Mushkin & Adata: 2 for the Fast-Timings Laneby Wesley Fink on September 1, 2003 11:18 PM EST
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Test DesignFor tests of the Mushkin Level II PC3500 and Adata PC450, we are continuing the memory test suite established in our article, “Search for the Memory Holy Grail — Part 2”.
1) SiSoft Sandra Max3 UNBuffered Memory TestThe Sandra UNBuffered Memory Test, as we demonstrated in Part 1, turns off Memory Buffering schemes in an attempt to better measure raw memory bandwidth. As a result, it also correlates well with bandwidths reported with Memtest86, an industry-standard memory testing tool.
The idea of the UNBuffered Memory Benchmark is very simple — you merely turn-off all memory buffering techniques. Sandra makes this very easy to do. Select “Memory Benchmark”, right-click “Module Options”, and uncheck the 9 boxes that have to do with buffering as you see here.
Click image to view a larger picture.
2) SiSoft Sandra Max3 Standard Memory TestThe UNBuffered Memory Benchmarks are quite different form what you may be accustomed to seeing in memory testing with SiSoft Sandra. For reference, we are again including the Sandra Max3 standard Memory Test, sometimes called the Buffered Memory Test.
3) Super PIPure number crunching benchmarks are very useful for measuring system bandwidth. Some of the more popular number-crunchers are the MPEG/DIVX encoding tests, such as we used in our standard motherboard testing, and Super PI. MPEG/DIVX tests are very useful for a single motherboard benchmark and in cross-platform testing (Athlon vs. Pentuium4, for example). However, they are often very sensitive to the test environment or system configuration. In addition, it can be difficult to use reliably in a testing environment of a large number of conditions with the same test, such as we will be doing here in our memory testing. Super PI, on the other hand, is very simple to use and has been shown to be less sensitive to the operating system environment. In other words, we don’t have to reinstall the operating system on a clean hard drive each time we run a benchmark just to get reliable numbers.
Super PI for Windows 1.1 is a freeware program developed by the Super Computer Consortium at the University of Tokyo. The concept of Super PI is very simple. It calculates the value of pi to “x” number of places, and reports the time this calculation requires. We chose to use 2 million places in our tests. Super PI is measuring total system bandwidth, and memory is only part of that bandwidth, since the CPU has a very significant impact on results. We therefore would expect to see smaller changes in Super PI relative to larger changes in memory-only benchmark tests like Sandra.
4) Quake3 Demo FOUR.dm_66Quake 3 Demo FOUR is one of our standard game benchmarks. You will likely be surprised how sensitive Quake3 can actually be in testing wide variations in Memory Speed. We run the benchmark 3 times, check for score consistency, repeat if we see any wide variation in individual scores, and average the 3 scores for the reported Frames Per Second (FPS) value.
5) Unreal Tournament 2003 DemoWe ran UT2003 as a further test to check correlation of our benchmarks. We are reporting UT2003 results from our Mushkin and Adata tests. UT2003, as shown in our past memory testing, mirrors relative results from Quake3.