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Test System & Benchmarks

System Builder Marathon: Mid-Cost System
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Now that we've looked at our choices and justifications in detail, let's recap one more time:

SBM Mid-Range PC System Hardware
Processor Intel Core2 Quad CPU Q6700, 2.66 GHz, 1066 FSB, 8 MB Cache
Motherboard Asus P5N-T Deluxe, BIOS 0903 (03/06/2008)
RAM Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400, 4x 1024 MB, CAS 4.0-4-4-12
Hard Drive 1x Western Digital Raptor 150 GB
1x Western Digital Caviar 500 GB
Networking NVIDIA nForce onboard Gigabit Ethernet NIC
Graphics Cards EVGA GeForce 8800 GTX, 768 MB RAM
575 MHz GPU, 1800 MHz RAM Data Rate
Power Supply PC Power & Cooling Silencer S75Q (750W, ATX12V)
System Software & Drivers
OS Windows Vista Ultimate 6.0.6000 (Vista Retail)
DirectX Version DirectX 10.0
Platform Driver nVIDIA nForce Version 9.46
Graphics Driver nVIDIA ForceWare 169.25

Building the mid-range system went well, but we had to deal with a boot issue.

The problem we had with booting only occurred when we first configured the system; we could not boot to the OS because the PC would shut down in pre-boot. This also prevented us from installing Vista, and occurred when idling in the BIOS or running testing applications such as KillDisk.

After some quick research online we found out that this is a common problem with the ASUS P5N-T motherboard, and that it can be resolved with a BIOS update. Once we flashed the new BIOS, everything was smooth sailing and we had no other stability issues.

We have completely revamped our test suite this time, so unfortunately we won't be comparing results with the previous builds until the next system builder marathon.

Below are the test settings we've used for our myriad benchmarks and tests.

Benchmarks and Settings
3D-Games
Crysis Version: 1.1
Video Quality 1: High Details No Anti-Aliasing
Video Quality 2: Very High Details, 4x Anti-Aliasing
Benchmark: Benchmark_CPU.bat
Prey Version: 1.3
Video Quality 1: Default (No AA, 8x AF)
Video Quality 2: High Quality, 4x AA
Benchmark: THG-Demo
Supreme Commander Version: 3.220
Video Quality 1: Default
Video Quality 2: High Fidelity, High Shadow, 4x AA
Benchmark: Real 60 Game
Unreal Tournament 3 Version: Retail
Texture Detail: 5
World Detail: 5
Field of View: 100
Benchmark: Botmatch (WAR-Torlan, 12 bots, 1 Minute)
Warhammer Mark of Chaos Version: 1.6
Video Quality:Default (Highest Settings)
Demo: THG Timedemo (1 Minute)
Audio
iTunes 7.2 Version: 7.1.1.5
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
High Quality (160kb/s)
Lame MP3 Version: 3.98 Beta 3 (05-22-2007)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
wave to MP3
160kb/s
Video
TMPEGEnc 4.0 Xpress Version: 4.2.10.211
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (2 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
Audio: Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, 6-Channel, English
Advanced Acoustic Engine MP3 Encoder (160kb/s)
DivX 6.6 Version: 6.6.1
Profile: Home Theater Profile (720 x 576)
1-pass, 780 kb/s
Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading
XviD 1.1.2 Version: 1.1.2
Target quantizer: 1.00 (maximum quality)
Applications
Adobe Photoshop CS3 Version: 10.0x20070321
Filtering 69 MB TIF Photo
Benchmark: Tom's Guide-Benchmark V1.0.0.4
Autodesk 3D Studio Max Version: 9.0
Rendering One Video Frame
Quality: HTDV 1920x1080 & 1280x720
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus Version: 7.5.467
Virus Base: 269.6.1/776
Benchmark: Scanning 3.82 GB Application Folder
Maxon Cinema 4D Version: 10.008
Resolution: 1280 x 1024
Benchmark: Rose Drop, 8-bits (50 Frames)
Rarlab Winrar Version 3.70 BETA 8
Compression = Best
Dictionary = 4096 kB
Uncompressed Folder Size: 642 MB
Synthetics
SPECviewperf 9 Version: 9.0.3
PCMark05 Pro Version: 1.1.0
System, CPU and Memory Tests
Windows Media Player 11.0.6000.6324
Windows Media Encoder 9.00.00.2980
Futuremark 3DMark 2006 Version 1.10
System Test Only
SiSoftware Sandra XII Version 2007.5.11.40
CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic, Multimedia
Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

Once again, we will be looking at the results in isolation and conclusions will be difficult to draw in some cases. However, later in the week we will be comparing all of the systems in the marathon against each other for a more meaningful analysis.

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