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The Hardware

UPDATE: Core i7: Blazing Fast, O/C Changes
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Testing Systems

Our two testbed systems for the AMD and the Intel platforms.

Motherboards

The selection of components we use for the CPU charts has been brought up to date. For AMD processors we now use an Asus board based on the AMD 790 FX chipset, while Intel CPUs are tested on a Gigabyte board with an Intel X48 chipset.

Memory

All AMD processors are tested with DDR2-1066 memory from A-DATA, with CL 4.0-4-4-12 timings. The Intel platform uses DDR3-1333 memory set to CL 7.0-7-7-21. Depending on the processors’ bus speeds, the memory may run at lower speeds—this is a limitation of the various chipsets.

Graphics Card

To ensure that the processor will be the deciding factor in our gaming benchmarks, we use MSI’s powerful N280GTX-T2D1G-OC card, which is equipped with Nvidia’s G200 chip.

Hard Drives and USB Thumb Drive

Each of our testbed systems is equipped with two 320 GB Western Digital hard drives. The WD 3200AAKS uses only a single platter, resulting in low power consumption while simultaneously allowing it to get by without additional cooling. The Linux system is run exclusively from a Corsair Flash Voyager USB thumb drive. However, our Linux benchmark suite refused to run on the Nehalem system, which is why we can’t provide any Linux results in this article.

Blu-ray Drive and Sound Card

We use Pioneer’s BDC-202BK drive for our Blu-ray benchmark. In order to keep processor load from audio playback as low as possible during gaming benchmarks, we equip our testbed system with an audio card : the X-Fi Xtreme Gamer has its own dedicated audio processor.

Power Supply and CPU Cooler

An 850 watt Cooler Master power supply provides each of our systems with necessary power.

Both the AMD and Intel processors are cooled by CNPS 9700 LED coolers made by Zalman.

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