S939 x2 4200+ review
by, November 5th, 2007 at 11:35 PM (2078 Views)
Today I will review a recent install of my new cpu, an athlon 64 x2 4200+ s939 processor. It is replacing my aging A64 FX-53.
A64 X2 4200+ s939 manchester
Kingston Hyper X 2x 1gb pc3200
Gecube x1950pro 256mb AGP
WD Raptor 10k RPM 74gb + Seagate 7200rpm 120gb IDE
FSP Group 400w psu
Now before reading, keep in mind that the FX-53 is a 2.4ghz single core w/ 1mb L2 cache and the x2 is a dual core at 2.2ghz w/ 512mb L2 cache on each core. I am testing games that supposedly support multi threading and as such should see an improvement despite the speed difference and less L2 cache of the 4200+.
The first game I loaded up was the new Unreal Tournament 2007 demo. Since the game has very intense graphics I kept the settings on high, but at a 1024x768 resolution. Now with the FX-53 I was averaging a good 20-30fps in heavy combat at these settings. I was actually quite impressed considering the game at hand. (and considering I just came from a single channel limited p4 2.8ghz!)
With the x2 4200 I immediately saw a frame rate increase, especially during heavy combat. When in combat with many bots 10+ I was pulling frame rates in excess of 30fps consistently. Now with the FX-53 I would barely pull off 5 bots without dipping into the low 20's. So I wanted to see how lowering the resolution would do so I put it at 800x600, but kept the high settings. The improvements were even larger with the x2 pulling well over 50fps in many cases while the FX-53 was still hovering in the high-20's-low 30's. I am definitely impressed and glad I spent the $63 on this cpu.
On to the next, and easily the most anticipated FPS game of this year. Crysis. Yes, that game demo that has slayed even the best of the best when it comes to computers. I kept the resolution at 1024x768 and put the graphics settings to low-medium to put more stress on the cpu differences. I definitely noticed a good increase on average, I'd say of at least 15fps just walking around. That was definitely a pleasant surprise. However, It really brought a smile to my face when I got into heavy combat. The physics this cpu was able to handle in comparison to the single core FX was astonishing, and it held a much, much steadier frame rate that never really dropped below 30fps except in the most exciting and action filled battles. The FX on the other hand in those same battles easily dipped into the low-mid teens which is beyond unplayable for a FPS.
So far I've seen good improvements across the board, but the next game demo by far had the most shocking results.
It was the Call of Duty 4 modern warfare demo, which I definitely enjoyed quite a bit. To get right to the juice of it, I set it at 1024x768 all high settings w/ no AA. The FX-53 was averaging 30-40fps in non crazy combate scenes. (play the demo and you will know what I mean) However, once intense action began (and being a Counter Strike fan, I hardly say that for any game) the frames dipped ridiculously low. I'm talking low-mid teens. Just upgrading to an x1950pro from an x800pro I was more than disappointed with the performance...However, tonight when I put in the x2 4200+ those same areas that gave me trouble were easily in the 35-40fps area. Which is extremely playable considering what I was coming from. And even more of a surprise, I was getting 80+fps in light combat scenarios. A huge improvement considering the price of this CPU.
As far as older, single threaded games, I did notice slightly lower frame rates, but considering my setup it was easily eating at well over 60fps on all of them.
If you are happy with your s939 board, and are still running a single core, an x2 4200+ (or 4400+ if you can find one) will keep your system going strong, especially with the new games.
As more games become multi threaded, the benefits to a dual core setup become way more obvious; with higher frame rates and future proofing on even newer games. After all, there will be a time when dual cores become a requirement for games! I'm happy I spent the money, and you will be too.