Paradigm SHIFT: MainGear's Unique Gaming Rig Tested

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PCMark Vantage

Next, we ran the test systems through Futuremark’s latest system performance metric, PCMark Vantage. This benchmark suite runs through a host of different usage scenarios to simulate different types of workloads including High Definition digital video playback and editing, gaming, image editing and manipulation, music compression, communications, and productivity. We like the fact that most of the tests are multi-threaded as well, in order to exploit the additional resources offered by multi-core processors.

One thing to keep in mind when comparing PCMark Vantage results is that the benchmark's margin of error is fairly wide—we'd estimate 5-7 percent. Relevant factors include  whether or not the hard drive was defragmented immediately prior to the run and whether Vantage was run immediately following OS+driver installation, or only after a full suite of tests and other benchmarks had been run.

We used the 64-bit version of the benchmark and defragmented the hard drive immediately prior to running it. However, since the Origin PC used an Intel SSD instead of a standard hard drive, we avoided defragging the drive in favor of using Intel's TRIM utility.
Futuremark PCMark Vantage
Simulated Application Performance

Origin Genesis: Core i7 920 @ 3.8GHz, Maingear Shift: Core i7 980X @ 4.2GHz

The Shift scorched through PCMark Vantage to such a degree that we re-ran the test several times on both systems to make sure our scores hadn't been glitched. Part of the performance difference between the two systems is because the Shift has more available cores, a potentially faster SSD, and a higher clockspeed, but part of it may be AHCI (Advanced Host Controller Interface).

Most systems and motherboards, including Origin's Genesis, ship with their storage controllers set for IDE mode. In some cases, this makes sense—IDE mode doubles as a legacy compatibility mode, and some SATA controllers, including those made by JMicron and AMD, actually perform better in that mode. The problem with disabling AHCI is that it prevents the drive from using features like NCQ or hot-swapping. MainGear's SHIFT ships with AHCI enabled, and we're guessing that accounts for at least a chunk of the 6000+ gap in scores.

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