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Canada Computers Content Creator X2 Workstation System Review

Canada Computers Content Creator X2 Workstation System Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Built around a e 2.4GHz dual core Athlon64 X2 4800+ CPU, and pre-installed with Microsoft WindowsXP Professional, the system should have plenty of potential pixel kicking power.
 85% Rating:   
Filed under: Computer / SFF PCs Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Canada Computers Aug 31 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Computer / SFF PCs > Canada Computers Content Creator X2

The Heart of the CCx2 - Athlon64 X2 4800+

At the heart of the Canada Computers Content Creator X2 system is arguably the best processor on the market based on the AMD Athlon64 architecture; the AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ (socket 939). If you are a true gaming enthusiast you're best off going with a single core AMD Athlon64 or Athlon FX processor. For the rest of us who have deal with work related multimedia and content-oriented applications that the Content Creator X2 system is built for, the dual core AMD Athlon64 X2 is the right chip for the job.

At the moment most desktop applications only take advantage of a single core, but with both Intel and AMD pimping dual core technology as the next best thing since sliced bread, you can bet software developers are feeling the pressure to write applications that are dual core compatible, as standard. High end workstations and servers have long benefited from SMP (Symmetrical Multiprocessing) and its nice to see desktop users will soon realize this as well.

The AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ processor itself retails for about $1272 CDN ($1049 US), so it makes up a good portion of the Canada Computers Content Creator X2's total price of roughly $3400CDN. The CPU is a marvel because it contains two physical processor cores on one silicone die, built with the 0.09 micron (90nm) manufacturing process.

Each core runs at a default speed of 2.4 GHz, and contains 233.2 million transistors. Each has 128KB of L1 cache and 1MB of L2 cache, and share a single 128 bit DDR memory controller. Another way of looking at it is that the Athlon64 X2 4800 is the equivalent of two Athlon64 4000+ CPUs. The processor connects to the motherboard chipset via a single 2 GHz (1 GHz up/down 16-bits wide both ways) Hypertransport link. Like its single core counterparts, the Athlon64 X2 4800+ incorporates an improved memory controller as well as new SSE3 instructions licensed from Intel.

Having said all that, the key point that you'll see pop up in the benchmarks is that AMD's dual core CPU works really well with office-oriented and multimedia-type content creation applications. The dual core chip was virtually no impact on game performance, but that's where the twin Geforce 6800 videocards in SLI pick up some of the slack. The SLI option is actually called the 'Content Creator-X2 SLI Upgrade package,' as the base unit comes with a single PCI Express x16 videocard.

About Canada Computers

Now that we've gone over the parts that make up the Content Creator X2 system let's focus on the company behind it. Canada Computers is a Markham-based computer hardware retailer with 7 retail locations across Toronto and Southern Ontario; Markham, North York, Toronto, Richmond Hill, Mississauga, Kingston, and Waterloo. It's perhaps best known for its presence on Toronto's College St. strip, for those that are familiar with the city. The store offers a broad selection of computer hardware and also retails from its online website www.canadacomputers.com. Of our past experiences with Canada Computers, we've found that it uses quality parts on the whole, no PC Chips/Houston motherboards here, and offers a good level of after-sales service.

The store can be a mad house during peak periods, and it can be difficult jockeying with twenty other people for help. Still, with a bit of patience and understanding, one should not have a difficult time finding exactly what they are looking for, and the prices are pretty competitive.

Like most non-corporate computer stores, its prices are "cash discounted." This means that if you want to pay via a credit card, prices will be 2% higher. Overall our experiences with Canada Computers have generally been positive, and we've had no major problems in the past.

Now, let's take the Content Creator X2 system for test spin through a series of benchmarks, both 32-bit and 64-bit!

The Tests: Focus on Workstation Benchmarks

Considering the system’s name, the benchmarks that we will run on the Canada Computers Content Creator X2 system will be more focused more on office productivity than gaming. AMD has been very up front with consumers in stating that gamers are better served getting a faster single core processor than a dual core version. The reason behind this is desktop applications have been single threaded since pretty much the dawn of computers, and unless the software is written specifically to support SMP, the second processor will sit idle.

In the workstation world, multiple processor systems are common and we will be running more workstation style benchmarks than usual to try and illustrate the benefits of dual core processors. Because the AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ is 64 bit compatible, we will also run tests in WindowsXP Professional x64 Edition to see if there is any benefit from running real world programs in a 64 bit environment.

PCStats Test System Specs:
Processor:

AMD Athlon64 X2 4800+ (dual core)

Clock Speed:

12 x 200 MHz = 2.4 GHz

Motherboards:

Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe

Videocard:

Gigabyte GV-NX68T256DH in SLI

Memory:

2x 1GB OCZ PC3200 EL Platinum

Hard Drive: 250GB WD SATA II HDD in RAID 0
DVD/CDROM: Samsung TS-H552U 16x
Heatsink: Coolermaster Vortex TX
PowerSupply: Seasonic Super Tornado 400W
Software Setup

WindowsXP Professional (32-bit)
WindowsXP x64 Edition
(64-bit)
Forceware 6.53
Catalyst 5.4

Workstation Benchmarks

32 Bit Only Benchmarks:
SYSMark 2004
Business Winstone 2004
Content Creation 2004
32 and
64 Bit Benchmarks:
Super Pi
Hexus piFast
Cinebench 2003
ScienceMark
POVray
SPECviewperf 8.0
Maya 4 Render Test
AMD DiVX Encoder Benchmark
Minigzip
SiSoft Sandra 2005
PCMark04
PCMark05
3DMark2001SE
3DMark05
UT2003
UT2004
Doom 3

The office based benchmarks are not compatible with WindowsXP Professional x64 Edition.

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Contents of Article: Canada Computers Content Creator X2
 Pg 1.  Canada Computers Content Creator X2 Workstation System Review
 Pg 2.  Content Creation Power House: Up Close and Personal
 Pg 3.  Hardware Selection in the Content Creator X2
 Pg 4.  HDD Configuration and SLI Graphics
 Pg 5.  — The Heart of the CCx2 - Athlon64 X2 4800+
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SYSMark 2004, Winstone 2004
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: Super Pi, Hexus piFast, Cinebench 2003
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: ScienceMark 2.0, POVRay, SPECviewperf 8.0
 Pg 9.  64 Bit Benchmarks: Maya Render Test, AMD DiVX Encoder Benchmark, Minigzip
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2005, PCMark04, PCMark05
 Pg 11.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, 3DMark05, UT2003
 Pg 12.  Final Verdict on the Content Creator X2

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