It's only been a couple weeks since AMD released their Athlon processor at 700MHz. With the launch of the 650MHz CPU, KryoTech was able to push this CPU to 800MHz. Now that AMD has launched the 700, KryoTech now is able to offer a 900MHz unit. We were excited to get this system up and running with the latest and greatest equipment to see what this thing could do.
KryoTech's 800MHz unit was the fastest unit ever to be powered up in our labs. Back in August we provided all the details and photos in our
Here is an illustration showing the guts of the unit.
The new $2200.00 model is shipped in a bare bones configuration which includes a chassis with an Athlon approved 300 watt power supply, KryoTech's specially designed refrigeration hardware and CPU cavity, Athlon motherboard (our unit has a Microstar MS-6167) and a 900MHz AMD Athlon processor. As with the 800MHz version, this new unit is endorsed by AMD and backed by KryoTech's 1year warranty.
Besides being an extremely fast system, the KryoTech is also one of the heaviest PCs around (60+ lbs.). So for all of you serious gamers out there that plan on hefting this thing to all of the LAN parties, you better invest in some sort of dolly so that you can roll this monster to its destination. Many people have inquired about the noise the KryoTech system produces. Yes, the tower does provide a bit more noise than a typical system. The best way to describe the noise produced is to compare it to one of those dorm room miniature refrigerators. The unit however, is much quieter in comparison to our lab's main server that has a front mounted chassis fan. How long does it take this thing to boot? Actually, it's not as time consuming as one might think. The two Athlon based KryoTech's we have boot rather quickly, usually within about 30 - 45 seconds. Once you hit the button on the chassis the KryoTech refrigeration hardware starts first and chills the CPU to down to -36 degrees Celsius, then supplies power to the system board. Also, because the Athlon CPU is contained in the KryoTech cavity and the heat from the processor is removed via the refrigeration units conduit, the inside of the system chassis runs cooler than a standard Athlon system that uses a typical fan and heat sink. Less heat in the system chassis is obviously a good thing.
The Effects of Cache Speed
Another important note in regards to the 900MHz KryoTech is its L2 cache speed. All of the shipping Athlon processors to date have a cache speed divisor of 2. So an Athlon running at 500MHz would have an L2 at the speed of 250MHz.
However, the cache on this 900MHz computer could not run at 450MHz. Getting cache modules that can even tolerate a 400MHz speed is a tough thing to do. So to solve this problem, the Microstar MS-6167 automatically sets the L2 cache speed to a divisor of 3 when an Athlon 900MHz processor is installed. This puts the L2 at 300MHz for the 900MHz Athlon vs. a 400MHz L2 for the KryoTech 800MHz Athlon. With the slower L2 cache speed of the 900MHz platform the Athlon's performance should start to flatten with certain applications. Let's look at the results and see where the performance of the 900MHz Athlon sits.
System & Environment Settings
|Intel Pentium III||500,550,600,(650-Over Clocked)|
|Motherboard||ABIT BX6 2.0 (440BX)(BIOS date 7/13/99)|
|Memory||128 MB Viking PC100 CAS2|
|Intel Pentium III||533B, 600B|
|Motherboard||Intel VC820 (i820, preliminary)|
|Memory||128MB 800MHz RDRAM (64x2)|
|AMD Athlon||500,550,600,650,700,(750-Over Clocked),800,900|
|Memory||128 MB Viking PC100 CAS2|
|NVIDIA GeForce 256
120MHz Core, 300MHz DDR-RAM 32MB
|OS Versions||Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222 A
Windows NT 4.0 w/Service Pack 5
|Quake 3 Arena||V1.08
command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0
|DMZG Demo Version||command line = -bench -tl on|
What about the Performance?
We ran a variety of processors from Intel and AMD through our test suite so we could check out how all of the CPU's scale and find out how the KryoTech 900MHz Athlon would perform when teamed up with NVIDIA's GeForce 256 DDR based graphics board. The business application performance suite includes Windows 98 testing with BAPCo's SYSmark98, and Windows NT with both SYSmark98 & 3D StudioMax. The gaming suite includes Quake 3 Arena and Dogath Moor Zoological Gardens. Both of the game titles were run at 640x480x16 to try and keep the video board from becoming the bottleneck.
Windows 98 - Business Application Performance
|SYSMark98 - Win98SE|
|Pentium III 500||211||Athlon 500||237|
|Pentium III 550||228||Athlon 550||253|
|Pentium III 600||245||Athlon 600||270|
|Pentium III 650||262||Athlon 650||287|
|Pentium III 533B||217||Athlon 700||300|
|Pentium III 600B||245||Athlon 750||313|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 800||328|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 900||339|
SYSmark98 under Windows 98 shows the KryoTech units in the lead. However, you can see that the slower cache speed of the 900MHz Athlon causes the slope between 800 and 900MHz to flatten out. Still, the 339 SYSmark98 score under Win98 is the fastest we've seen with this setup and it's 38.3% faster than a Pentium 600B in a still not even released i820-platform.
