far more than the GPU in 3DMark06. This is why I personally never compare my 3DMark to someone else's score. Most games favor the GPU whereas 3DMark favors the CPU. This is why some half-jokingly call it "CPUMark." As I have said, a 44% CPU speed reduction resulted in a 1 FPS change in Call of Duty 4. That same change is being tested in 3DM06 within a minute of me posting this.
     
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post #8562 of 28697
Thread Starter 
Maybe your Crossfire setup isn't faster than my HD 4870, but in my recent mad quest to get an S&M-stable 3.0GHz, I also ran 3DMark06. Without quoting any numbers, at the default resolutions only (which of course acts as a control), I had very mixed results with the testing. Even with a 200MHz gain (from my previous 24/7 OC of 2.8GHz) in CPU speed, my 3DMark06 scores did not reflect a noticeable improvement at all; in fact, in some runs, the system was scoring LOWER @ 3.0GHz than it did at 2.8GHz (hard to explain definitively why this happened; an unstable system, perhaps?). This suggests that my video card is way way faster than the rest of my system (the HD 4870 is being bottlenecked). I had expected some noticeable improvement overall, and certainly in the CPU component, but did not see it at all in the data.

All this is telling me is that the time is near when I should have to deploy my testing machine for some real testing action. I'm not in the mood to keep swapping parts on my gaming rig; I'm not able to play games at all these days!
    
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post #8563 of 28697
Quote:
Originally Posted by txtmstrjoe View Post
Maybe your Crossfire setup isn't faster than my HD 4870, but in my recent mad quest to get an S&M-stable 3.0GHz, I also ran 3DMark06. Without quoting any numbers, at the default resolutions only (which of course acts as a control), I had very mixed results with the testing. Even with a 200MHz gain (from my previous 24/7 OC of 2.8GHz) in CPU speed, my 3DMark06 scores did not reflect a noticeable improvement at all; in fact, in some runs, the system was scoring LOWER @ 3.0GHz than it did at 2.8GHz (hard to explain definitively why this happened; an unstable system, perhaps?). This suggests that my video card is way way faster than the rest of my system (the HD 4870 is being bottlenecked). I had expected some noticeable improvement overall, and certainly in the CPU component, but did not see it at all in the data.

All this is telling me is that the time is near when I should have to deploy my testing machine for some real testing action. I'm not in the mood to keep swapping parts on my gaming rig; I'm not able to play games at all these days!
Well, that's actually a property of the 4870s. Even a QX6700 at 3.6 Ghz (versus 3.2) failed to really affect my 3dmark06 score. A pair of 3870s (not terribly sure about 3850s though) will bench better in 3dmark06 than a pair of 4870s.

It's just a funny property of these new cards. Turn up the resolution, and you'll see your score remain pretty much unchanged though.
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post #8564 of 28697
Wrong flavor of K8, so take with a grain of salt. But a K8 none-the-less.

Here we see 2250 MHz. I did not have time to run multiple runs, but let us assume a 3% margin of error. This gives me 8711-9250:


Here we see 3250 MHz. Again, assuming a 3% margin of error. This gives me 11,878-12,612:


Thus, a 44% change in CPU speed correlates to a change of 22.1-30.9% in my 3DMark06 score. Again; we are talking a 2.1% change in frame rate in CoD4; a 22.1-30.9% change in 3DMark06. I think 3DMark06 is a bit more CPU heavy than CoD4. This experience is similar to many games I have tried, but I have not the time to prove it now. (I should have left for class 10 minutes ago.) The most glaring example to the opposite I can think of is SimCity4: Rush Hour. The CPU plays a much larger role in that game than the GPU, which explains why my laptop (Intel T7700 Merom; Core2 Duo @ 2.4 GHz with a Mobility Radeon HD 2600) outperforms my desktop (Athlon64 X2 5400+ Brisbane; AM2 K8 @ 3.25 GHz with a pair of Radeon HD 3850s).

     
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post #8565 of 28697
Thread Starter 
In my opinion, what we're seeing, then, is the principle of diminishing returns. Your example is defined by a huge delta between CPU speeds (1GHz). Of course you'll see a massive change in the benchmark score. I would almost call this an apples vs. oranges comparison (because the variable factor, CPU speed, tests at two extreme points with a wide gulf in between).

I've been looking at things at a much smaller range of CPU speeds (200MHz). The effects and the results I'll get will have much smaller deviations than your examples.

Perhaps we are quibbling on details that have obscured the central point; we have entered into a zone where such details are arguably irrelevant in the context of the larger discussion at hand (whether or not 3DMark06 is a valid total-system benchmark). I think the best way to test this definitively is to use a slower SM3.0 video card, which will not overwhelm the entire system. Modern GPUs being what they are, they dominate the benchmark and mask the effects of a CPU/CPU+RAM OC.

Fortunately I have a previous-gen GPU I can run that kind of testing with. But such tests will be for when my testing machine is back online.
    
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post #8566 of 28697
Alright. When I get back from school, I will run 3.0 GHz. (250x12.) If it will run, I will also try 3.5 GHz. (250x14.)

I disagree with the notion of a modern video card masking results. We see that the CPU is not a "bottle neck" as people often say. If you look ONLY at my CPU scores, 3.25 scores 44% higher than 2.25. 3.25 is 44% faster than 2.25. This is a perfect correlation, at least, if we ignore margin of error. (If we consider margins of error, the average is still 44%, so I think it safe to do so.)

