Performance Testing - Overview
At BSN* we break out testing into two parts Synthetic and Real-World. Each has an important part in the overall review process. With Synthetic testing you have an easily repeatable performance measure than anyone can use against the same hardware configuration. But Synthetic testing cannot hope to provide a completely accurate picture of performance. These testing suites do not have the capacity to take multiple factors into account. On the opposite side are the real-world tests. They are duplicates of how a system [or part] will perform in actual use. However as they take into account the dynamic nature of real-world use they are hard to duplicate. As such our testing will always be an average of three runs on each test. The results shown here will be that average. We feel this combination offers the best overall picture of performance and how well the product will perform for the consumer when they get it home and installed in a system.
Performance - Applications [Synthetic]
Each of our synthetic tests cover a different aspect of system performance. Taken as a whole they provide a very broad overview of how well each board or product we have in the lab will perform for you once you get it home.
PCMark Vantage is a suite of tests that covers the most complete range of system task possible. It is true that it cannot hope to cover every possible activity but it does an excellent job of covering the majority and providing the end user with a good idea of how well a system can complete common tasks. For testing of the Atom based systems in the Mini-ITX form factor we have added two additional PCMark testing suites. One is the Productivity test while the other is the TV and Movies Suite.
In the standard PCMark Suite we again see the Asus AT3IONT-I Deluxe do quite well. This is probably due to a combination of the better memory [DDR3 vs. DDR2] and better graphics support from the ION MCP.
The Productivity suite also sees a nice boost over the much newer D510 ATOM with DDR2 support.
For TV and Movies things are much closer than we would have thought. Even with the superiority claims that nVidia always makes of the ION GPU over any Intel GPU we still see some fairly close results here.
HyperPi is an application that is capable of running multiple instances of SuperPi XS 1.3 on a system. It allows you to select the number of instances you wish to run as well as the length you want to calculate the number Pi out to [up to 32 million places]. For our testing we run one instance per core both physical and logical. On something like the Core i7 870 this is a total of eight 32M instances which puts a healthy strain on the CPU, memory and dive. It is also a good indication of how well the mainboard can handle the large amounts of data being passed back and forth. For the lower powered Atom we switched to the 16M run.
Now we see the impact of using an older Atom CPU. The Atom 330 simply cannot run calculations as fast as the D510 can. This does not bode well for transcoding performance where "number crunching" is important to fast results.
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