Results: Valve, ICE, and CrysisValve Benchmarks
Valve was kind enough to provide us with two real-world benchmarks. The first is a particle simulation which uses the CPU cores to render. The second is a map building program which compiles the map and lighting using as many cores as are available.
The particle benchmark really likes the Intel architecture, but even the Phenom II takes a nice lead over the Athlon II.
Microsoft ICE 64
ICE 64 is the 64 bit version of the photo-stitching program from Microsoft. This program takes pictures that have been overlapped and combines them into a single panoramic view. This is multi-threaded, so it can take advantage of multiple cores.
All three of the processors complete the task in under 2 minutes, with the Core 2 Duo being the fastest of the bunch. The extra 17 seconds that were saved could be used to take the final product and put it into a directory or perhaps if a user was fast enough, email it to a relative or friend. Still, all kidding aside, all three products do a good job on this particular application, but the Intel part is still quite a bit faster per clock than its AMD rivals.
Crysis CPU Benchmark
If there was ever a poster child for getting a high end gaming PC, this is it. I used the pre-recorded demo of a person going crazy in a highly destructible environment with unlimited rocket ammunition. All physics calculations are done by the CPU, so it obviously is a very CPU intensive test.
Crysis has always really liked the Intel processors for this test, and it certainly shows here. What I found more interesting was that the Athlon II performed slightly better than the faster clocked Phenom II. I wonder if the program relies heavily on L2 cache and tends to ignore L3 if it is there. If this is the case, then we can see the 6 MB of L2 on the Core 2 Duo part really helping it out on this program, and the larger 1 MB of L2 per core on the Athlon II over the Phenom II gave it a slight edge as well.