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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [11.01.06]
Manufactured by: Intel


SYSMark 2004 SE

So we've shown how the processors perform in 3D rendering, video encoding, audio encoding, multitasking, un/zipping, de/crypting, and even pure arithmetical calculations (both fixed and floating point). Now it's time to look at actual desktop performance in programs you might use every day. For this, we use SYSMark 2004 SE.

SYSMark seperates desktop tests into two categories; Internet Content Creation, where things like building websites, making flash presentations, and even some 3D modeling are done. In the Office Productivity Tests, more focus is put into applications working with spreadsheets, emails, virus scanning, etc.

A heavy emphasis is put on multitasking in these tests, as they try to replicate an actual (very busy) workload someone might do using different 'scenarios'. For more details:

Internet Content Creation

In this scenario, the content creator creates a product related website targeting a broadband and narrowband audience. The user first renders a 3D model to a bitmap, while preparing web pages using a web site publishing tool. The user opens a video editing package, creates a movie from several raw input movie cuts and sound cuts and starts exporting it. While waiting on this operation, the user imports the rendered image into an image-processing package; modifies it and saves the results. Back in the 3D modeling software, the user modifies a 3D model and exports it to a vector-graphics format. Once the movie is assembled, the user edits it and creates special effects using one of the modified images as input. The user extracts content from an archive. Meanwhile, he uses an animation creation tool to open the exported 3D vector graphics file. He modifies it by including other pictures and optimizes it for faster animation. The final movie with the special effects is then compressed in a format that can be broadcast over broadband Internet. The web site is given the final touches and the system is scanned for viruses.

The Internet Content Creation tests show a nice performance increase from the two added cores.

Office Productivity

In this scenario, the office productivity user creates a marketing presentation and supporting documents for a new product. The user receives email containing a collection of documents in a compressed file. The user reviews his email and updates his calendar while a virus checking software scans the system. The corporate web site is viewed and the user begins creating the collateral documents. The user also accesses a database and runs some queries. A collection of documents are compressed. The queries' results are imported into a spreadsheet and used to generate graphical charts. The user then transcribes a document.. The user edits and adds elements to a slide show template. Finally, the user looks at the results of his work (both the slide show and the portable document) in an Internet browser.

In the Office Productivity suite, there is surprizingly no benefit from the extra cores. Even though there is some multitasking being done, the scores remain close to identical to the dual core scores.

The final score represents what I would expect; quad cores coming out slightly ahead, due to the multitasking performed in the ICC tests.

Next Page: (WinRAR Performance; Conclusion)