Updated Benchmark Suite
Many readers asked us to switch from 1024x768 to the more popular 1280x1024 resolution which dominates most 17" and 19" TFT displays. Independent from this change, we added some new game titles to our benchmarking suite:
Fear is a state-of-the-art 3D shooter that we run at high quality settings. Using less-demanding settings would allow more differences between processors and graphics cards to be discovered; however, fewer and fewer people are willing to abandon image quality given the nice graphics rendering performance of today's graphics solutions. We took a look at the minimum frame rates only.
Quake 4 is one of few gaming titles that supports more than one processor core. All you need is the corresponding patch (188.8.131.52 Beta) that can be downloaded from the Quake 4 Website. Simply add "r_usesmp 1" to the quake4.exe command and you're all set. However, we could not find any performance benefit with our timedemo.
AVG Virus Scan 7.1
We used this anti-virus program to search the install directory of SYSmark 2004 SE in our multitasking benchmark (4+ GB). However, we had AVG Virus Scan do a "preparatory" scan prior to running our benchmarks, since a second run would take advantage of Windows' caching features, making the hard drive access negligible.
We had Finereader 8 convert the PDF book "War and Peace" into MS Word doc format. The latest version 8 supports multi core Pentium D processors only, but does not support Core Duo or the Athlon 64 X2.
Photoshop CS 2
The Virtual Time based test script simulates real-time user input for Photoshop CS2. A total of seven images (66 MB) are opened and seven different filters are applied. Three of these are thread-optimized and thus take advantage of the Pentium Extreme Edition's two cores.
Premiere Pro 1.5
Premiere Pro 1.5 works with the version 1.5 HDTV plug-in from Mainconcept to convert a 10-second HDTV MPEG2 (1920x1080) into Microsoft's WMV 9 format (1080i, 24p). Both Premiere Pro and the encoder plug-in support up to four logical processors.