For our next round of benchmarks, we ran the complete Futuremark PCMark Vantage test suite. This is the most recent addition to our testing toolbox that is proving to be an excellent overall assessment tool.
"The PCMark Suite is a collection of various single- and multi-threaded CPU, Graphics and HDD test sets with the focus on Windows Vista application tests. Tests have been selected to represent a subset of the individual Windows Vista Consumer scenarios. The PCMark Suite includes CPU, Graphics, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a subset of Consumer Suite tests."
The PCMark Vantage "Memories" suite includes the following tests:
Memories 1 - Two simultaneous threads, CPU image manipulation and HDD picture import
Memories 2 - Two simultaneous threads, GPU image manipulation and HDD video editing
Memories 3 - Video Transcoding: DV to portable device
Memories 4 - Video Transcoding: media server archive to portable device
From the start, PCMark Vantage could not complete all modules on this system. The 'Memories' test would repeatedly encounter a Visual C++ Runtime Error in the 'memories 2' portion of the script that would terminate the rest of the tests. Upon further investigation, the error has been reported with several makes of laptops including some from Lenovo. There issue appears to be with the Intel graphics drivers and this particular testing module. We located a support forum that included a post from a FutureMark support member who acknowledged an issue exists and offered no clues as to when a fix would be available. The implication was that the ball currently lies in Intel's court, alluding to an issue with the graphics drivers. When we did a fresh install for our MobileMark 2007 test, we tried one more time to complete the 'Memories' test and once again it failed in the 'memories 2' segment. At this stage we'll have to wait to see what FutureMark and Intel can work out regarding this error and move on to the next modules.
The Vantage HDD suite includes the following tests:
HDD 1 - HDD: Windows Defender
HDD 2 - HDD: game HDD
HDD 3 - HDD: importing pictures
HDD 4 - HDD: Windows Vista start-up
HDD 5 - HDD: video editing
HDD 6 - HDD: Media Center
HDD 7 - HDD: Adding music to Windows Media Player
Since the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 is equipped with a solid-state hard drive, this test demonstrates its superior performance capabilities over traditional hard drive technologies. In this test, the Lenovo ThinkPad X300's hard drive performed 2.75 times faster than the Dell XPS M1730 running dual 7200RPM drives in RAID 0. The X300's performance was nearly 4.9x faster than the ASUS U6S and over 4x faster than the ASUS C90S. As we move on, it will be interesting to see how this translates in the other tests that include hard drive intensive components.
Vantage Communications suite includes the following tests:
Communications 1 - Three simultaneous threads, Data encryption: CNG AES CBC, Data compression, Web page rendering: graphics content, 1024x768, windowed
Communications 2 - Three simultaneous threads. Web page rendering: open various news pages from IE 7 Favorites in separate tabs, close them one by one, Data decryption: CNG AES CBC, HDD: Windows Defender
Communications 3 - Windows Mail: Search
Communications 4 - Two simultaneous threads, Data encryption: CNG AES CBC, Audio transcoding: WMA -> WMA - to simulate VOIP
In this test, the Lenovo ThinkPad X300 lagged the ASUS U6S ultraportable laptop over 600 points while trailing the ASUS C90S by over 1000 points. The communications test is dependent on the CPU and reflects the effects of the Lenovo ThinkPad X300's lower clocked processor.