|Gigabyte GA-EP45-UD3P DDR2 P45 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Bruce Normann - Edited by Olin Coles|
|Sunday, 25 January 2009|
Page 10 of 16
PCMark05 Benchmark Results
Using synthetic benchmarks to compare one product to another has some distinct advantages when testing similar hardware, yet I have never found myself completely satisfied by the process. I have come to understand that they're important for comparing "apples to apples", and that the results are usually very consistent. But as with any synthetic benchmark, the numbers can often mean very little more than just numbers. We don't take a high score on a synthetic benchmark to mean that a product will/should perform well, and neither should you. The difference between projected performance and actual performance is the difference between fire and the fire-fly.
PCMark is a series of computer benchmark tools developed by Futuremark. The tools are designed to test the performance of the user's CPU, read/write speeds of RAM and hard drives. We have used these tests to simulate a battery of applications and tasks, which will produce results we can compare to other systems using similar hardware.
After a series of five looped tests, the averages of the results are charted below. Keep in mind that the GA-EP45-UD3P as well as the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L shared the same hardware (specified in the Test Methodology section) and operated at the same exact CPU and RAM speed. The idea here was to isolate the motherboard to determine if one product performed better than the other. In cases where the P45 motherboard allowed me to extract more performance from the same hardware, I have also reported that.
The PCMark05 results are pretty consistent across the test systems. Each hardware improvement brought about less than 2% of improvement in the test results. Even the ability of the GA-EP45-UD3P to drive the CPU and RAM to higher speeds did not materially affect the results for this benchmark. The chipsets are different, but the system memory and processors are all identical, and there's very little difference in performance between motherboards when the same hardware is used with the same settings. Obviously each has its own strength (overclocking, SLI, CrossFireX), but this suite of synthetic benchmarks aren't going to illuminate them.
Just between you and me, the easiest way to improve your scores in this benchmark is to switch over from a HDD to a SSD. Just like in real life, where system responsiveness is greatly dependant on drive performance, this test shows the huge advantage that SSDs bring to the table in real world performance. I got a 22% improvement (10,057/8229) with a $50 investment in a 30GB OCZ Core v2 SSD. Now, that's the cost after rebate on Black Friday, but SSD prices are continuing to fall as new, improved models are introduced, so go ahead and get one now.