Alienware Area-51 M5500 Notebook

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Gaming Performance 1

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark05 v1.2.0

3DMark05 is the part of a long line of synthetic 3D graphics benchmarks, dating back to late 1998. 3DMark05 is a synthetic benchmark that requires a DirectX 9.0 compliant video card, with support for Pixel Shaders 2.0 or higher, to render all of the various modules that comprise the suite. To generate its final "score", 3DMark05 runs three different simulated game tests and uses each test's framerate in the final tabulation. Fillrate, Memory bandwidth, and compute performance especially all have a measurable impact on performance in this benchmark. We ran 3DMark05's default test (1,024 x 768) on all of the cards and configurations we tested, and have the overall results posted for you below.

Looking at the results, one quickly realizes that the Intel integrated graphics are oriented more towards standard applications than any intense gameplay. When the system utilizes the IGP solution, a measly 292 points are earned and done so at a slideshow pace. However, enabling the discrete NVIDIA GeForce Go 6600 brings significantly more acceptable results. Raising the GeForce Go 6600's frequencies from the stock 300/600 to 330/670 yielded a healthy increase in score as well with no stability issues whatsoever.

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2

Futuremark recently launched a brand-new version of their popular benchmark, 3DMark06. The new version of the benchmark is updated in a number of ways, and now includes not only Shader Model 2.0 tests, but Shader Model 3.0 and HDR tests as well. Some of the assets from 3DMark05 have been re-used, but the scenes are now rendered with much more geometric detail and the shader complexity is vastly increased as well. Max shader length in 3DMark05 was 96 instructions, while 3DMark06 ups the number of instructions to 512. 3DMark06 also employs much more lighting, and there is extensive use of soft shadows. With 3DMark06, Futuremark has also updated how the final score is tabulated. In this latest version of the benchmark, SM 2.0 and HDR / SM3.0 tests are weighted and the CPU score is factored into the final tally as well.

With 3DMark06 being a much more graphically intensive and brutal benchmark than 3DMark05, it is no surprise to see the Intel IGP solution yielding downright abysmal results. Even the discrete MXM module struggles with Futuremark's latest and greatest application. Regardless, thanks to its Shader Model 3.0 support the system is able to run the benchmark in its entirety though at slower speeds than we would like.

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