The pace at which new technologies come to market is at an all time high; if you plan on keeping up with the progress, then you cannot stay with the same gear. The same applies to us as at TG well: we have to update our hardware to the fastest components to remain objective in our reviews. Running graphics cards on the fastest platform available - in terms of CPU, motherboard, memory, hard drive and power supply - allows us to get test results that reflect the performance of the graphics cards without slowdowns from any one subsystem or component.
However, it is not always as easy as some might believe to select a platform upon which to test these cards. When Nvidia unveiled the GeForce 8000 series, we felt obligated to show what the newest graphics cards could do. While on one hand we could have reviewed the GeForce 8800GTX and GTS on an Intel Conroe based platform, we also have to keep the data we generate relevant to other reviews and data previously published. In an effort to make sure the comparisons in graphics cards were as "apples to apples" as possible, we decided to publish the initial data using the AMD Athlon FX-60 system we have been using for the majority of 2006.
To bridge the way for future reviews, we chose to run the same set of tests on a new Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 based system. We knew that the results would be night and day different, and so decided that a separate review of the advantages of moving the platform from AMD to Intel would be worthwhile. You should conclude from the results the same thing we did: you need an Extreme CPU to run next generation graphics.