PCMark05: CPU & Memory
For our next round of synthetic benchmarks, we ran the CPU and Memory performance modules built into Futuremark's PCMark05. We just recently began working with PCMark05 and have found it to be 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 function.
"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.
From this point forward, we'll be comparing the Sapphire Pure Innovation PI-A9RX480 to an nForce 4 SLI powered motherboard from Gigabyte, using the very same Athlon 64 X2 3800+ processor and Corsair RAM, and an i945 based motherboard equipped with a Pentium D 820 and 1GB of DDR2-667 RAM.
As you can see, PCMark05 reported CPU performance scores for the Sapphire PI-A9RX480 and Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI that were right on top of each other. The Intel powered test system came out ahead here, but we've included the Intel scores strictly as a frame of reference. The more meaningful comparison is between the PI-A9RX480 and other AMD based test system using the Gigabyte mobo.
"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 scales tipped the other way in PCMark05's memory performance module. In this test, the Sapphire PI-A9RX480 motherboard finished just behind the nForce 4 powered K8NXP-SLI and the Intel powered test system brought up the rear. This type of synthetic performance metric is doesn't always translate into a real-world scenario, however, so let's not dwell on them and move on to some more pertinent tests.