PCMark05: CPU & Memory
For our next round of synthetic benchmarks, we ran the CPU and Memory performance modules built into Futuremark's PCMark05. We incorporated PCMark05 into our benchmark suite soon after its release, and 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 Pentium Extreme Edition 965's 4 "virtual" processors propel it to the head of the pack in PCMark05's CPU performance module. This is a multi-threaded test, and as such it benefits greatly from the fact that each of the 965XE's cores can process two threads simultaneously when Hyper-Threading is enabled. The chip's higher clock speed obviously helps as well, as it's able to best the 955XE by more than 500 points.
"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 Pentium Extreme Edition 965 was the best performer in PCMark05's memory performance module as well. This test isn't strictly a gauge of bandwidth like SANDRA's, though, which is why the higher clocked 965XE is able to outperform the 955XE, even though both processors put up similar scores in the SANDRA test.
Interestingly enough, according to this test, Intel has an advantage over AMD in the memory performance department. AMD's integrated memory controller has long been touted as one of the major factors in the Athlon 64's excellent relative performance. But Futuremark's test doesn't seem to think so. Let's get away from the synthetic tests and see what some real-world application benchmarks have to say.