Price / Performance Comparison and Conclusion

This is a new section and a new idea that I have been pondering for a while, and I thought I would give it a try today.  Lots of hardware manufacturers spout off about their ability to deliver performance at a reasonable price.  And we, the reviewers, attempt to give you, the reader, an idea of the price/performance ratio of certain processors, graphics cards, etc.  Well, how about we try to actually put a definite number to this idea of price vs performance and see how some products compare.

First, a warning: these results that you are going to see do not take all aspects of each product into consideration.  That means that you just can’t look at the tables below, see the better price/performance processor and make that your purchase decision.  You really need to read up on all the products individually to see the strengths and weaknesses of each.  These tables are simply an attempt to offer some new information into that realm.

Our first table is the price/performance ratio of the processors we benchmarked today while running Unreal Tournament 2003.  We simply took the average framerate that we reported in our benchmark on the previous pages, found the lowest current price on our Pricegrabber engine at the time of publication, and did a simple divide of the (Avg FPS / Price) to come up with the “FPS Per Dollar” or frames per second per dollar.  In other words, for every dollar that you are spending on this processor, how many FPS are attributed to that dollar.

Unreal Tournament 2003: 1024x768x32
  Avg FPS Price FPS Per Dollar
Athlon 64 2800+
312.2
$173
1.80
Athlon 64 3000+
321.2
$211
1.52
Athlon 64 3200+
329.7
$270
1.22
Athlon 64 3400+
333.3
$404
0.825
Athlon 64 FX-53
334.7
$745
0.449
Athlon XP 3200+
299.8
$199
1.50
Intel 3.2 GHz NW
289.7
$290
0.998
Intel 3.4 GHz NW
297.9
$425
0.700
Intel 3.4 GHz Prescott
291.4
$464
0.628

What can we gauge from these results?  First, the higher the “FPS Per Dollar”, the better.  The best result is from the Athlon 64 2800+ processor that offers the buyer 1.80 frames per second for each dollar of their purchase.  As the Athlon 64 line increases in speed and price, you’ll notice the FPS/$ rating declines, meaning as you buy more expensive hardware, you are getting less for your dollar than if you bought the lower end hardware.  Of course, this is something that hardware enthusiasts have been aware of for a long time — but I think this may be the first time you have seen in brought out in numbers like this. 

Note that the lowest performer is the Athlon 64 FX-53 processor, coming in at just 0.449 FPS/$ which is nearly three times lower than the Athlon XP 3200+ processor that has a considerably lower price.  All three of the Intel P4 processors fall below the 1.0 FPS/$ mark, but 3.2 GHz Northwood core has a decent showing above both the Athlon 64 FX-53 and Athlon 64 3400+.

Our next table judges the price/performance you get from your processor purchase on Content Creation Winstone 2004.

Content Creation Winstone 2004
  Score Price Points Per Dollar
Athlon 64 2800+
29.4
$173
0.169
Athlon 64 3000+
31.2
$211
0.147
Athlon 64 3200+
32.4
$270
0.120
Athlon 64 3400+
35
$404
0.086
Athlon 64 FX-53
36.8
$745
0.049
Athlon XP 3200+
29
$199
0.145
Intel 3.2 GHz NW
30.1
$290
0.103
Intel 3.4 GHz NW
31.7
$425
0.074
Intel 3.4 GHz Prescott
31.7
$464
0.068

Again the higher the value for the “Points/$” the better, in this scenario.  The best performer in this regard is again the Athlon 64 2800+ processor, but this time followed closely by the Athlon 64 3000+ and Athlon XP 3200+.  And also again, the worst processor in this regard is the Athlon 64 FX-53 processor, with less than a 1/3 of the price/performance value than the Athlon 64 2800+.

Conclusion

One interesting point that I came across during this review is the fact that AMD’s performance ratings seemed to have become meaningless for a lot of the benchmarks that we are running.  If you notice, the Athlon 64 2800+ was out performing the Athlon XP 3200+ processor.  The entire basis for the performance rating was that customers would be able to know that no matter what features and specifications the processor actually possesed, a CPU rated at 3200+ would perform better than one rated at 2800+; or 3000+ or 2600+ for that matter.  This is obviously no longer the case.  It seems to me now that AMD has been put in a precarious position of not having the correct model number available to the models that they need.  If a customer can’t count on the 3200+ being faster than the 2800+, then the rating system seems to fall apart for all but identically cored processors.

AMD Athlon 64 2800+ Processor Review - Processors 27

As far as the Athlon 64 2800+ processor goes, it was another unexpected processor release from AMD that surprised the community with its release.  The performance of the CPU is slower than the rest of the Athlon 64 line, as expected, and the core has correctly scaled to 1.8 GHz. 

AMD Athlon 64 2800+ Processor Review - Processors 28

What AMD has brought to the table is a processor that supports 64-bit technology that runs under $175 and brings this technology to a new crowd of people.  This in itself is a great accomplishment, but the fact that the Athlon 64 2800+ performs very well compared to the other Athlon XP and the P4 processors is a bonus.  For $175 you can get a good performing processor with the 64-bit technology, if that is what you are looking for.  

 

Check out some prices on the AMD Athlon 64 2800+!

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