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Three High-End Gaming Systems Compared

64-bit Benchmark Results

Though our normal test suite uses 32-bit benchmarks, today’s three high-end machines came pre-loaded with 64-bit Windows Vista. A few benchmarks also supported 64-bit mode, so lab technician Shelton Romhanyi ran these separately.

The SLI-enhanced Blackbird 002 LC starts out with a significant lead at lower resolutions, but the Falcon Northwest Mach 5 with its four-way CrossFireX setup makes up for it at higher settings. Since most high-end buyers will want to run at least 1920x1200-pixel resolutions whenever possible, the Mach 5 is the preferred solution when using the above settings. However, this is the only game we have that runs in 64-bit mode and our 32-bit tests will paint a clearer picture of each system’s overall gaming power.

Adobe After Effects CS3 proves that eight processing cores is a highly effective way to increase productivity, even if doubling the cores doesn’t come close to doubling the performance.

Synthetic CPU benchmarks are where you’d expect to see doubled performance from twice as many cores, so the improvements in Sandra Arithmetic and Multimedia come as no surprise. The eight-core Vigor Gaming Colossus and four-core Falcon Northwest Mach 5 are both clocked at 4.00 GHz, using the same core technology.

In 64-bit mode, we see a huge bandwidth problem with the FB-DIMM equipped Vigor Gaming Colossus. Later (32-bit) benchmarks will show that this isn’t a problem with dual-channel mode, but rather, is a software issue.

Cinebench 64 indicates that for some very complex renderings, we can expect to see huge gains from the added cores of the Vigor Gaming Colossus. The OpenGL test also hints at a problem with three-way SLI on the same system.