Intel Mobile Core 2 Duo - Merom Debuts

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3DMark06 DX Gaming Performance

As you'll recall from our system specs, the Asus Z96JS whitebook we tested was setup for moderate gaming capabilities with its integrated mid-range Mobility Radeon X1600 graphics subsystem.  This gave us the ability to test Merom in a gaming environment and as such we have a few standard game-test metrics in the pages ahead.

Performance Comparisons with 3DMark06 v1.0.2
Direct X Gaming Performance

Futuremark's latest incarnation of their popular synthetic benchmarking software 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.

3DMark06's built-in CPU test is a multi-threaded "gaming related" DirectX metric that's useful for comparing relative performance between similarly equipped systems. This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are generated with a software renderer, which is dependant on the host CPU's performance. This means that the calculations normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the central processor. The frame rates recorded in each test are used to determine a final weighted score.

The 3DMark06 CPU test definitely enjoys Merom's roomier 4MB cache in addition to its overall processing throughput advantage.  From an available CPU resources perspective, our 2.33GHz T7600 is over 18% faster than the T2600 and again, that's with only an 8% clock speed advantage.  Further, the T7600 driven system is 34% faster than the T2400 system.

The "default" 3DMark06 test also heavily taxes the graphics subsystem in our Asus Notebook test machine.  As a result the scores are significantly less dispersed between all of the processors we tested.  Here our 2.33GHz T7600 enabled system is showing only about a 2% advantage over the 2.16GHz T2600.  This is a direct result of the test being completely GPU limited by the Asus machine's Radeon X1600 graphics processor.  Had we tested with a higher-end Mobility Radeon or NVIDIA GeForce Go 7 series graphics under the hood, scores would have been significantly different.   

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