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Old 05-14-2011, 09:58 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Futuremark PCMark 7



Futuremark PCMark 7
By: Dan Durland

Introduction

Founded in 1997 and headquartered in Espoo, Finland, Futuremark is a company with a long history in the benchmark community. While their 3DMark benchmarks are widely used for measuring video and gaming performance, they also have their PCMark line of benchmarks. And today I'll be reviewing their newest benchmark, PCMark 7. PCMark 7 is intended to offers complete PC performance testing for Windows 7 for home and business use.
  • Complete PC performance testing with one-click
  • Multiple PC tests tailored to specific performance needs
  • A wide range of PC tests based on real world applications
  • Created with input from leading technology companies*
*Futuremark benchmarks are developed in cooperation with many of the world’s leading hardware and technology manufacturing companies including AMD, Compal, Dell, Hitachi, HP, Intel, NVIDIA, Samsung, Sandisk, Seagate and Western Digital.
System Requirements
Minimum Requirements
All systems that meet the minimum requirements are able to run the main PCMark test and obtain a PCMark score.
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7
  • Processor:
  • Memory: 1 GB for x86 systems or 2 GB for x64 systems
  • Graphics: DirectX 9 compatible graphics adapter
  • Display: 1024x600 minimum display resolution
  • Hard Drive: 10 GB free space, NTFS file system
Recommended Requirements
Some tests require more powerful hardware. For the complete PCMark experience and the ability to run all tests use a PC that meets or exceeds the recommended system requirements.
  • OS: Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium or higher
  • Processor:
  • Memory: 1 GB for x86 systems or 2 GB for x64 systems
  • Graphics: DirectX 11 compatible graphics adapter
  • Display: 1280x1024 display resolution
  • Hard Drive: 10 GB free space, NTFS file system
Specifically some tests require certain hardware in order to run all workloads:
  1. Entertainment test requires DirectX 10
  2. Computation test requires DirectX 11
When running these tests on a system with less than the recommended hardware, some workloads will be skipped. Scores from such systems will be lower than systems that meet the recommended requirements.
Features
Unlimited runs
All PCMark 7 editions, including the free Basic Edition, offer unlimited benchmark runs.
Offline result management
By default, PCMark 7 submits and stores your benchmark results online on the PCMark website. If you have PCMark 7 Advanced Edition you can also save your result files to your hard drive or other local offline location.
Command line automation
This feature, which is only available in the PCMark 7 Professional Edition, allows the benchmark to be configured and automated using scripts running from the command line.
Online Features
PCMark 7 is complemented by online services at pcmark.com that offer additional features and tools. Access to these services is free though the features on offer vary depending on the PCMark 7 edition used.
Your own personal account
A personal account allows you to save your results in one place, add and edit descriptions and comments as well as granting access to all the available features and tools.
Browse, search and compare results
One of the most common questions from users after running a benchmark is “Is my score OK?” The PCMark online service lets you browse, search and compare results from millions of other users. In addition, every time you submit a result you will see how your score compares to those from others with similar hardware.
Unlimited results storage
The PCMark 7 online service allows you to store your benchmark results for reference at a later date. PCMark 7 Basic Edition users are limited to storing just one result. When submitting new results you can choose whether to keep or overwrite the previous result. PCMark 7 Advanced and Professional Edition users can store an unlimited number of results online.
Hide results
By default, all results submitted to the PCMark website are visible to others. PCMark 7 Advanced and Professional Edition users have the option to hide individual results from public view if they wish.
Advert-free
We are able to offer the PCMark online services free of charge because they are part-funded by advertising. We aim to ensure that all advertising on our websites is relevant to our users. PCMark 7 Advanced Edition users who have logged in to the online service will not see any advertising on that section of the website. Please note this does not apply to the main pages on Futuremark.com.
PCMark 7 Editions
PCMark 7 is available in a range of editions to meet the needs of consumers and commercial business users.
Basic Edition
  • PCMark 7 Basic Edition is available as a free download. It offers an unlimited number of runs without expiry or registration.
Advanced Edition
  • PCMark 7 Advanced Edition, $39.95, gives the user access to all of the test configurations as well as a few additional features.
Professional Edition
  • PCMark 7 Professional Edition, $995.95, offers complete access to all of the tests and features while being licensed for commercial use

