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All benchmark charts were created with HyperThreading deactivated. Preliminary investigations showed that this feature - despite being marketed with huge fanfare by Intel - causes a slight loss in performance in many workstation applications.
During our previous tests for these reviews, the initial crashes were really frustrating, and turned out to have been caused by immature drivers. We were in constant contact with the manufacturers until all the bugs were fixed, which meant that we had to repeat whole test series. Understandably, we approached this test with a distinct sense of unease.
This time we were quite surprised - everything worked the first time, despite the new PCI Express interface. Both manufacturers provided drivers that were already WHQL certified; ATI's drivers are at a level where they really exploit all of the hardware functions.
The workstation was a platform based on the E7525 (Tumwater) chipset from Intel. The Supermicro X6DA8-G2 motherboard has two Xeon processors each running at 3.6 GHz; the CPUs are based on the Nocona core. Two 1 GB Infineon memory modules provide sufficient memory capacity (PC3200/DDR2-400 CL3, Reg ECC).