A good benchmark to start with is SysMark 2000. SysMark 2000 uses real programs and performs tasks that are very likely to be used in real life. For example, PowerPoint 2000 is installed, and the computer creates two new presentations at an amazing speed guided by a script, including animations and other nice gadgets. Twelve of these tests are performed, and the computer gets an index number from SysMark. A Pentium II 450MHz gets an index of 100. Unfortunately, our pre-production system wouldnít finish all of the tests, even after a rerunning and re-installing SysMark a couple of times. Nothing to be worried about, however; Sysmark still continues with the other tests, so that we can calculate our own index for both machines. Below are the results:
This was a pleasant surprise. When you are comparing a Pentium III 1GHz and a Pentium III Xeon 1GHz with 256KB cache, the difference would be negligible; the average difference between a Foster and a Pentium 4, however, is almost 10%! In Photoshop we even see the Foster sprinting 23% faster than the Pentium 4 at the same clock speed. The only software that didnít profit from the new possibilities of the Intel Xeon is Excel, but this could also be caused by the same problem that disrupted our CorelDraw, Paradox and Word tests.
The next test on our list was SiSoft Sandra 2001. Sandra measures the raw power of a CPU and gives us an indication of the internal and external bandwidth. The CPU benchmark was the first test we ran. We can obviously see here that the Foster does better than a Pentium 4, but itís still not fast enough to get past a Pentium 4 1.6GHz. The CPU Multimedia benchmark shows the same results:
The real surprise for us came when running the memory benchmark. The i850 Tehama chipset does 1201 and 1216MB/s in the ALU and FPU tests. The new Colusa chipset beats these numbers with ease, and ends at 1394 and 1457MB/s. The 860 chipset is almost 18% faster than the i850, and that might explain why Photoshop really liked this one .