PCMark Tests
Overall system performance
Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score.
Common use performance
Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests – Entertainment, Creativity and Production – each of which results in a scenario score.
Hardware component performance
Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests – Computation and Storage – each of which results in a hardware score.
Test Descriptions
PCMark Test
The PCMark test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance during typical desktop usage. This is the most important test since it returns the official PCMark score for the system.
  • Video playback and transcoding
  • Image Manipulation
  • Web browsing and decrypting
  • Graphics - DirectX 9
  • System storage - Windows Defender
  • System storage - importing pictures
  • System storage - gaming
Lightweight Test
The Lightweight test contains a collection of workloads to measure the performance of systems unable to run the PCMark test. On entry-level desktops, tablets and notebooks, only one application tends to be in active use at a time and it is rare to run computationally heavy applications. The Lightweight test is ideal for benchmarking systems using the Windows 7 Starter operating system and is also compatible with Windows Vista. At the end of the test your system is given a Lightweight test score.
  • Image Manipulation
  • Text editing
  • Web browsing with 3 tabs
  • System storage - importing pictures
  • System storage - adding music
  • System storage - starting applications
Entertainment Test
The Entertainment test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance in entertainment scenarios. Individual workloads include recording, viewing, streaming and transcoding TV shows and movies, importing, organizing and browsing new music and several gaming related tasks. If the target system is not capable of running DirectX 10 workloads then those tests are skipped. At the end of the test your system is given an Entertainment test score.
  • Video playback and transcoding
  • Web browsing with 2x3 tabs
  • Graphics -DirectX 9
  • Graphics -DirectX 10 - texture fill
  • Graphics -DirectX 10 - color fill
  • Graphics -DirectX 10 - POM
  • Graphics -DirectX 10 - GPU cloth
  • Graphics -DirectX 10 - GPU particles
  • Graphics -DirectX 10 - Perlin noise
  • System storage - adding music
  • System storage - gaming
Creativity Test
The Creativity test contains a collection of workloads to measure the system performance in typical creativity scenarios. Individual workloads include viewing, editing, transcoding and storing photos and videos. At the end of the test your system is given a Creativity test score.
  • Video transcoding - high quality
  • Image manipulation
  • System storage - importing pictures
  • System storage - video editing
Productivity Test
The Productivity test is a collection of workloads that measure system performance in typical productivity scenarios. Individual workloads include loading web pages and using home office applications. At the end of the test your system is given a Productivity test score.
  • Text editing
  • Web browsing and decrypting
  • System storage - Windows Defender
  • System storage - starting applications
Computation Test
The Computation test contains a collection of workloads that isolate the computation performance of the system. At the end of the test your system is given a Computation test score.
  • Video transcoding - downscaling
  • Video transcoding - high quality
  • Image manipulation
Storage Test
The Storage test is a collection of workloads that isolate the performance of the PC’s storage system. You can choose to test other storage devices in addition to the system drive. At the end of the test your system is given a Storage test score.
  • System storage - Windows Defender
  • System storage - importing pictures
  • System storage - video editing
  • System storage - adding music
  • System storage - starting applications
  • System storage - gaming
  • System storage - Windows Media Center
Workloads

PCMark 7 contains more than 25 individual workloads which are combined in various ways to create each test. I set PCMark 7 to run every test and I took a random screenshot for each workload that featured a visual window.

Video playback and transcoding
Video playback workloads measure the performance of playing back a video file. The purpose of these workloads is not to see how fast the hardware is capable of playing the content but instead to ensure that it is powerful enough to play the content with the intended frame rate without glitches.

