At work right now, we are trying to decide how much and of what type/configurations of memory to buy for upgrading of some "nicer" older systems that just have 256MB of system RAM installed for XP Professional to use. Sure, it works, but is a bit sluggish even for 2.8 GHz processors.
Being the clever guys and gals we are, we figured we would get several sample combos of memory and then benchmark them on the systems to see which performed best balancing both price and performance (we are diligent and fiscal-mindful State employees, after all).
That led us to uncover the following benchmarking software listed below.
Now, let me say up-front, these are not by any-means a complete list. There are A LOT of quality freeware benchmarking products and many focus on gaming and video performance. Because we don't run games and graphic extravaganzas on our workplace systems, I am skipping over those for now...maybe I'll touch on these later.
Additionally, they all (with one exception) are free. Though look carefully to see if they can be used as such in a non-personal (i.e. at work) environment.
Here are what we are playing with, in order of excitement and usefulness:
The Benchmark List
PassMark Performance Test - (free 30-day trial/$) - This software is really great. The reports are very detailed and well explained. The tests are quite fast. It contains twenty-five standard tests and five advanced tests. They cover performance of CPU, graphics, disks, memory, and CD/DVD drives. Systems with hyperthreading and multiple CPU's are also supported. We are so enamored with this product I think we will be making some licence purchases in the coming month! It's a really useful product.
Fresh Diagnose - (freeware after required registration) - Analyzes and benchmarks your system. Nice interface and detailed reporting of components. It is hard to find something to be unhappy with this product.
MemTach 0.93 Alpha - (freeware) - I can't seem to find a live website for this product any longer, so I am linking to the MajorGeeks download site. If you want to know more, use the WayBack Machine to search the cached pages for the developer's site. It takes some work but there is info to be found. This tool does a great job of providing a large number of system memory performance tests. The info is fast and fairly easy to interpret.
CrystalMark 2004R2 - (freeware) - Another nice tool to benchmark the following areas:
- CPU (ALU/FPU)
- Graphics (GDI/DirecDraw/OpenGL)
- BIOS/Mother Board Information
- CPU (Clock, Cache, Multiplier, System Clock ...)
- Chipset (North/South)
- Video (Driver Information/ Video RAM)
- Network Information
- PCI Device
- IDE HDD Information
- DLL Information (Windows / VisualC++ / VisualBasic / Archiver )
CPUID's PC WIZARD 2008 - (freeware) - Another really nice and well-packed benchmarking tool which appears to have been around the block for a good-long time. The developer says it "...is also an utility designed to analyze and benchmark your computer system. It can analyze and benchmark many kinds of hardware, such as CPU performance, Cache performance, RAM performance, Hard Disk performance, CD/DVD-ROM performance, Removable/FLASH Media performance, Video performance, MP3 compression performance."
7Byte : MetaBench - This one looks really, really good, but I never could get it to actually run on any of our XP Pro systems at work for some reason. If anyone has any tips or is able to get it working, please let me know! It does seem to work fine on my XP Home system. I don't know if there are some required DLL files or something missing. Need to spend more time working on this one as I REALLY wanted to use this one at work on our Windows XP Pro systems.
Download site MajorGeeks has a very nice list of software in the Benchmarking category worth looking around in for additional benchmark and system information collection utilities that I haven't mentioned:
Exo Performance Solutions - Very Interesting
Finally, in my failed attempts to track down some benchmark software I had oft seen used on pc testing sites (OfficeBench - anyone have any leads?) I eventually stumbled upon the Exo Performance Network site.
Registration is free, and gets you access to two applications: a real-time system performance monitoring and benchmarking program that uploads results to a server-account for tracking, and a client and server workload simulator to test personal productivity applications and client/server database and workflow messaging connections.
I signed up and expect to be playing with some of these as well down the road.
My Benchmarking Results?
Well, testing is still ongoing. Unfortunately, working with all this memory and seeing the performance gains when going from 256MB to 1GB of system RAM got me hungry.
Thursday night as I was doing an all-night blogging session on our Vista laptop, the 1GB system memory and 2GB ReadyBoost USB drive I was using just seemed a bit, well, sluggish. This was especially painful after seeing how Dad's Vista system was loving the 4GB system RAM we configured it with.
So I popped over to Crucial.com and downloaded/ran their memory advisor utility.
I was amazed to find that two 1GB sticks of RAM for the laptop (I needed to buy 2) to upgrade it to its paltry 2GB RAM system max was just $55. I pulled out the credit card and placed my order in minutes. The price had dropped considerably since the last time I checked. So this week it should arrive and hopefully the Vista laptop will be a bit quicker.