System Setup and Benchmarking Methods

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With this new and different testing technique, the system setup of the benchmarked system will also drastically change. Because the Duron is marketed towards the low-cost market, the components that you see in these tests will be also aimed towards that market. Here is the system setup a little earlier than normal:

Test System Setup
CPU 1 x 1.3 GHz AMD Duron 1.3 GHz Processor
Motherboards ECS K7S5A SiS 735
Memory 1 x 128MB Crucial PC2100 DDR DRAM
Hard Drive 20.5GB 7200 RPM IBM EIDE
Video Card Leadtek GeForce2 MX200
Video Drivers Detonator 22.40
Operating System Windows XP Home

Let’s analyze what has changed in the table above. No longer do you see the GeForce 3 video cards and 512 MB of memory. Also, the Duron will not be competing against its older brother, the Athlon XP processor. Instead of the high-cost KT266A or nForce chipset boards, this time we have used a very low-cost ECS K7S5A motherboard based on the SiS 735 chipset. This board is no slouch when it comes to performance but is definitely toppled by the upper grade KT266A motherboards that I usually test with.

The next item that has changed is the amount of memory. Dropping the amount from 256 MB to 128 MB saves the users some money and keeps the system in the low cost category but not at the penalty of drastically lowered performance. The GeForce 3 video card is replaced by a Leadtek brand GeForce2 200MX card. Of course all hardcore PC enthusiasts know that these are not the most powerful cards on the market, they do provide a competent amount of speed to games for a low price tag.

To keep the price of the system even lower, it utilizes the integrated LAN-MAC network adapter as well as the AC’97 onboard audio controller. A DVD-ROM is bypassed for a cheaper 48x CD-ROM drive and the hard drive, though only at 20 GB, is still running at a quick 7200 RPM. Windows XP Home Edition is also the preferred operation system. This will make little difference on a non-dual processing system.

Here is a quick cost breakdown of these components to give you an idea of the kind of system we are benchmarking:

Duron 1.3 GHz – $118
AMD-approved fan – $20
ECS K7S5A – $59
128 MB DDR PC2100 – $42
Leadtek GF2 MX200 – $62
7200 RPM 20GB HDD – $75
Mitsumi 48X CD-ROM – $40

Total: $416

Now, all you have to add is a case and a floppy drive, and you will easily have this system for under $500!

On to the benchmarking. This will be one of the few reviews that you do not see me comparing the benchmark results with other system setups. Lots of other sites have chosen to go this route with all of their reviews to showcase that specific item’s strengths in their own light – and that is what I want to show with this very low-cost Duron 1.3 GHz system. It would be unfair to pit the Athlon XP 2000+ with a GF3 Ti500 against the Duron 1.3 GHz with the GF2 MX200 – the numbers would show a different picture than I am trying to present – value.

With that in mind, here is the list of the benchmarks I used followed by the results:


Quake III: Arena
3DMark 2001
SiSoft Sandra Memory Bench
SiSoft Sandra CPU Bench
Content Creation Winstone 2001
Business Winstone 2001
4 different SPEC view perf tests
Sysmark 2001

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