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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.

We've tested our quad-core systems against one another and against the top dual-core desktop processors, as well. In some cases, getting the results meant simulating a slower chip with a faster one. For instance, our Core 2 Duo E6700 is actually a Core 2 Extreme X6800 processor clocked down to the appropriate speed. Its performance should be identical to that of the real thing. Similarly, our Athlon 64 FX-72 results come from an underclocked pair of Athlon 64 FX-74s.

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Core 2 Duo E6700 2.66GHz
Core 2 Extreme X6800 2.93GHz
Core 2 Quad Q6600 2.4GHz
Core 2 Extreme QX6700 2.66GHz
Athlon 64 X2 6000+ 3.0GHz (90nm)Athlon 64 FX-70 2.6GHz
Athlon 64 FX-72 2.8GHz
Athlon 64 FX-74 3.0GHz
System bus1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)1GHz HyperTransport1GHz HyperTransport
MotherboardIntel D975XBX2Asus M2N32-SLI DeluxeAsus L1N64-SLI WS
BIOS revisionBX97520J.86A.2618.2007.0212.095409030205
North bridge975X MCHnForce 590 SLI SPPnForce 680a SLI
South bridgeICH7RnForce 590 SLI MCPnForce 680a SLI
Chipset driversINF Update 8.1.1.1010
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 6.21
ForceWare 15.00ForceWare 15.00
Memory size2GB (2 DIMMs)2GB (2 DIMMs)2GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory typeCorsair TWIN2X2048-6400C4
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
Crucial Ballistix PC6400
DDR2 SDRAM
at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL)444
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD)444
RAS precharge (tRP)444
Cycle time (tRAS)121212
AudioIntegrated ICH7R/STAC9274D5 with
Sigmatel 6.10.0.5274 drivers
Integrated nForce 590 MCP/AD1988B with
Soundmax 6.10.2.6100 drivers
Integrated nForce 680a SLI/AD1988B with
Soundmax 6.10.2.6100 drivers
Hard driveMaxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Graphics GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCIe with ForceWare 100.64 drivers
OSWindows Vista Ultimate x64 Edition
OS updates-

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. Their products and support are far and away superior to generic, no-name memory.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by OCZ GameXStream 700W power supply units. Thanks to OCZ 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.