Testbed Setup

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2003-01-23 Print this article Print

We use the same 2.8GHz Pentium 4 system weve used for our recent hard drive reviews and previews. Heres a quick summary of the configuration:
Component Intel D845PEBT2 System (DDR333) Check Prices
CPU 2.8GHz Pentium 4 (533MHz FSB) check prices
Motherboard and Chipset Intel D845PEBT2, Intel 845PE chipset check prices
Memory 512MB Corsair XMS3200 DDR memory (run at DDR333, CAS2, "aggressive" timings) check prices
Graphics Nvidia GeForce4 Ti 4600 (30.82 driver) check prices
DVD-ROM Toshiba SD-1502 check prices
Audio Sound Blaster Audigy Gamer check prices
Ethernet Intel Integrated
Operating System Windows XP Professional, Service Pack 1 installed check prices
The DVD recordable drives were installed as the master optical drive on IDE2 of the system. The Toshiba DVD-ROM drive was installed as the slave on the same connection.
We used a variety of tests to determine performance across a wide range of parameters:
  • CD Winbench 2.0 and Nero CDSpeed 1.02 for general CD read performance.
  • Nero DVD Speed version 0.53 for DVD read performance, using the Microsoft DVD Test annex DVD, a dual-layer DVD with 6.7GB of content used for WHQL testing.
  • Nero Burning ROM for CD and DVD writing tests
  • Nero DAE Extraction test to test digital audio extraction performance and accuracy.
  • DVDTach 98 version 2.51 for general DVD read testing.
All tests were conducted using a freshly defragmented hard drive, with background tasks completed using the ProcessIdleTasks function prior to running each test.

Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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