Dell, HP, and iBuyPower Back-to-School PC Roundup

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SiSoft Sandra & Cinebench

We continued our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2009, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran four of the built-in subsystem tests (CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia, Memory Bandwidth, Physical Disks).
Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA 2009
Synthetic Benchmarks

HP and Dell went with the same processor -- an Intel Core i7 2600 (3.4GHz, 8MB L3 cache) -- which gave them an edge over iBuyPower and its Core i5 2500K chip (3.3GHz, 6MB L3 cache). It's true the 2500K has an unlocked multiplier, but that only comes into play if you intend to overclock, and our system arrived at stock speed.

When we turned our attention to the memory and physical disk subsystems, HP's Pavilion again took a backseat. Dell's came in second place by a hair, but wins the round by offering more than twice as much storage space as iBuyPower's (2TB versus 750GB). HP's hard drive offers ample storage too -- 1.5TB -- but you give up 40MB/s of performance in an area that's already considered the bottleneck of most modern systems.

What's also interesting is that HP's oddball 10GB RAM configuration (3x2GB; 1x4GB) appears to take a slight performance hit compared the more traditional 8GB setup in the other two systems, but not enough to have us concerned.

Cinebench R11.5 64bit
Content Creation Performance

Maxon's Cinebench R11.5 benchmark is based on Maxon's Cinema 4D software used for 3D content creation chores and tests both the CPU and GPU in separate benchmark runs. On the CPU side, Cinebench renders a photorealistic 3D scene by tapping into up to 64 processing threads (CPU) to process more than 300,000 total polygons, while the GPU benchmark measures graphics performance by manipulating nearly 1 million polygons and huge amounts of textures.

None of these back-to-school systems are tuned for CAD design, 3D modeling, or other professional tasks Cinebench attempts to measure. That said, HP turned in the best multi-threaded performance of the bunch, and by a pretty wide margin (comparatively).

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