Video transcoding workloads transcode videos by changing the resolution, framerate and bitrate of the video. Video downscaling uses Fast Transcode feature found in Windows 7 Media Foundation. The destination is H.264 (320x240, 30fps, 500kbps).

System storage - gaming
This workload uses a trace of starting up World of Warcraft. World of Warcraft was installed. A new character was created in the game. The game was closed and started again. Recording of activity on system drive started just before logging in the game. Game loaded and the new character was selected as quickly as possible. The recording was stopped right after the game world had loaded so far that the character could move in the world. During the trace the game loaded game data from the system drive.
Graphics - DirectX 9
The Firefly scene from 3DMark06 is used to measure DirectX 9 graphics performance.

Image manipulation
The workload uses the Windows Imaging Component (WIC). Source images are in HD Photo format. This workload simulates everyday image manipulations such as color correction, stretch, flip and rotate.

System storage - importing pictures
This workload uses a trace of importing a collection of images in Windows Live Photo Gallery. A USB stick with 68 images (434 MB total) was inserted and images were imported to Windows Live Photo Gallery. Recording of activity on system drive started at the beginning of importing pictures and lasted until thumbnail images appeared on the display. During the trace Windows Live Photo Gallery copied images from USB stick to Pictures library, indexed them and created thumbnails.
Web browsing and decryption
We use embedded Internet Explorer to open pages in tabs. Three tabs are opened each with their own content and we measure the time it takes to reload and render all three tabs concurrently.

Windows Cryptography API (CNG) is used to decrypt and checksum the chosen data. Decryption algorithm is acquired with a call to CNG function BCryptOpenAlgorithmProvider(BCRYPT_AES_ALGORITHM) and hashing (checksum) algorithm with a call to function BCryptOpenAlgorithmProvider(BCRYPT_SHA256_ALGORITH M)

System storage - Windows Defender
This workload uses a trace of Windows Defender’s Quick scan of the system. Recording of activity on system drive started just before clicking Quick scan on Windows Defender and lasted until the scan finished.
Web browsing with 3 tabs
We use embedded Internet Explorer to open pages in tabs. Three tabs are opened each with their own content and we measure the time it takes to reload and render all three tabs concurrently.

System storage - adding music
This workload uses a trace of adding music to media library. On another PC, a hard drive was filled with 68 GB of music files (lossless WMA). The hard drive was connected to the PC recording the trace. Windows Media Player was started and the music folder in the new drive was added to Music Library. Recording of activity on system drive started just before adding the folder to Library and lasted until Windows Media Player status bar read “Update Complete”. During the trace Media Player scanned music files on the added hard drive (which is not included in the trace since the activity did not happen in the system drive) and indexed them (which is included in the trace since index files are located in the system drive)
Text editing
We use WordPad look-a-like application and perform search and replace operations on the given document. Document will be shown. We measure the time it takes to complete the search and replace operations.

System storage - starting applications
This workload uses a trace of starting up home and office productivity applications. PCMark 7 specification 1.0 document was copied to Desktop. The document was opened by double clicking and few seconds later Internet Explorer was started from the toolbar. Recording of activity on system drive started just before double clicking the document and lasted until both applications had started and became responsive. During the trace Windows loaded the executables and related DLLs from the system drive.
Graphics - DirectX10 - texture fill
The test draws frames by filling the screen rectangle with values read from a tiny texture using multiple texture coordinates. The texture coordinates are rotated and scaled between each frame. This is a 3DMark Vantage feature test.

Graphics - DirectX10 - color fill
The test draws frames by filling the screen rectangle multiple times. The color and alpha of each corner of the screen is animated. The pixel shader is pass-through. The interpolated color is written directly to the target using alpha blending. The render target format is R16G16B16A16. This is a 3DMark Vantage feature test.

Graphics - DirectX10 - POM
The POM shader test features a single quad shaded using the Parallax Occlusion Mapping technique. A 4k by 4k height map representing a hilly landscape is mapped on the quad and rendered with 4 point lights and 3 directional lights in a single pass, using POM self-shadowing for each light. This is a 3DMark Vantage feature test.