Windows NT - Business Application Performance
|SYSMark98 - WinNT SP5|
|Pentium III 500||229||Athlon 500||257|
|Pentium III 550||247||Athlon 550||275|
|Pentium III 600||268||Athlon 600||292|
|Pentium III 650||280||Athlon 650||306|
|Pentium III 533B||239||Athlon 700||319|
|Pentium III 600B||268||Athlon 750||333|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 800||347|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 900||371|
Running SYSmark98 under Windows NT shows the Athlon 900MHz scaling much better. NT is using the L2-cache mor effinciently, so that the slower L2 cache speed of the Athlon 900MHz doesn't seem to affect the scores as much as under Windows 98. Again, the 371 SYSmark98 result produced by the KryoTech Athlon 900 is the fastest we've seen and it's some whopping 38.5 % faster than the fastest official Intel system.
|3DStudioMAX - WinNT SP5||(Pictures Rendered per/hour)|
|Pentium III 500||56||Athlon 500||68|
|Pentium III 550||52||Athlon 550||75|
|Pentium III 600||57||Athlon 600||82|
|Pentium III 650||62||Athlon 650||88|
|Pentium III 533B||50||Athlon 700||95|
|Pentium III 600B||56||Athlon 750||103|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 800||109|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 900||120|
In this floating-point intensive application the Athlon scales perfectly. The KryoTech 900MHz is able to crunch the numbers and render over 120 pictures per/hour! It's obvious that the L2 cache speed difference between the 800 and 900MHz Athlon has no adverse performance affects with the 3DstudioMax application. For a single Pentium III to match the floating-point power of the 900MHz Athlon would require it to run over 1.2GHz! The Cool Athlon 900 scores 114% higher than the Pentium 600B. I understand that Intel must be really scared about that.
Windows 98 - 3D Gaming Performance
|Dogath Moor Zoological Gardens||640x480x16|
|Pentium III 500||55.9||Athlon 500||69.0|
|Pentium III 550||59.8||Athlon 550||69.6|
|Pentium III 600||63.3||Athlon 600||70.0|
|Pentium III 650||65.8||Athlon 650||70.1|
|Pentium III 533B||57.0||Athlon 700||70.2|
|Pentium III 600B||64.5||Athlon 750||70.2|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 800||70.2|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 900||70.2|
The results scored with Athlon are more interesting from a GeForce-evaluation perspective than from a processor-performance stand point. You can see what several people feared, GeForce's T&L-unit is max'ed out. A card without integrated T&L but the same fill rate as GeForce would most likely score higher and of course you would see scores scaling with the processor performance. At the same time we can see that Pentium III does not reach the limit of GeForce's T&L, thus it's still scaling. This should give you a very good idea about Athlon's real 3D-performance. It's evidently way ahead of Pentium III and Pentium IIIB.
|Quake 3 Arena - 640x480x16||NORMAL - Q3DEMO1|
|Pentium III 500||85.1||Athlon 500||94.3|
|Pentium III 550||91.7||Athlon 550||99.8|
|Pentium III 600||96.7||Athlon 600||105.5|
|Pentium III 650||102.4||Athlon 650||109.4|
|Pentium III 533B||88.4||Athlon 700||113.7|
|Pentium III 600B||96.1||Athlon 750||116.9|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 800||120.7|
|KryoTech Cool Athlon 900||125.4|
Q3 Arena enjoys the 900MHz speed the KryoTech unit has to offer giving us the highest score of 125.4 FPS. Also, the slower 300MHz L2 of the Athlon 900MHz doesn't affect the CPU scaling much at all. Looking at those results and comparing them to the DMZG-scores makes one almost happy that Q3Test does not use GeForce's T&L-engine. However, we shouldn't forget that Q3Test uses a lot less polygons than DMZG.
The new KryoTech Cool 900MHz Athlon system provides stellar performance at a price. This unit takes the title of THG's fastest tested system. Even though this unit ships for no less than $2200, there is only a $200.00 dollar difference between the 800MHz and 900MHz systems. This is not too bad, considering that the Intel Pentium III 600B is over $200 more than the Pentium III 533B. The other advantage you have by getting the Cool Athlon 900 is that you won't have to look around for an Athlon motherboard in vain anymore. Kryotech does this sorry job for you.
The Athlon processor at 700MHz is already faster than the Pentium III processors Intel is shipping. Matching up the Athlon with KryoTech's advanced thermal engineering allows a whopping 900MHz core speed and provides the ultimate high performance system solution. Owning this system definitely gives the user bragging rights! Now if KryoTech would just design this puppy with a beverage chiller....