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SYSMark2004 SE

As usual, we checked the performance of our systems in general-purpose applications with the help of SYSMark2004 SE test. This benchmark emulates the user’s work in popular applications involving a lot of multi-tasking. Before we pass over to the results, we would like to stress that SYSMark2004 SE is primarily positioned as a desktop testing suite. Nevertheless, it includes a lot of applications that represent typical workload for a mobile system, especially for a system like high-performance Napa platform. That is why we believe it makes more sense to provide the detailed results report focusing specifically on each type of the workload.

In this case we have an image rendered by 3ds max 5.1 into a bmp-file, while the user is preparing web-pages in Dreamweaver MX. Then the user renders some 3D animation into vector graphics format.

Although this work model uses a lot of heavy applications hungry for processor resources, the performance difference between the systems on Yonah and Merom processors is not that significant. The use of Core 2 Duo T5600 processor instead of Core Duo T2400 generates a 5% performance improvement. Frankly speaking, I would expect much more from a 25% theoretical increase of the number of instructions processed per clock cycle and enhanced prefetch mechanism. However, this performance improvement can be observed not only in specifically selected tasks.

Now the test is emulating the user’s work in Premiere 6.5, when he is creating a video movie in raw-format from a few other movies and separate sound tracks. While waiting for the operation to be completed, the user is also modifying and saving to the hard drive a picture in Photoshop 7.01. When the video is finished, the user does the necessary editing and adds special effects to it in After Effects 5.5.

In this case the newer CPU with enhanced microarchitecture ensures greater performance growth of 8%. However, this result is again far below the theoretical expectations. Unfortunately, it makes us think that the increase in the number of Merom’s decoders and execution units wasn’t efficient enough.

This benchmark emulates the work of a professional webmaster. Here, our hypothetical user extracts from the zip-archive the web-site content and at the same time opens an exported 3D vector video in Flash MX. Then the user modifies it by adding some new pictures and optimizes it for faster animation. The final video with applied special effects is then compressed with Windows Media Encoder 9 so that it could later be broadcast via internet. The created web-site is then composed in Dreamweaver MX, while the system is scanned for viruses with VirusScan 7.0.

Core 2 Duo processor demonstrates 13% performance advantage over the predecessor working at the same clock speed in this benchmark. Of course, it owes this result to faster FP and SSE units. However, this advantage of the new microarchitecture is not too impressive, still.

In this case the scenario is quite typical of the average notebook user. Here the test is emulating the user’s work when he is receiving an e-mail in Outlook 2002 with a number of documents in a zip-file attached to it. While the files are being scanned for viruses with the VirusScan 7.0, the user is looking through the e-mails and makes notes in the Outlook calendar. After that the user checks a corporate web-site and some documents through Internet Explorer 6.0.

The new Core 2 Duo processor appears 5% faster here. It is definitely far from that outstanding performance boost that the new Core 2 Duo processors demonstrate in the desktop segment. It could be a clear indication of the great features of the Core Duo processors that have never been used in desktops.

In this test the hypothetical user is editing some test in Word 2002 and uses Dragon NaturallySpeaking 6 to convert an audio file into a text document. The document is then converted into pdf-format in Acrobat 5.0.5. After that the prepared document is used to create a PowerPoint 2002 presentation.

Core 2 Duo is 7% faster in this case, which once again demonstrates the great efficiency of the Pentium III microarchitecture announced in 1999, which then became the basis for the today’s CPUs with Core microarchitecture.

In the next test we see the following situation: the user opens a database in Access 2002 and creates a number of requests. The documents are archived with WinZip 8.1. The request results are exported into Excel 2002 and a diagram is created.

Enhanced data prefetch algorithms together with the effective use of the memory bus in Core 2 Duo processors have finally got a chance to show their real best. The mobile platform built with the new CPU proves 14% faster than the previous generation solution. However, if we once again recall the theoretical advantages of the new Merom platform over Yonah, the result will no longer seem that impressive anymore.

All in all, the average performance improvement provided by the new mobile Core 2 Duo processors in office and digital content creation applications equals about 9%.

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