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Dacris Benchmarks ($35, 10-use free trial) will make your computer do 50 laps around the field, then tell you how well it did. It executes a series of performance tests (which can be done on individual systems, such as RAM, disk, or video, or all at once), then provides a 1-10 rating for each section, as well as providing suitability for various tasks, such as programming or games.
The interface is straightforward. Simply launch Dacris Benchmarks, select the systems you wish to test (or test them all), and wait. During the test process, it's recommended you not do anything else. For one thing, straining your system with other processes will give a false reading. For another, Dacris Benchmarks will fling up windows full of 3-D graphics to test certain system functions, which can be a problem if you're trying to do anything else. It's best to just get a cup of coffee or read a newspaper, if you can find one. When running undisturbed, the testing took only a minute or two to complete on my relatively speedy PC, but the speed will depend on your system.
Giving both the technical and the evaluated data, Dacris Benchmarks displays the results in an easy-to-understand format. Raw benchmark numbers for various systems, such as TTP/s (Trillions of triangle pixels per second) for 3D video rendering, are given. Another tab rates performance overall on a scale of 1 to 10, and even identifies the weakest part of a system.
Dacris Benchmarks can be used on up to 10 PCs by a single user, and the utility here is that you can export the results from one system and compare them side-by-side. This can tell you if your laptop is going to be able to do the job when you take it on the road, or justify to your spouse or employer why you need a new top-end system. In office environments, it can be used to insure that desktop systems are up to date or that systems which should be very close in speed are not highly divergent due to hardware or software problems.
Although Dacris Benchmarks is not an expensive program, it is a bit on the high side for something most users will run fairly infrequently. However, if you regularly upgrade systems, buy or refurbish systems, or maintain a network, Dacris Benchmarks might come into play often enough to be worth it.
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