PC World's WorldBench 5.0

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WorldBench 5 is the fifth generation of PC World's industry-standard benchmarking application. Designed to measure the performance of today's wide range of personal computers, WorldBench has been in continuous use at PC World for nine years and is regarded in the computer industry as one of the leading measures of PC performance. WorldBench 5 debuted in July 2004. WorldBench 5 is also the first of our benchmarks to be available for public purchase.

Our evolving benchmark has been in continuous use at PC World for nine years and is regarded in the computer industry as one of the leading measures of PC performance. Like its predecessors, WorldBench 5 uses real applications running real-world tasks to assess a PC's overall performance. This edition adds much more varied testing, including multitasking and task-switching tests, more strenuous 3D graphics marks, and audio and video encoding designed to stress today's more powerful systems.

We use WorldBench 5 to test desktop, notebook, and tablet PCs, as well as to support our testing of graphics boards, hard drives, and other products. An important note: Because WorldBench 5 uses a completely new set of applications, and because we've updated WorldBench's baseline system, the scores you see our September 2004 and future issues cannot be compared in any way with scores from older versions of WorldBench.

An Up-To-Date Benchmark

WorldBench 5 runs on PCs using the Home, Professional, Media Center, and Tablet PC versions of Windows XP. Fifteen applications (counting the components of Office XP), listed below, make up the WorldBench 5 suite. We selected this group for their mass-market appeal, stability, market share, and variety.

PC World has always believed that application-based benchmarking is a better way to quantify computer performance than esoteric synthetic methods. WorldBench 5 runs--albeit in an extremely compressed way--many of the same tasks that average users perform on their PCs every day.

WorldBench uses the following applications:

  • ACD Systems ACDSee PowerPack 5.0
  • Adobe Photoshop 7.0.1
  • Adobe Premiere 6.5
  • Ahead Software Nero Express
  • Discreet 3ds max 5.1 (DirectX)
  • Discreet 3ds max 5.1 (OpenGL)
  • Microsoft Office XP with SP-2
  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 9.0
  • Mozilla 1.4
  • Musicmatch Jukebox 7.10
  • Roxio VideoWave Movie Creator 1.5
  • WinZip Computing WinZip 8.1

The WorldBench 5 Score: How It Works

WorldBench 5 is automated and bulletproof: Once you launch WorldBench 5, it runs completely on its own from start to finish and reports the results, in text or graphics form, as individual tests and as the overall WorldBench score. It can recover from and repeat failed tests and can finish the testing and prepare its report even when individual applications will not run or complete. You can easily remove WorldBench 5 when it is finished; this process helps ensure that we run the same software configurations and versions on every computer we test and that WorldBench will leave your PC the way it found it.

Like previous versions of our benchmark, WorldBench 5 combines the results of scripted application tests and then compares them to the scores of a reference system--now a high-end system with a 2.2-GHz Athlon 64 FX-51 CPU with 1MB of Level 2 cache and 1GB of RAM, as well as an NVidia GeForce FX 5950 Ultra graphics card with 256MB of RAM.

To make the comparisons easy to interpret, we set the baseline system's final score at 100. A system that receives a score of 50 is half as fast as the baseline; a system that earns a mark of 200 is twice as fast; and so on.

Over the years, we've used different PC vendors' systems. For WorldBench 5, we selected our baseline because its configuration specifically places it near the upper end of the current performance scale.

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