For our next round of synthetic benchmarks, we ran the CPU and Memory performance modules built into Futuremark's brand new PCMark05. In the course of working with PCMark 05 we 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 grouping of the Abit and Asus boards with the only notable distinction being the MSI P4N Diamond, which was a full 50 points off the pace. The overall lead, if you will, goes to the Asus P5N32-SLI. However, with such a small difference between it and the nearest board, the AW8-MAX, we aren't going to make any early calls on CPU performance.
"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 performance module was also quite close, although once again the Asus P5N32-SLI barely held on a scant lead over the other boards. Only 36 points separated the top board from the bottom, measuring out to a margin of less than one percent. Synthetically speaking, CPU and Memory performance is on par for both the i955X and nForce4 SLI boards.