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Pentium M Benchmarks

A few recent forum posts have been asking about the performance of Pentium M chips. Since I recently upgraded to a Pentium M based laptop (Dell Inspiron 8600 @ 2.0GHz with an ATI Mobility Radeon 9600), I figured I would run some benchmarks to see how it competes against the desktop systems featured on the MAME32QA site. Unfortunately, there are no straight Pentium 4 benchmarks to compare against, but the AMD64 machines are pretty spiffy.

In general, I'm quite happy with the results. Overall, the performance was 8% slower than the Athlon64 3700+ desktop system. For several games, my system came out on top. For others, it kind of tanked.

The full results are here, but here are the interesting bits:

Games where the Pentium M 2GHz significantly outpaces the Athlon64 3700+: mk2 (+10%), popeye (+14%), rfjet (+13%), tekken3 (+10%), vasara (+27%), xexex (+16%)

Games where the Pentium M 2GHz significantly loses to the Athlon64 3700+: propcycl (-40%), radikalb (-28%), robotron (-20%), starblad (-28%)

Even more interesting is what happens when you compile with P4 optimizations (this is the "P-M P4 Build" column on the results page). The P4 optimizations could in theory help because the Pentium M has SSE2 capabilities and thus the P4 build could take advantage of that. On the other hand, the P4 optimizations also tweak the instruction scheduling to work better on the longer pipelines of the P4, while the Pentium M has much shorter pipelines.

In general, I found that P4 optimizations tended to exaggerate the results. That is, games which were slower than the AMD chip got even slower with P4 optimizations enabled, while games which were faster got even faster. In the end, the results were a wash, still ending up about 8% slower overall than the AMD64 3700+.

Interesting results, nonetheless. :-)