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Cover Story
How Fast Are They?
Taking a Pentium II for a test spin can be a breathtaking experience.

-- by Jonathan Blackwood

For our tests, we ran our new Wintune 97 benchmarks at an 800x600 screen resolution and 16-bit (65,000 colors) color depth. We ran three passes and averaged the results. Then we ran our 32-bit Word and Excel macros three times at the same resolution, again averaging the results. Finally, we ran a new graphics benchmark script of MMX-enabled Adobe Photoshop 4.0 files and filters, using Equilibrium's DeBabelizer Pro software, allowing the program to log start and stop times. Results were averaged for these tests, too. Systems were tested using Windows NT, and results in the top chart show performance under NT. If a system arrived as a Win95/NT 4.0 dual-boot system, we ran all benchmarks under each OS (see bottom chart)

The results are shown in these graphs, expressed as a percentage of the best score for each benchmark. Overall, the Dell Dimension outperformed all the other systems in this grouping, coming in first or tying for first in every category. The HP system finished second overall, followed by the Intergraph. The rest of the systems filled the field, with a tight grouping of the Compaq Deskpro, the AST, the Gateway 2000 and the DirectWave Pentium II system. On dual-boot systems, in every case, applications ran significantly faster under NT than under Windows 95.

We were surprised by some of our results. First, the processor itself is just one element of a system's performance-video and hard disk performance are equally important. That explains why some systems with relatively slower processors outperformed those with faster CPUs. A case in point: Overall, the 233MHz AST Bravo performed better than the 266MHz systems from Gateway, DirectWave and NEC.

More than likely, all of the systems in this grouping-or even the Pentium Pro or P55C machines used here for comparison-are faster than the computer you're using. Any of these will prove excellent performers in that regard.

Windows Magazine, June 1997, page 116.

[ Go to June 1997 Table of Contents ]