PCMark05: CPU & Memory
For our next round of synthetic benchmarks, we ran the CPU and Memory performance modules built into Futuremark's relatively new PCMark05. The CPU and Memory test modules we used for comparison below are very similar to the 04 version of the test suite, but results are not comparable - please keep that in mind if you are referencing older articles. 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.
From this point forward, we'll be comparing the performance of the two Abit SLI motherboards we tested against the Radeon Xpress 200 based Sapphire PI-A9RX480. The Sapphire board and the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI were tested using the exact same CPU, Memory, and Hard Drive, but because the NI8 SLI is for the Intel platform, it obviously was powered by different supporting hardware.
Due to the fact that the CPU benchmark built into PCMark05 is multi-threaded, the Pentium 4 670J / NI8 SLI combo jumped out to a commanding lead in this test, besting the AMD based systems by about 1400 points. The Fatal1ty AN8 SLI and PI-A9RX480, however, are much more evenly matched, finishing within a few points of one another.
"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.
PCMark05's memory bandwidth benchmark reports much more competitive scores. In this test, the AMD based systems performed similarly with the Fatal1ty AN8 SLI coming out just ahead of the Sapphire board. The Intel powered Abit NI8 SLI, however, was once again the victor here. The NI8 SLI finished the benchmark with a score almost 200 points higher than either the AN8 SLI or PI-A9RX480.