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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:

Processor Athlon 64 4000+ 2.4GHz
Athlon 64 FX-55 2.6GHz
Pentium 4 660 3.6GHz Pentium 4 660 3.6GHz
Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition 3.73GHz
System bus 1GHz HyperTransport 800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped) 800MHz (200MHz quad-pumped)
1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped) 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard DFI LANParty nF4 SLI-DR NVIDIA reference Intel D925XECV2
BIOS revision NF4D310 4.86 CV92510A.86A.0404.EB
North bridge nForce4 SLI nForce4 SLI SPP 925XE MCH
South bridge nForce4 MCP ICH6R
Chipset drivers SMBus driver 4.45
IDE driver 5.07
Ethernet driver version 4.75
SMBus driver 4.45
IDE driver 5.18
Ethernet driver version 4.73
INF Update 6.3.0.1007
IAA for RAID 4.7
Memory size 1GB (2 DIMMs) 1GB (2 DIMMs) 1GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type OCZ PC3200 EL DDR SDRAM at 400MHz Corsair CMX512A-5400UL DDR2 SDRAM at 667MHz Corsair CMX512A-5400UL DDR2 SDRAM at 533MHz
CAS latency (CL) 2 3 3
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 2 2 2
RAS precharge (tRP) 2 2 2
Cycle time (tRAS) 5 2 3
Hard drive Maxtor DiamondMax 10 250GB SATA 150
Audio Integrated nForce/ALC850
with Realtek 5.10.0.5780 drivers
Integrated nForce/ALC850
with NVIDIA 4.60 drivers
Integrated ICH6R/ALC880
with Realtek 5.10.0.5034 drivers
Graphics GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 71.84 drivers
GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 71.84 drivers
GeForce 6800 Ultra 256MB PCI-E
with ForceWare 71.84 drivers
OS Microsoft Windows XP Professional Microsoft Windows XP Professional Microsoft Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c Service Pack 2, DirectX 9.0c

All tests on the Pentium 4 systems were run with Hyper-Threading enabled, unless otherwise noted.

Thanks to OCZ 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, OCZ's RAM is definitely worth considering.

Also, our test systems were powered by OCZ PowerStream power supply units. The PowerStream was one of our Editor's Choice winners in our latest PSU round-up.

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:

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.