Test Systems Configuration And Driver Issues
A drop from the previous six-core to four-core processor meant we couldn’t use the performance data from our last X7200-based review, and were instead forced to try to find the fastest previously-tested four-core models in today’s comparison. That’s unfortunate, since its Core i7-950 desktop processor has a higher non-Turbo Boost clock than the Core i7-940XM mobile processor used in Eurocom’s X8100. Of course, any performance gained by using a desktop processor will turn into energy lost in our efficiency comparison.
|Test System Configuration|
|AVADirect X7200 CPU||Intel Core i7-950 (Bloomfield), LGA 1366, 3.06-3.33 GHz, 8MB Shared L3 Cache|
|AVADirect X7200 RAM||3 x Kingston KVR1333D3S9/2G (3 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 at DDR3-1066 CAS 7-7-7-20, 6 GB Total|
|AVADirect X7200 Graphics||2 x Nvidia GeForce GTX 460M 1.5 GB 675 MHz GPU Core, GDDR5-2500 Mobile Driver Version 259.51, Patched 260.99|
|AVADirect X7200 Hard Drive||Crucial C300 CTFDDAC256MAG SSD 256 GB, SATA 6Gb/s|
|Alienware M17x CPU||Intel Core i7-920XM (Clarksfield) PGA988, 2.00-3.20 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache|
|Alienware M17x RAM||2 x Kingston KHX1333C7S3K2/4G (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 CAS 9-9-9-24, 4 GB Total|
|Alienware M17x Graphics||2 x AMD Mobility Radeon HD 5870 1 GB, CrossFire 700 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4000 Mobile Driver Version 8.692.2-100203a1-095371C-Dell|
|Alienware M17x Hard Drive||Corsair CSSD-V128GB2-BRKT SSD 128 GB, SATA 3Gb/s|
|Eurocom X8100 CPU||Intel Core i7-940XM (Clarksfield) PGA988, 2.13-3.33 GHz, 8 MB Shared L3 Cache|
|Eurocom X8100 RAM||2 x Kingston KHX1333C7S3K2/4G (2 x 2 GB) DDR3-1333 CAS 7-7-7-20 4 GB Total|
|Eurocom X8100 Graphics||Nvidia GeForce GTX 480M 2 GB 425 MHz GPU Core, GDDR5-2400 Mobile Driver Version 257.07|
|Eurocom X8100 Hard Drive||Corsair CSSD-V128GB2-BRKT SSD 128 GB, SATA 3Gb/s|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 7 64-bit|
Two GeForce GTX 460M modules cost less than a single GTX 480M, so that’s the most logical Nvidia GPU match-up. Alienware’s super-performing M17x takes up arms for AMD’s Radeon series, its dual Mobility Radeon HD 5870 modules in CrossFire mode.
Also notice that the X7200 was tested twice, using the as-delivered 259.51 graphics drivers and specially-patched 260.99 “Verde” versions. The 259.51 driver often crashed when the cards dropped out of 3D mode at the end of a game test, and we found that the 260.99 drivers fixed it. The only problem for notebook buyers is, the public 260.99 drivers would not install without a little prep work.
Because Nvidia has not yet validated Clevo’s cards, the public driver INFs don’t list the card’s ID. We found three methods to enable “Verde” driver installations on AVADirect’s Clevo notebook.
The easiest method is to patch the public driver’s NVAM.INF file, finding the lines that refer to the GTX 460M device ID “0DD1” and replacing the ID of one card with that of another. We found six instances of this code, representing three cards on two different driver models. Replacing both instances of the first card listed (20401043) with the ID of our card (72001558) allowed the drivers to install without a hitch, including the Nvidia HDMI audio drivers. Because the installer removes all HD audio codec drivers before updating Nvidia’s audio drivers, the Realtek driver must also be reinstalled.
Nvidia used a different method in its own 260.99 preview driver for Asus’ G73Jw notebook, adding the lines %NVIDIA_DEV.0DD1.02% = Section017, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0DD1&SUBSYS_71001558 and %NVIDIA_DEV.0DD1.02% = Section018, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0DD1&SUBSYS_71001558 to the appropriate places in NVCV.INF. We tried changing Asus’ customized driver to match our card (72001558), and the graphics drivers installed without updating the Nvidia audio drivers.
Users who know a little bit more about INF structure can do to the public driver what Nvidia did to the Asus driver, adding %NVIDIA_DEV.0DD1.02% = Section017, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0DD1&SUBSYS_72001558 and %NVIDIA_DEV.0DD1.02% = Section018, PCI\VEN_10DE&DEV_0DD1&SUBSYS_72001558 to the appropriate places in NVCV.INF. The results are identical to using the modified Asus driver, and we tested all three methods to make sure they worked.
In all three cases, the 260.99 driver fixed the stability problem previously found in the 259.51 driver. Nvidia tells us to expect an official update in early December that will make manual driver hacks unnecessary for its unified software package.
|Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2||Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS) Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA|
|Crysis||Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 4x AA|
|DiRT 2||Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x AA|
|S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of Pripyat||Call Of Pripyat Benchmark version Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA|
|iTunes||Version:126.96.36.199 x64 Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min Default format AAC|
|HandBrake 0.9.4||Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai (1 GB) to .mp4, High Profile|
|TMPGEnc 4.0 XPress||Version: 188.8.131.522 Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9|
|DivX Codec 6.9.1||Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multi-threading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search|
|Xvid 1.2.2||Display encoding status = off|
|MainConcept Reference 1.6.1||MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG-2), Audio: MPEG-2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)|
|Adobe Photoshop CS4||Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 2010||Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)|
|Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0||Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files|
|WinRAR 3.90||Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)|
|7-Zip||Version 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32 KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8 Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)|
|Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings|
|3DMark Vantage||Version: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores|
|PCMark Vantage||Version: 184.108.40.206 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks|
|SiSoftware Sandra 2010||Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark|