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PCMark Vantage on Phenom 9900: No Overclock?
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Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:37 pm Reply and quote this post
I HAVEN'T embraced Windoze Vista much, until a post-SP1 version rolls out -in fact, I don't even have its 32-bit version yet. Therefore, I haven't donetoo many runs of the brand new, Vista-only, PCMark Vantage.
The tested new Phenom 9900 config on Asus M3A32 MVP Deluxe mobo, CoolerMasterHyper212 fan and dual Asus EAH3870 TOP cards in Crossfire was my first shot atPCMark Vantage. Including the November 2008 fix, the whole installation takessome 20 minutes.
The benchmark is quite different from the previous PCMark rounds, as itfocuses on 'practical angle' of synthetic benchmarks, with heavily multithreaded"gaming", "memories" - not DRAM but family picture memories, "music", "communications" and so on scenarios, straining everything from CPU, chipset andmemory to the GPU and even storage. Rather than me repeating their productfeatures and, gotta say, unique pricing system, have a look athttp://www.futuremark.com/download/pcmarkvantage/for more specs and such.
Combined with the added system load that fully 64-bit Vista flavour imposes,it would be an interesting stress test.
As I managed to push this Phenom to run reasonably well, and complete allother 64-bit Vista benchmarks, at 2.8 GHz on multiplier 14 on default FSB200setting, I was hoping to get the first PCMark Vantage OC Phenom benchmarksaround at that speed.
The default 2.6 GHz speed Vantage benchmark completed fine in just under anhour, including all the optional suites - each suite now has its own resultsset, by the way. And, it completed at a 1.2875 Vcore for that matter -encouraging!

Done fine at 2.6 GHz...
Then I tried it at the same Cross-Fired 2.8 GHz 1.337 Vcore setting thatcompleted all other 64-bit test runs fine, including CPU intensive multithreadedCinebench and Povray runs. It went fine... until about 20 minutes into the mainPCMark run. It froze at the "communication" portion, a web page renderingwindow. I waited another 10 minutes just in case, but no, it was done for.
A hard reset was needed to get back up again, I upped to Vcore to 1.35 volts,still the thing stuck at the same place. Pushing the voltage down to 1.325 voltshad the test run crash even earlier, at the "music" portion.
Oh boy, what to do? Was it the dual-GPU setup problem? Not likely. Well, Ilowered the speed to 2.7 GHz, multiplier 13.5x, and kept the voltage at 1.325volts. Now, the PCmark portion alone completed fine, including all the web pagerenders. But... the overall performance index went down! No, not due to the CPU,which gave the extra 3% or so expected. The hard disk seems to have been theculprit.
Also, notice that PCMark Vantage - unlike 3DMark - doesn't seem to make useof CrossFire dual GPU configuration for the gaming tests.
Knowing that the memory and I/O were kept at identical setting all the while,this 64-bit PCMark run seemingly set the absolute stress limit on how far trulystable CPU operation can be pushed on the Phenom 9900. The answer: 2.7 GHz, not2.8 as I thought yesterday - just 3% above its stock speed.
Take a look at the results...

As I now run a fresh Vi$ta 64-bit reinstall on the deep-frozen Intel QX9770,we'll see how much of an overclocker stability test the new PCMark Vantage is onthe dominant Chipzilla platform.
Based on the Phenom run I saw, it seems to strain the CPU and the system justas much as the Linpack runs, exceeding most other benchmarks - and it shows thisPhenom 9900 is pretty much at the limit of the AMD stepping speed possible rightnow, with hardly any overclocking possible under sustained full load.
Do we have the new ultimate overclocker's stability test run? Methinks so...I'd love Futuremark to do a 32/64-bit XP version too, just in case Vista becomesa "system crash" suspect in some cases.

Contributed by Editorial Team, Executive Management Team
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