We revised our test bench slightly for this most recent review. To ensure we did not present our tests with too much of a CPU bottleneck, our Q6600 was overclocked to a healthy 3GHz. Below are the full system specs:
- Processor: Core 2 Quad Q6600 @ 3.0GHz (9x333MHz)
- Motherboard: Asus P5K-E (Intel P35 Northbridge, Intel ICH9 Southbridge)
- Memory: 2GB, Corsair XMS2 PC2-8500 dual channel kit (Running at 1066MHz, 5-5-5-15-2T timings)
- Storage: 1x 320GB Western Digital hard drive (WD3200AAKS, SATA2, 7200RPM, 16MB Cache)
- Audio: ADI® AD1988B 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Power Supply: Corsair TX750
- Graphics Cards: Palit Radeon HD 3850 1GB, Diamond Radeon HD 3850 256MB, Palit GeForce 9600GT Sonic
Thanks goes out to Corsair for providing the memory and power supply used in this review.
We’ve taken the full step to Windows Vista for graphics card testing due to DX10 availability. Vista does pose some challenges for benchmark sessions as some of its features can create inconsistencies in the results. Although some reviewers prefer to ‘train’ their systems to make the most of features like SuperFetch, we have disabled these features to ensure a higher degree of predictability. Other ‘scheduled’ or unnecessary background tasks have also been disabled (as listed below).
- OS: Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (32-bit), Service Pack 1
- OS Disabled Features: “SuperFetch”, “Windows Search” service, Defender, Sidebar, Scheduled Defrag, System Restore and UAC.
- OS Performance Features Enabled: “HDD Advanced Performance” option enabled. “High Performance” PM setting enabled.
- Intel Chipset Drivers: Intel INF 220.127.116.118
- ATI/AMD Graphics Drivers: ATI Catalyst Version 8.8 Drivers
- Nvidia Graphics Drivers: Nvidia GeForce 175.19 Drivers
- Audio Drivers: ADI 18.104.22.16880 Drivers
The following applications/benchmarks versions were used for testing:
- 3DMark Vantage – Version 1.01
- 3DMark 2006 – Version 1.10
- Crysis – Version 1.2
- Half-Life 2 Episode 2 – Build 3575
- Prey – Version 1.4.119
- Lost Planet, Extreme Condition – DX9/DX10 Demos, April 2007
- Wold In Conflict – Demo version 22.214.171.124 (b1080)