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The Benchmarks

SiSoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth Benchmark

Perhaps the best known of the current system benchmark suites, we used only the memory bandwidth module in this instance. The module uses dynamic data creation at around 40-60 per cent of physical system RAM levels. Sandra's algorithm is also multi-threaded on SMP/SMT systems. It also varies alignment of streams until it finds the best option then tests repeatedly at this setting.

AIDA32 Memory Read and Write benchmarks

AIDA32 is one of the lesser known but better respected diagnostic and benchmarking suites available for the PC in our humble opinion. The memory benchmarking module offers results for both read and write throughputs, but unfortunately it appears that AIDA’s project leader has since moved on and so the future of this benchmark is somewhat uncertain at present.

PCMark04 Memory Module

PCMark04 is Futuremark’s second incarnation of the popular system-wide benchmarking software, though for the purpose of this roundup we used only the memory module. The exact weighting of the tests isn’t made clear but the scores are based on a variety of operations including reading and writing data blocks to and from memory, data block copy functions and random data access along with latency testing.

Particle Fury

Unlike the other tests we used, Particle Fury uses a real time OpenGL 3D engine to render a continuous particle stream, which obeys the normal rules of physics. On P6 and faster CPUs the performance of this benchmark is almost entirely reliant on memory speed.

ScienceMark 2 Memory Benchmark

ScienceMark 2 is another suite of system-wide benchmarking modules though in this case with a definite slant towards scientific applications. The memory module runs a variety of data transfers and then shows results individually for L1 and L2 cache, latencies and likewise for system memory. Latencies are expressed for varying sizes of data strides, where a stride is the number of memory locations (bytes) between the starting addresses of consecutive vector elements. In other words, the locations from which the data is accessed get further apart as the “stride” increases.

PerformanceTest Memory Benchmark

Passmark Performance Test is an award-winning benchmarking suite. The default memory test uses a combination of memory data transactions to test overall speed. We particularly noted the overall score (Memory Mark) and the results for uncached reads.

RightMark Memory Analyzer

This is by far the most configurable and flexible of all the benchmarks with a bewildering number of parameters available. We used a variation on the default test and collated results for float copy, float scale, float add and float triad.

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