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EPIA MII 12000 Review
Posted on May 18, 2004 Jump to:

Sisoft Sandra Benchmarks

Sisoft's Sandra is a comprehensive diagnostic, analysis and testing package. We tested the most relevant benchmark modules using the Standard 2004/SP1 version 9.104 on all 5 machines. Benchmarks do not always represent a true real-life performance, but they are useful to compare the speed of various CPUs, and elements of the system. We would have liked to have used the same version we used in our previous test, but unfortunately didn't have the installer handy.

Estimated Performance Rating

Estimated Performance Rating

Sandra can quickly estimate a performance rating for a system, based on various factors such as CPU speed, RAM size etc. We were interested to see what numbers it came up with, and how they would translate to real world usage later on in our tests. The faster CPU of the MII 12000 was to Sandra's liking, giving 20% more the other 1Ghz CPUs.

CPU Benchmark

Sandra Dhrystone benchmark

The Dhrystone benchmark is a long standing industry benchmark used to measure CPU performance using a standardised sampled of mainly numerical operations. The result is given in MIPS (Million Instructions Per Second). All boards produced approximately 1.65 MIPS per 1 MHz of CPU speed - apart from the MII 12000, which attained almost 2 MIPS per MHz. This represents a 20% boost in performance, as expected.

Sandra Whetstone benchmark

The Whetstone benchmark measures FPU (Floating Point) performance, although many modern processors have a number of newer features such as out-of-order execution, pipelining and SSE2 which are not tested using this benchmark. No surprises here - a 20% boost in performance.

CPU Multi-Media Benchmark

The CPU Multi-Media Benchmark uses all the Multimedia Extensions available to the CPU to draw a Mandelbrot fractal. Multimedia Extensions are additions to the x86 instruction set designed to make repeated or parallel operations run faster. Digital imaging or streaming video applications can make good use of these extensions, which use Single Instruction Multiple Data (SIMD) techniques. Changing the contrast of an image or MPEG decoding and encoding all require a large amount of data to be manipulated by the same instructions. This benchmark is therefore a good test of raw PVR (Personal Video Recorder) and MPEG2 playback functionality.

Sandra CPU Multi-Media Integer MMX

The Nehemiah has SSE (Streaming SIMD Extension) support, which was Intel's answer to AMD's 3DNow!, the first extensions with floating point support. All the other EPIAs use the Ezra-T core, which supports 3DNow! This is the most impressive Nehemiah benchmark - clearly demonstrating the superiority of the Nehemiah core, and boding well for our later DVD playback tests.

Historical Note: Intel subsequently released SSE2 in retaliation to an AMD 3DNow! Enhanced broadside, which added further SIMD instructions, but support is limited. Graphics cards have developed at an unheard of pace since the Intel released MMX, and now directly support DirectX in hardware. The networking, audio and video functionality that was supposed to be taken over by today's CPUs hasn't happened.

Sandra CPU Multi-Media FPU

The Floating-Point improvements were not so marked as the Integer results, but were still respectable. Real world results will therefore depend on the particular SIMD instructions used by a particular task.

The MII 12000 scored 20% better here in both tests, with all the other boards evenly matched.

Memory Benchmark

Sandra's Memory Benchmark creates several large arrays in memory and performs simple memory-bound arithmetic computations on them - thus reading and writing memory broadly independent of the CPU. It is slightly more objective than simply reading and writing to a large block of memory.

Sandra Int ALU/RAM Bandwidth

Sandra Float FPU/RAM Bandwidth

In this test the maximum memory bandwidth of the boards is 1.06 GB/sec, due to their 133 MHz bus frequency and 64bit single data rate processor interface. The FPU test showed the MII boards to be efficient at utilising the available bandwidth, with the EPIA TC slightly behind (the TC of course uses an SODIMM, different to the DDR DIMM used by the other boards). The Integer test was slightly less clear-cut, with the EPIA CL emerging as the winner. It has to be said here that these variances only amount to a few percent, and don't mean much in isolation.

Benchmarks - PCMark 2002 -->

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