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Our testing methods
As ever, we did our best to deliver clean benchmark numbers. Tests were run at least three times, and the results were averaged.

Our test systems were configured like so:

ProcessorCore 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz
Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66GHz
2 x Athlon 64 FX-74 3.0GHz Athlon 64 FX-62 2.8GHz
System bus1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)1GHz HyperTransport1GHz HyperTransport
MotherboardAsus P5W64 WS ProAsus L1N64-SLI WSAsus M2N32-SLI Deluxe
BIOS revision030401170706
North bridge975X MCHnForce 680a SLInForce 590 SLI SPP
South bridgeICH7RnForce 680a SLInForce 590 SLI MCP
Chipset driversINF Update 8.1.1.1010
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 6.2
ForceWare 9.35ForceWare 9.35
Memory size4GB (4 DIMMs)4GB (4 DIMMs)4GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory typeCrucial Ballistix PC2-6400
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Corsair Dominator CM2X1024-8500C5D
DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz*
Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL)444
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)444
RAS precharge (tRP)444
Cycle time (tRAS)121212
AudioIntegrated ICH7R/AD1988B with
Soundmax 5.10.2.4650 drivers
Integrated  nForce 680a MCP/AD1988B with
Soundmax 5.10.2.4650 drivers
Integrated nForce 590 MCP/AD1988B with
Soundmax 5.10.2.4650 drivers
Hard driveMaxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Graphics GeForce 7950 GX2 1GB PCI-E with ForceWare 93.71 drivers
OSWindows XP Professional x64 Edition
OS updatesDirectX 9.0c update (October 2006)

Thanks to Corsair and Crucial for providing us with memory for our testing. Both of them provide products and support that are far and away superior to generic, no-name memory.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by BFG Tech 1000W power supply units. Thanks to BFG for providing these units for our use in testing.

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The tests and methods we employ are generally publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.