AMD's Athlon 64 Has Arrived: the Athlon 64 FX and Athlon 64 (and Intel's P4 Extreme)

General Hardware: Now More Hard Drive Performance

Serial ATA RAID 0: 80 GB from Maxtor times two

DVD drives for the individual test platforms

In past CPU and mainboard tests we used a 40 GB hard drive from Maxtor with 2 MB cache. But experience has shown us that when working with very powerful processors, a single hard drive is no longer enough. Video encoding (MPEG-2 or MPEG-4) provides a striking example of this. For this reason, we are now using two serial hard drives in the RAID-0 combination, in order to reach a high data transfer rate (I/O performance) without affecting CPU performance. Several examples: The encoding time in the case of Main Concept with a P4 3.2 GHz has dropped from 192 to 174 seconds - that means a performance increase of 9.3 percent. Another example is the Sysmark 2002, which runs at least an hour: It shows a performance increase from 7.9 percent (from 315 to 342 points). On the Intel platform the integrated ICH5-R (FW82801ER) is used. As the serial ATA RAID is not yet consistently integrated into the Southbridge on the AMD platform (VIA K8T800 or NForce 3, NForce 2 Ultra), we will use an external Fast Trak S150 TX2plus PCI controller from Promise.

SATA controller as a PCI card for systems without smoothly functioning onboard controllers

High-end sound card: Terratec Aureon 7.1