Maingear Ephex 3-Way SLI Performance Gaming System

Article Index

PCMark Vantage

For our next round of benchmarks, we ran all 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 benchmarking suite:

 Futuremark PCMark Vantage
 Synthetic Benchmarks

"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 overall PCMark Vantage score is a weighted average of all of the modules in the PCMark Vantage suite calculated in total "PCMarks".  Here are the results from our tests with the Maingear Ephex.


In all of our tests, we've included a couple of reference points to compare performance of the Maingear Ephex versus some of our standard platform test systems in house from Intel and AMD.  The top Intel quad-core processor that we tested was the 45nm Core 2 Extreme QX9650 at its default clock speed of 3GHz.  We also included an E6850 dual core at the same 3GHz clock speed for good measure and finally complete the picture with two of AMD's fastester Phenom quad-core processors at 2.4 and 2.3GHz.

In the overall PCMark Vantage performance test, we see the Maingear Ephex and its 3.8GHz overclocked Core 2 Extreme QX6850, outpace the QX9650-based system by over 15%.  However, there are a number of performance metrics that go into this final weighted score, so we'll dig into the individual PCMark Vantage tests, next.

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

In this test, overall system bandwidth with faster DDR3 system memory allowed the QX9650 system to stay within a 2% striking distance of the Maingear Ephex, though the Ephex has an 800MHz CPU clock speed advantage.


Vantage TV and Movies suite includes the following tests:

TV and Movies 1 - Two simultaneous threads, Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive, Video playback: HD DVD w/ additional lower bitrate HD content from HDD, as downloaded from the net
TV and Movies 2 - Two simultaneous threads, Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive, Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 19.39 Mbps terrestrial HDTV playback
TV and Movies 3 - HDD Media Center
TV and Movies 4 - Video transcoding: media server archive to portable device, Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 48 Mbps Blu-ray playback

Vantage's TV and Movie test offers similar results, though the Maingear Ephex held a 4% edge over the QX9650 reference test system.

Courtesy, Futuremark:  "Gaming is one of the most popular forms of entertainment for all ages. Today’s games demand high performance graphics cards and CPUs to avoid delays and sluggish performance while playing. Loading screens in games are yesterday’s news. Streaming data from an HDD in games – such as Alan Wake™ – allows for massive worlds and riveting non-stop action. CPUs with many cores give a performance advantage to gamers in real-time strategy and massively multiplayer games. Gaming Suite includes the following tests: "

Gaming 1 - GPU game test
Gaming 2 - HDD: game HDD
Gaming 3 - Two simultaneous threads, CPU game test, Data decompression: level loading
Gaming 4 - Three simultaneous threads, GPU game test, CPU game test, HDD: game HDD

PCMark Vantage's 'Gaming' test, which borrows some of its assets from 3DMark06's game tests, shows the Maingear Ephex slightly behind the QX9650 reference system.  The power of 3-Way SLI are not fully exploited in this test, and Vantage didn't place as much weight on the GPU-bound portions of its test versus its CPU and memory bandwidth focused metrics.

Related content