For our next round of synthetic benchmarks, we ran the CPU and Memory performance modules built into Futuremark's brand new PCMark05. We just recently began working with PCMark 05 and have found it to be even more robust in terms of test features than its predecessor. That said, the CPU and Memory test modules we use for comparison are very similar to the '04 version of the test suite. For those interested in more than just the graphs, we've got a couple of quotes directly from Futuremark that explain exactly what these tests do, and how they work:
"The CPU Test suite is a collection of tests that are run to isolate the performance of the CPU. The CPU Test Suite also includes multithreading: two of the test scenarios are run multithreaded; the other including two simultaneous tests and the other running four tests simultaneously. The remaining six tests are run single threaded. Operations include, File Compression/Decompression, Encryption/Decryption, Image Decompression, and Audio Compression" - Courtesy FutureMark Corp.
The PCMark05 CPU module's results were a close match between the Abit AW8-MAX and the Asus P5WD2 Premium. A mere five points puts the AW8-Max ahead, but this difference could possibly be attributed to the higher FSB speed that we entered into the BIOS in an attempt to level the playing field. At any rate, the difference between the two is too minor to make a definitive call on which board is better.
"The Memory test suite is a collection of tests that isolate the performance of the memory subsystem. The memory subsystem consists of various devices on the PC. This includes the main memory, the CPU internal cache (known as the L1 cache) and the external cache (known as the L2 cache). As it is difficult to find applications that only stress the memory, we explicitly developed a set of tests geared for this purpose. The tests are written in C++ and assembly. They include: Reading data blocks from memory, Writing data blocks to memory performing copy operations on data blocks, random access to data items and latency testing." - Courtesy FutureMark Corp.
The memory module performance was also a toss-up, with the Asus P5WD2 barely beating out the Abit AW8-MAX by 26 points - less than a percent difference between the two. We had figured that the Asus board might come out on top, since the DDR2 frequency was reported to be slightly lower on the AW8-MAX (333MHz on the P5WD2 compared to 332.5MHz on the AW8-MAX).