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

Our test systems were configured like so:

Processor Athlon XP 'Barton' 3200+ 2.2GHzAthlon 64 3200+ 2.0GHz Opteron 146 2.0GHz
Athlon 64 FX-51 2.2GHz
2 x Opteron 246 2.0GHz
2 x Opteron 248 2.2GHz
Opteron 140 1.4GHz
2 x Opteron 240 1.4GHz
Pentium 4 3.2GHz
Pentium 4 3.2GHz Extreme Edition
2 x Xeon 2.66GHz
Front-side bus400MHz (200MHz DDR)HT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz downstream
HT 16-bit/800MHz upstream
800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)533MHz (133MHz quad-pumped)
MotherboardAsus A7N8X Deluxe v2.0MSI K8T NeoMSI 9130MSI 9130Abit IC7-GTyan Tiger i7505
North bridgenForce2 SPPK8T800K8T800K8T80082875P MCHE7505 MCH
South bridgenForce2 MCP-TVT8237VT8237VT823782801ER ICH5R82801DB ICH4
Chipset driversnForce Unified 2.454-in-1 v.4.49
ATA 5.1.2600.10
Audio 5.10.0.5920
4-in-1 v.4.49
AGP 4.42
Audio 6.14.1.3870
4-in-1 v.4.49
AGP 4.42
Audio 6.14.1.3870
INF Update 5.0.1015
ATA 5.0.1007.0
Audio 5.10.0.5250
INF Update 5.0.2
IAA 2.3.0.2160
Audio 5.10.0.5250
BIOS revision10051.01.01.01.61.01
Memory size1GB (2 DIMMs)768MB (3 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (2 DIMMs)1GB (4 DIMMs)
Memory typeCorsair TwinX XMS4000 DDR SDRAM at 400MHzCorsair XMS3200 DDR SDRAM at 400MHzInfineon PC3200 registered ECC DDR SDRAM at 400MHzInfineon PC2700 registered ECC DDR SDRAM at 333MHzCorsair TwinX XMS4000 DDR SDRAM at 400MHzCorsair TwinX XMS3200LL DDR SDRAM at 266MHz
Hard driveSeagate Barracuda V 120GB ATA/100Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150Seagate Barracuda V 120GB SATA 150Seagate Barracuda V 120GB ATA/100
AudionForce2 MCP/ALC650VT8237/ALC650VT8237/ALC201AVT8237/ALC201AICH5/ALC650ICH4/ALC650
GraphicsGeForce FX 5900 Ultra
OSMicrosoft Windows XP Professional
OS updatesService Pack 1, DirectX 9.0b

Sorry about the 768MB of RAM in the Athlon 64 3200+ system. I couldn't get it to boot with either pair of 512MB DDR400 DIMMs I had on hand, and its motherboard had only three DIMM slots, so 768MB was as close as we could come. I don't believe this difference in memory size should affect any of the benchmarks we used.

All tests on the Pentium 4 systems were run with Hyper-Threading enabled.

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. If you're looking to tweak out your system to the max and maybe overclock it a little, Corsair's RAM is definitely worth considering.

The test systems' Windows desktops were set at 1152x864 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.