Graphics - DirectX10 - GPU cloth
The test renders twelve waving flags that are simulated on the GPU. The computation is done in vertex and geometry shaders and results are outputted using stream out. Each flag is modeled as a grid of vertices. Each vertex is connected to its 8 neighbors with springs. Animated wind and gravity affects the behavior of each flag. This is a 3DMark Vantage feature test.

Graphics - DirectX10 - GPU particles
The test renders GPU simulated particles, which reveal an invisible shape by colliding to its surface. There are hundreds of thousands of particles in the scene. This is a 3DMark Vantage feature test.

Graphics - DirectX10 - Perlin noise
The shader math test features multiple octaves of Perlin noise evaluated in the pixel shader. Each color channel has its own noise function for added computation load. This is a 3DMark Vantage feature test.

Web browsing with 2x3 tabs
We use embedded Internet Explorer to open pages in tabs. Two sets of three tabs are opened each with their own content and we measure the time it takes to reload and render all three tabs concurrently.

Video transcoding - high quality
Video transcoding workloads transcode videos by changing the resolution, framerate and bitrate of the video. Video transcoding uses Fast Transcode feature found in Windows 7 Media Foundation. The destination is H.264 (1080p, 24fps, 10Mbps).
System storage - video editing
This workload uses a trace of compiling a home video from a set of video clips. The source videos were shot with a Sony HDR-HC3 and imported to the PC. The source video was 1080i MPEG-2 videos. A home video project was prepared with Windows Live Movie Maker. Recording of activity on system drive started just before clicking Publish (1080p video) and lasted until publishing finished. During the trace Movie Maker read parts of source files and wrote a single output file.
Video transcoding - downscaling
Video transcoding workloads transcode videos by changing the resolution, framerate and bitrate of the video. Video transcoding uses Fast Transcode feature found in Windows 7 Media Foundation. Video downscaling workload (found in Entertainment and PCMark tests) source video is H.264 (1080p, 30fps, 12Mbps). The destination is H.264 (320x240, 30fps, 500kbps).
System storage - Windows Media Center
This workload uses a trace of Media Center activity. PC was equipped with a dual DVB-T tuner. A movie was recorded and after the recording had finished, two simultaneous recordings were started and playback of the first movie was started. While maintaining this setup of two movies streaming to storage and one being played back, activity on system drive was recorded for 4 minutes. During the trace Media Center read one file and wrote two others.
Secondary Storage
The Secondary Storage workloads are identical to the System storage workloads but allows you to specify the drive to be tested. This lets you run PCMark 7's storage tests on additional internal or external drives in addition to the system drive.
Results
System Setup
  • CPU - Intel i7 2600K @ 4.8 GHZ
  • Motherboard - Asus P8P67 Pro
  • Memory - 8 GB (2x4GB) Corsair Vengence 8-8-8-24-2T
  • Video - 2X EVGA GTX 480 (700/1401/1848)
  • Primary Drive - OCZ Agility 2 60GB
  • Secondary Drive - OCZ Agility 120GB
It took my system 44 minutes and 44 seconds to run every test and in the image below we can see my system scored a 5705 in the PCMark 7 test. And using the online features I have saved my score on the Futuremark Online Results Server, ORB Result. Once your score is saved online you can view the details of your results and compare them to the results of other users.



