Run your own benchmarks
Most of your time using Windows is spent with more than one window open at once. Is your browser the only window you have open right now?
CNET Labs developed a multitasking test to measure the benefits of Intel's new dual-core processor. The test also provides an accurate picture of single-core processor systems.
To test a system's ability to handle two apps at once, CNET Labs runs McAfee VirusScan 9.0 and Dr. DivX 1.0.6. With a stopwatch, we time how long it takes McAfee to perform a scan in the background while encoding a large VOB video file to DivX.
- Launch VirusScan and select a location to scan. Don't hit the Scan button yet. If you have a huge hard drive, select a portion of it to scan so that you aren't sitting there with a stopwatch for a half an hour or more. CNET Labs scans about 40GB of data for its tests, which last about a minute or two.
- Before you hit the Scan button, launch Dr. DivX or another video encoder. Select a DVD or DV source video to convert to DivX. Play around with the file size to find one that takes a minute or two to encode. CNET Labs uses a clip from a DVD that's just over two minutes in length.
- When you have VirusScan and Dr. DivX ready to go, start the scan, start the stopwatch, then start the encoding. Stop timing when the last app completes its task, whether it's McAfee or Dr. DivX.
To get the most accurate picture, we suggest running the test a couple of times and taking the average. Record the scores, the name of the folder you used for the virus scan, and the name of the video file you encoded. Then you'll be able to repeat the test after installing new hardware or overclocking your system.
For accurate benchmarking results, remove variables associated with network traffic. Disconnect the system from your home network and/or the Internet before running any benchmark.