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Benchmark Results: Synthetics

System Builder Marathon: $500 Gaming PC


The System Builder Marathon team decided to put two 3D Mark Vantage scores in this month for the $500 PC and its GPU PhysX-enabled 8800 GT and drivers. For the first run, we used default settings, which most readers will likely use, while PPU was disabled and hardware PhysX was shut off for the second run.

Let’s now take a closer look at these scores.

The substantial boost seen in the Performance profile comes from the second CPU test, where the physics workload is shifted from the CPU to the available PhysX hardware, which in this case is not a dedicated PhysX card, but our GeForce 8800 GT. For the overclocked PC, the overall CPU score jumps from around 5,200 in each profile with PPU disabled to 26,000 at default settings. Although this doesn’t weigh in heavy in the Extreme overall score, it does in the Performance profile test.

Including both charts allows for a fair comparison of the direct scores among all our System Builder Marathon machines, but doing this also allows us to take advantage of these synthetic benchmarks to look at the exciting possibilities that GPU PhysX offers.

Owners of a GeForce 8-series card or newer who want to experience GPU PhysX now can download the GeForce Power Pack from Nvidia’s site that contains, among other things, the Unreal Tournament PhysX Mod and the game War Monger.

Also, if you want to see if your game of choice is PhysX-enabled (and therefore relevant to this comparison, check here.

The added CPU speeds and doubled FSB frequency give a good boost in the system, productivity, and even the memory test. We see little improvement in the hard drive test, though. These results relate well to what we have already seen throughout our application testing.

We close out the testing suite with significant and rather consistent gains in all three of the Sandra benchmarks.

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