PCMark Vantage (continued)
We continue our test coverage with the remaining modules from the comprehensive PCMark Vantage suite of benchmarks. Unlike the majority of our benchmarks, Vantage takes nearly and hour and a half to complete its round of tests, hitting upon all facets of hardware and drivers to come up with its final results.
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
Vantage's Gaming suite took an unexpected turn, with the MSI P45 Diamond suddenly leading the pack - and by a decidedly large margin. While each of the other boards hovered mostly nearly the lower 3900s (with the P45 Platinum hitting the low point at 3910), the Diamond was the only board to make it into the 4000s. With a 111 point lead over its brethren, it would seem that this board would be the better of the two for gaming purposes.
"Online music shops have changed the way we purchase music, letting us buy exactly the tracks we want, right from home. Cataloguing your music library is a breeze for fast and powerful HDDs. The most common audio file formats decrease your music’s audio quality which is undesirable. Luckily, lossless audio file formats are becoming more popular. Transcoding from non-compressed audio to a lossless format is heavily taxing on the CPU. Transcoding your audio files from one format to another is much quicker and easier using high performance CPUs."
Vantage Music suite includes the following tests:
Music 1 - Three simultaneous threads, Web page rendering – w/ music shop content, Audio transcoding: WAV -> WMA lossless, HDD: Adding music to Windows Media Player
Music 2 - Audio transcoding: WAV -> WMA lossless
Music 3 - Audio transcoding: MP3 -> WMA
Music 4 - Two simultaneous threads, Audio transcoding: WMA -> WMA, HDD: Adding music to Windows Media Player
Similar to the Gaming suite results, we find the two MSI boards at the opposite ends of our testing spectrum. The P45 Diamond once again took the lead, although this time it was more hotly contested with the Blitz Formula and Stirker II Formula right on its heels. The P45 Platinum, on the other hand, was in a closer grouping with the lower third of boards, both of which just happened to be X48-based.
"To compress and encrypt all personal information is vital for safe computing. Emails are the most important type of communication, whether it is personal or business. To keep the workflow smooth and enjoyable, high performance CPUs and HDDs are recommended. Reading news online while having your cup of coffee is quality-time. Often one site isn’t enough, so tabbed browsing is a perfect solution for news-hungry people. Spyware is very common on systems without protection against it, letting Windows Defender scan & protect your system is recommended. Voice over IP – with Skype™ or Windows Live Messenger – is very popular these days. Encrypted messaging for home and workplace gives additional security."
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
Performance in the Communications suite of tests was varied, ranging from a hgih of 3362 with the Intel DX48BT2 to a nadir of 3207 with one of ASUS' boards, the Striker II Formula. As for MSI, the boards are evenly matched with each other, and as a whole find themselves smack dab in the middle of the pack.
"Starting various applications can take a long time – unless you have a high performance HDD. Editing text with WordPad is a breeze when done with fast CPUs and graphics cards. Often one site isn’t enough, so tabbed browsing is a perfect solution for highly productive people. Spyware is very common on systems without protection against it, letting Windows Defender scan & protect your system is recommended. Starting Windows Vista is a rather demanding task for the storage device, but a fast HDD will notably decrease the loading time. Our busy lives find us hard at work, balancing multiple tasks; with little time for breaks. It’s the same for our computers. Multiple tasks, running simultaneously, put your system under a lot of stress. Having a modern, up-to-date CPU, HDD, graphics card and board full of system memory increases your computer’s productivity and reduces your stress."
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.
Admittedly, both MSI boards come with the "gaming" tag and are geared towards frame-rate watching enthusiasts, but the productivity results are a bit distressing. The P45 Diamond is at rock-bottom, well below the other cards and the P45 Platinum as well. The Platinum at least is holding its own with two other boards, the Intel DX48BT2 and ASUS Striker II Formula. However, all of these are well behind the leader - the ASUS Blitz Formula just nipping at 3600 points.