We've developed our own suite of benchmarks using real-world and open-source applications to simulate how PCs are actually used. The suite comprises an image editing test using Gimp, a video encoding test using Handbrake, and a multi-tasking test using 7-Zip to archive and encrypt a large batch of files while a HD movie plays in mplayer.
Far from being some kind of pr0n-filtering tool, Gimp is an open-source image editing application - Gimp is an acronym of GNU Image Manipulation Program. Our test simulates how well a PC can manipulate a collection of large digital photos, and to achieve a low time requires a PC with a powerful CPU, plenty of quick memory and efficient access to storage.
We use the open-source, GPL-licensed, multi-platform, multi-threaded video encoder Handbrake to encode a HD video using the H.264 codec. This primarily tests multi-threaded CPU and memory subsystem performance
Multi-tasking is a phrase with which we're all familiar, as most of us are now used to running multiple applications at the same time. However, to run multiple applications well you need a powerful (ideally multi-core) CPU and plenty of RAM.
Our multi-tasking test performs a massive file backup (with encryption) using 7-Zip, while simultaneously playing back a HD movie file using mplayer, making it a demanding test for any PC.
The overall score is an unweighted mean average of the scores of the three individual tests. A score of 1,000 means that the test system is as fast as our reference PC, which used a 2.66GHz Intel Core 2 Duo E6750 at stock speed, 2GB of Corsair 1,066MHz DDR2 memory, a 250GB Samsung SpinPoint P120S hard disk and an Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard. The scoring is linear, so a system scoring 1,200 points is 20 per cent faster than our reference system. Equally, a system scoring 1,200 is 4 per cent faster than a system scoring 1,150.