Test Setup and Results
    While AMD wants us to test with a Athlon II X2, I thought I would go a bit further and try the Phenom II X2 550.  This part is clocked 100 MHz faster than the Athlon II X2 250, and it also features the full 6 MB of L3 cache.  The Athlon II X2 250 is now retailing for around $79 while the Phenom II X2 550 is sitting around $110.  This is not a huge difference, but when systems are sitting at $400 in total, the extra $31 can be significant.  Judging from my review of the Phenom II and Athlon II dual core products, the performance difference between the two parts are not that huge.  Interestingly enough, in my testing with my particular sample, the Athlon II was not that much more power efficient than the slightly more mature Phenom II.

    I compared the 785G to the slightly older, and more value oriented, 760G.  This is a 780G part with the high definition video playback disabled and running at 350 MHz rather than the full 500 MHz.  Interestingly enough, overall performance of the 760G is not that much slower than the faster clocked 780G.  The 760G board used DDR-2 1066 memory at latencies.

    AMD is really wanting to push Windows 7 compatibility and performance, but unfortunately I only recently received a copy of Windows 7 RTM.  I did not have time to fully test out the OS in this particular configuration and benchmarks.  Instead I used Vista 64 SP2 to complete the tests.

    The one odd choice that I made was the use of a ThermalTake 1000 Watt power supply.  Obviously an integrated solution would not need nearly as much power as this unit supplied, and in hindsight I should have used something different.  The efficiency curve of a 1000 watt power supply does not become anywhere near ideal until the system pulls around 500 watts of total power and above.

    The two motherboards are equipped with Realtek 8111C PCI-E Gig-E chips, as well as High Definition Audio Codecs.  The 760G motherboard is a pre-production 760G model.

  • Phenom II X2 550
  • 4 GB G-Skill DDR-2 1066 (760G platform) 
  • 4 GB OCZ Platinum DDR-3 1600 (785G Platform, Courtesy of OCZ) 
  • Seagate 7200.10 500 GB SATA Hard Drive 
  • Lite-On DVD-R/RW 
  • ThermalTake 1000 Watt PS 
  • Windows Vista SP2 
  • Catalyst 9.7 (760G) 
  • Beta Catalyst 9.8 (785G)

SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP3c

    To get a feeling of the maturity of the platform, I included most of the base motherboard and CPU benchmarks offered by Sandra.

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    The two boards are nearly identical across the board, with the DDR-3 modules coming in 1 GB/sec faster.  The MSI 785G-E65 board is still quite new, and further optimizations in BIOS will be delivered in the near future.

3D Mark 2006

    This slightly less advanced benchmark tests DX 9 SM2 and HDR performance, and is still a good benchmark when considering less powerful graphics solutions.  The standard resolution test was used for both parts.

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    The 785G takes a commanding lead.  While the framerates would be anything but playable, the near 40% increase in overall performance in the individual tests certainly show the work put into the 785G and the optimizations made beyond the pure MHz advantage the 785G has over the 760G.

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