Futuremark is one of the best-known benchmark providers around. We use the
PCMark line to give us a sense of a computer’s overall capabilities and we’ve
found the 3DMark line to be a good indicator of gaming performance. The new
3DMark FireStrike test is designed to challenge even high-end systems.
|Futuremark PCMark 7 &
7 runs through the types of tasks your PC is likely to encounter during ordinary
home and office use. It tests the system’s graphics capabilities as well, but it
isn’t meant to be a gaming benchmark. Look at the
two PCMark benchmarks as an indicator of a system’s general usage performance.
The Alpha isn't an office heavyweight. It can handle ordinary, daily tasks and Web surfing, but you can get more power for general use out of a similarly-priced Dell Inspiron.
|Futuremark 3DMark 11 |
3DMark 11 has been around for several years, it still provides a good look at a
system’s gaming capabilities. It's also handy tool for benchmarking machines
that still run Windows 7. We ran this benchmark on the Performance preset, at
1280 x 720 resolution. If you download the free version of this benchmark, make
sure you're using the Performance preset to avoid comparing scores that were run
with different test configurations.
The Alienware Alpha puts our other test systems to shame in 3DMark 11 with more than double the score of the Brix. The Alpha should produce solid scores in graphics-oriented benchmarks generally, but particularly in an older, lighter test like 3DMark 11 on the Performance setting. The next benchmark (3DMark Fire Strike) will put a much heavier strain on the Alpha's capabilities.
|Futuremark 3DMark Fire Strike
The next test we
chose was Futuremark’s newest: 3DMark Fire Strike. This benchmark is designed
specifically for gaming PCs. Because Extreme mode is
geared towards systems that have multiple graphics cards in CrossFire or SLI
configurations, we opted for Normal mode, which runs at 1920 x 1080.
The Alpha handled 3DMark Firestrike just fine. The Nvidia GeForce GTX card gives the Alpha the oomph you'll need to play games, and considering that your TV's resolution is probably 1080p, the Alpha is well equipped to handle TV gaming.