If the CPU were in fact "bottlenecking the video card," you would expect the SM2.0 and SM3.0 scores to also vary by 44%. Thus, the total score would vary by 44%. I would interested to see if this can be proved with a Skt 754 / Skt A CPU with my 3850 AGP. I have a Skt 423 P4 sitting around; I may try that for an example.
     
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post #8567 of 28697
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz6804 View Post
If the CPU were in fact "bottlenecking the video card," you would expect the SM2.0 and SM3.0 scores to also vary by 44%. Thus, the total score would vary by 44%. I would interested to see if this can be proved with a Skt 754 / Skt A CPU with my 3850 AGP. I have a Skt 423 P4 sitting around; I may try that for an example.
Blitz6804, I have in fact ran these tests before. Motherboards used were GA-K8NSC-939 and GA-K8VM800M-RH S754. Processors were Opteron 146 and a Sempron 64 2800+ (S754). Opteron was clocked at 2.6Ghz and the Sempron was clocked at 1.6Ghz. I used the same video card (ATI X800Pro AGP). On the Opteron system I was getting almost 2,300 3DMark06 marks, on the Sempron system I was barely hitting 500 marks. Obviously processor speed makes a huge difference. Also note that this was dual channel vs single channel.

Why are we debating about 3DMark06 anyways? The tool should only be used for comparisons

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post #8568 of 28697
This was not what I meant. (Comparing a 146 to a 2800+.) I meant to take a slow processor, such as a Thunderbird, Palomino, or Barton. Something that clearly will be much slower than the graphics card. Then, test several speeds in 3DMark06. If as speed increases, the CPU, SM2.0, and SM3.0 scores increase proportionately linear, I would suggest that the CPU is in fact "bottlenecking" the graphics card. If the CPU goes up linearly, but the SM2.0 and SM3.0 increase non-proportionately, then I would suggest that the CPU is not "bottlenecking" the card.

At least, this is my theory.

That is, a "bottleneck" would occur when the CPU physically not work fast enough to provide data to the card. As such, a linear increase in speed should provide a corollary linear increase in the graphics tests.

I am presently running the test at 3.0 GHz, I will keep you all posted as to what happens. (I will append to the results prior such that it is in a central location.)
     
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post #8569 of 28697
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by blitz6804 View Post
This was not what I meant. (Comparing a 146 to a 2800+.) I meant to take a slow processor, such as a Thunderbird, Palomino, or Barton. Something that clearly will be much slower than the graphics card. Then, test several speeds in 3DMark06. If as speed increases, the CPU, SM2.0, and SM3.0 scores increase proportionately linear, I would suggest that the CPU is in fact "bottlenecking" the graphics card. If the CPU goes up linearly, but the SM2.0 and SM3.0 increase non-proportionately, then I would suggest that the CPU is not "bottlenecking" the card.

At least, this is my theory.

That is, a "bottleneck" would occur when the CPU physically not work fast enough to provide data to the card. As such, a linear increase in speed should provide a corollary linear increase in the graphics tests.

I am presently running the test at 3.0 GHz, I will keep you all posted as to what happens. (I will append to the results prior such that it is in a central location.)
This is a good restatement of what I've been saying as far as my findings go.

I must own up, though, because in retrospect I should have been more explicit in declaring the crucial qualifier to the point: My tests were done with the HD 4870. I have said many times (and not just in the context of the present discussion), both in private with Blitz and with thlnk3r, and in the Club, that the HD 4870 in particular is an example of gross overkill with a S939 system especially running 3DMark06's default resolution (1280 x 1024). The card is capable of moving its data much much faster than the rest of the system.

This is also why I said that testing a much slower video card with the rest of the system as is in 3DMark06 will show more influence on the CPU/CPU+RAM side of the equation. However, with a monstrously powerful card like an RV770 (or even RV670s in Crossfire), or any nVidia equivalent, 3DMark06 then is more of a graphics card metric than anything else.
    
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post #8570 of 28697
Darn. I just finished running tests, and I have to say, I am disappointed with the results. Whether it be this board, or a faulting of AM2 K8s, I do not know, but I cannot compare different speeds. I forgot that the RAM divisor changes depending what speed I am running at. On my Toledo, if I set the RAM to DDR 500, it was always DDR 500. Here, the RAM varies around with each speed. 3250 goes to 813, 3000 goes to 750, 2750 goes to 785, 2500 goes to 833, 2250 goes to 750. Accordingly, the data does not correlate cleanly.

I can tell you from the trend lines what I saw. As CPU speed when up, SM3.0 went up directly proportional. SM3.0 seems to matter solely on the CPU. (Credence to Thlnk3r's "CPU speed is king.") The SM2.0 and CPU scores (and consequently, the overall score) seem to be effected by the RAM speeds*. I accidentally deleted the data, but I did have a nice looking chart, but I think to properly test this I will need to have a lazy day to tweak. Essentially, this is what the data points looked like:

CPU Speed: / / / /
RAM Speed: / \\ \\ /
SM2.0: / - - /
SM3.0: / / / /
CPU: / - - /
Overall: / - - /

Going off memory, if I remember right, the CPU speeds were 1620, 1801, 1799, 2104, 2333 correlating to 2250-3250 respectively.

The numbers are funny to be sure. That said, I decided to run bandwidth testing. The bandwidth consistently goes up as the CPU speed goes up. The latency has no pattern. This is peculiar; most peculiar. I will need to experiment with this for my next "blog" I think.

This does prove the point of always test your bandwidth; do not rely on CPU-Z or the BIOS to tell you what your RAM is doing for you.

*I think there was something funny going on with 2750. It was refusing to run several times; might be strangely unstable for some reason. Like say perhaps, the RAM trying to run at DDR2 833.
     
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