Detailed Results

Here is a breakdown of my workload results for each of the available tests in PCMark 7.
PCMark score: 5705
  • Video playback and transcoding / Video playback 22.84 fps
  • Video playback and transcoding / Video transcoding - downscaling 8704.87 kB/s
  • System storage - gaming 15.80 MB/s
  • Graphics - DirectX 9 108.62 fps
  • Image manipulation 14.98 Mpx/s
  • System storage - importing pictures 17.82 MB/s
  • Web browsing and decrypting / Web browsing 26.34 pages/s
  • Web browsing and decrypting / Data decrypting 155.15 MB/s
  • System storage - Windows Defender 5.39 MB/s
Lightweight score: 5170
  • Web browsing with 3 tabs 20.34 pages/s
  • System storage - adding music 1.40 MB/s
  • Image manipulation 14.98 Mpx/s
  • System storage - importing pictures 17.82 MB/s
  • Text editing 16.62 operations/s
  • System storage - starting applications 38.75 MB/s
Productivity score: 5516
  • Web browsing and decrypting / Web browsing 26.34 pages/s
  • Web browsing and decrypting / Data decrypting 155.15 MB/s
  • System storage - Windows Defender 5.39 MB/s
  • Text editing 16.62 operations/s
  • System storage - starting applications 38.75 MB/s
Creativity score: 5387
  • Image manipulation 14.98 Mpx/s
  • System storage - importing pictures 17.82 MB/s
  • Video transcoding - high quality 2014.77 kB/s
  • System storage - video editing 21.23 MB/s
Entertainment score: 5722
  • Video playback and transcoding / Video playback 22.84 fps
  • Video playback and transcoding / Video transcoding - downscaling 8704.87 kB/s
  • System storage - gaming 15.80 MB/s
  • System storage - adding music 1.40 MB/s
  • Web browsing with 2x3 tabs / Web browsing 1 18.81 pages/s
  • Web browsing with 2x3 tabs / Web browsing 2 19.00 pages/s
  • Graphics - DirectX 9 108.62 fps
  • Graphics - DirectX 10 - texture fill 38.03 fps
  • Graphics - DirectX 10 - color fill 8.36 fps
  • Graphics - DirectX 10 - POM 47.60 fps
  • Graphics - DirectX 10 - GPU cloth 57.62 fps
  • Graphics - DirectX 10 - GPU particles 89.86 fps
  • Graphics - DirectX 10 - Perlin noise 84.78 fps
Computation score: 6992
  • Video transcoding - downscaling 9114.47 kB/s
  • Video transcoding - high quality 2014.77 kB/s
  • Image manipulation 14.98 Mpx/s
System storage score: 4578
  • System storage - Windows Defender 5.39 MB/s
  • System storage - importing pictures 17.82 MB/s
  • System storage - video editing 21.23 MB/s
  • System storage - Windows Media Center 7.97 MB/s
  • System storage - adding music 1.40 MB/s
  • System storage - starting applications 38.75 MB/s
  • System storage - gaming 15.80 MB/s
Secondary storage score: 4392
  • Secondary storage - Windows Defender 5.39 MB/s
  • Secondary storage - importing pictures 19.04 MB/s)
  • Secondary storage - video editing 20.96 MB/s
  • Secondary storage - Windows Media Center 8.08 MB/s
  • Secondary storage - adding music 1.40 MB/s)
  • Secondary storage - starting applications 28.74 MB/s
  • Secondary storage - gaming 14.85 MB/s
Conclusion

For the average user PCMark 7 Free Edition is a good tool for determining the overall performance of their PC. The resulting score can be saved online and used as a baseline. Once this baseline has been established it can be used to judge the performance increase from a new upgrade or the deterioration of performance over time.

The Advanced Edition of PCMark 7 is squarely aimed at the enthusiast user who wants a detailed list of results from all the tests. As a popular benchmark developer, Futuremark benchmarks are widely used in various hardware reviews and the advanced edition user can use their details in evaluating the performance of various review results.

The Professional Edition of PCMark 7 is intended for system manufacturers and hardware reviewers. System manufacturers will use a PCMark 7 score as a marketing tool, while the hardware reviewer will find the multitude of tests useful for almost any component they have to evaluate.

I would like to thank Futuremark for the free tools they have given me and I look forward to using this software in many future reviews. I'm sure I'll find my Professional Edition of PCMark 7 invaluable and fully deserving of a 5 Star Rating.



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Old 05-14-2011, 11:25 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Futuremark PCMark 7

OC contest, take 2?
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Old 05-15-2011, 10:07 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I'll have to find some prizes first.
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