|ASUS Sabertooth X79 TUF Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey|
|Monday, 14 November 2011|
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PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0
The PassMark PerformanceTest allows you to objectively benchmark a PC using a variety of different speed tests and compare the results to other computers. PassMark comprises a complete suite of tests for your computer, including CPU tests, 2D and 3D graphics tests, disk tests, memory tests, and even tests to determine the speed of your system's optical drive. PassMark tests support Hyper-Threading and systems with multiple CPUs, and allow you to save benchmark results to disk (or to export them to HTML, text, GIF, and BMP formats).
Knowledgeable users can use the Advanced Testing section to alter the parameters for the disk, network, graphics, multitasking, and memory tests, and create individual, customized testing suites. But for this review I used only the built-in CPU tests, which aren't configurable. The CPU tests comprise a number of different metrics. The first three I'll look at are integer performance, floating point performance, and a benchmark that finds prime numbers.
Intel utterly dominates the Integer test, and we can see that cores count for a lot here, with the old-school 980X producing results almost identical with the 3960X, and both of them beating the four-core 2600K. AMD does pull off wins in the next two benchmarks, though, especially in the Float test, where AMD's traditionally strong floating point performance takes the win...it's too bad that this will make so little difference in most real-world code, though, where integer instructions comprise upwards of 90% or more of the code actually executed. AMD also pulls off a win in the Prime benchmark, which we've seen before but is still slightly startling against the 3960X.
SSE stands for "Streaming SIMD Extensions", and are instructions that handle multiple chunks of data per instruction (SIMD = Single Instruction Multiple Data). SSE instructions work on single-precision floating point data and are typically used in graphical computations. SSE was Intel's response to AMD's "3D Now", which itself was a response to Intel's MMX instructions. Don't you love competition? AMD's current implementation does well in this benchmark, if only against Intel's last-generation CPU: both Sandy Bridge processors post much higher scores. Things flip around in the Encrypt benchmark, where it's obvious that more cores is more important than core architecture.
The Compress and String benchmarks are both integer-based, but the FX-8150 does pretty well, even so. It's all but even with the 2600K in the Compress benchmark and (very slightly) ahead in the Strings benchmark. But nothing competes with the Core i7-3960X.
But enough with the synthetic benchmarks; let's move onto some more real-world applications.