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Testbed and Methods

We are going to run the tests inside the system case with the removed side panel. It had the following configuration:

  • Mainboard: ASUS P6T Deluxe (Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS 2004);
  • Processor: Intel Core i7-920, 2.67 GHz, 1.25 V, 4 x 256 KB L2, 8MB L3 (Bloomfield, C0);
  • CPU cooler: Scythe Samurai ZZ;
  • Thermal interface: Tuniq TX-2;
  • Graphics card: ATI Radeon HD 5850 1024 MB / 256 bit, @910/4800 MHz;
  • Memory: DDR3 PC3-12800 3x2 GB OCZ Platinum Low-Voltage Triple Channel (1600 MHz, 7-7-7-24, 1.65 V);
  • System drive: SSD OCZ Agility EX (SATA-II, 60 GB, SLC, Indillinx, firmware v1.31);
  • Gaming and benchmarking HDD: Western Digital VelociRaptor (SATA-II, 300 GB storage capacity, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, NCQ) inside Scythe Quiet Drive 3.5” silencer and cooler chassis;
  • Backup HDD: Western Digital Caviar Green WD10EADS (SATA-II, 1000 GB, 5400 RPM, 32 MB, NCQ);
  • System case: Antec Twelve Hundred (front panel: three Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S-Series MF12-S1 fans at 900 RPM; back panel: two Scythe SlipStream 120 fans at 900 RPM; top panel: standard 200 mm fan at 400 RPM);
  • Control and monitoring panel: Zalman ZM-MFC2;
  • Power supply: Zalman ZM1000-HP 1000 W (with a default 140 mm fan);
  • Monitor: 30” Samsung 305T Plus.

Our quad-core processor was overclocked to 3.8 GHz with the nominal processor Vcore increased to 1.3 V in the mainboard BIOS. The memory voltage was at 1.62 V and its frequency was around 1.47 GHz (7-7-7-14_1T timings). The graphics card frequencies were increased from their nominal values to 910/4800 MHz without any accompanying voltage changes:

The testing programs were installed under Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate RTM x64. We used DirectX End-User Runtimes libraries (from February 2010) and Catalyst 10.3 graphics card driver. We used 15 runs of Firefly Forest test from the semi-synthetic 3DMark 2006 suite in 2560x1600 resolution to warm up the graphics cards. We enabled anisotropic filtering 16x:

Besides, we additionally used FurMark version 1.8.0 burn test that was launched for about 20 minutes in 2560x1600 resolution:

We used RivaTuner version 2.25 alpha (by A. Nikolaichuk aka Unwinder) and GPU-Z utility version 0.4.2 to monitor the frequencies and temperatures of our graphics cards.

The tests were run at least twice for each type of load. The temperature stabilization period between the two test cycles was about 10-12 minutes. The ambient temperature was checked next to the system case with an electronic thermometer with 0.1°C precision that allows monitoring the temperature changes over the past 6 hours. During our test session room temperature stayed around 25.8-26.1°C.

 
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