For our next round of benchmarks, we ran a few of the modules built into Futuremark's PCMark Vantage test suite. Vantage is a new benchmarking tool that we've incorporated into our arsenal of tests here at HotHardware. Here's how Futuremark positions their new benchmarking tool:
"The PCMark Suite is a collection of various single- and multi-threaded CPU, Graphics and HDD test sets with the focus on Windows Vista application tests. Tests have been selected to represent a subset of the individual Windows Vista Consumer scenarios. The PCMark Suite includes CPU, Graphics, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a subset of Consumer Suite tests."
The PCMark Vantage "Memories" suite includes the following tests:
Memories 1 - Two simultaneous threads, CPU image manipulation and HDD picture import
Memories 2 - Two simultaneous threads, GPU image manipulation and HDD video editing
Memories 3 - Video Transcoding: DV to portable device
Memories 4 - Video Transcoding: media server archive to portable device
When it comes to image manipulation and video transcoding, at least according to PCMark Vantage, it's all Intel currently. Specifically, the QX9770 completely obliterates anything from AMD, save perhaps for the dual-socket Athlon 64 FX-74 3GHz system, where it still overtakes the best AMD has to offer in this test by about 20% and with a lot less power consumption as you'll see later. The QX9770 is only about 3% faster than the QX9650, though it has roughly a 6+% clock speed advantage.
The Vantage HDD suite includes the following tests:
HDD 1 - HDD: Windows Defender
HDD 2 - HDD: game HDD
HDD 3 - HDD: importing pictures
HDD 4 - HDD: Windows Vista start-up
HDD 5 - HDD: video editing
HDD 6 - HDD: Media Center
HDD 7 - HDD: Adding music to Windows Media Player
Since our hard disk subsystem was so similar between each of our test systems, the above results for Vantage's HDD test suite come as no surprise. Our group test systems all clocked in on top of each other in this test, largely because we used the identical hard drives across all test beds.
Vantage Communications suite includes the following tests:
Communications 1 - Three simultaneous threads, Data encryption: CNG AES CBC, Data compression, Web page rendering: graphics content, 1024x768, windowed
Communications 2 - Three simultaneous threads. Web page rendering: open various news pages from IE 7 Favorites in separate tabs, close them one by one, Data decryption: CNG AES CBC, HDD: Windows Defender
Communications 3 - Windows Mail: Search
Communications 4 - Two simultaneous threads, Data encryption: CNG AES CBC, Audio transcoding: WMA -> WMA - to simulate VOIP
When we looked at things like data encryption and decryption throughput, as the PCMark Vantage Communications suite shows us, our results varied tremendously. When you're processing 128-bit or 256-bit AES keys, you tend to separate the men from the boys so to speak. The higher the clock speed and the greater number of cores, the better your results. It's that simple. Both the QX9650 and QX9770 burn past all processors in this test but the FX-74 dual socket quad-core system puts up a solid fight, though it is still about 8% behind Intel's fastest architecture, clock for clock. The new Phenom quad-cores simply couldn't keep up with their relatively low clock speed, or even versus a Core 2 Duo at the same clock speed; the difference most likely being cache again, with Core 2 Duo's 4MB of L2 and the Phenom's 2MB of L2 and 2MB of higher latency L3.
Vantage Productivity suite includes the following tests:
Productivity 1 - Two simultaneous threads, Text editing, HDD: application loading
Productivity 2 - Two simultaneous threads, Windows Contacts: search, HDD: Windows Defender
Productivity 3 - HDD: Windows Vista start-up
Productivity 4 - Three simultaneous threads, Windows Contacts: search, Windows Mail: Run Message Rules, Web page rendering: simultaneously open various pages from IE7 Favorites in separate tabs, close them one by one
For general Windows Vista performance, the Core 2 Extreme QX9770 once again posted the fastest score of the group, edging out the QX9650 by abotu 5%. Again AMD's 3GHz FX-74 rig keeps pace but the more power and cost-efficient Phenom core systems performed only at the level of their quad-core Intel counterparts at the same clock speed.