The Test Setup
As noted actually used an Athlon MP with the Palomino core, which is a 1.2GHz part. This is then compared to an Athlon 1.2GHz with the Thunderbird core. Just the CPU was swapped out and no other changes were made. The Mainboard used was the new Soyo K7V Dragon (VIA KT266 DDR SDRAM chipset), 256MB of SEC PC2100 SDRAM, a WD 200BB ATA/100 7200 RPM hard disk, GeForce II GTS 32MB AGP card, a 3.5″; FD and 50X CDROM, along with the Dragon’s integrated NIC and six channel sound enabled. Windows 98 SE was used and set for 1024×764/64K @ 85Hz along with the current VIA (4.32) and nVidia (12.41) drivers being installed. BIOS was 2AA1 and set for best performance. I did not find any settings that were different in the BIOS when using either CPU.
All test were run three times and scores were rejected if not within 3% (6% for Winbench) and re-run. The highest score was used unless the program averaged or gave an over all score for the 3 runs. Since the difference between the two CPUs is quite small, it was very important to make sure what I was seeing as a true difference between the two CPUs and not just a test variance.
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