Quad-core PC project - Windows Experience Index

Quad-core PC project - Windows Experience Index

Summary: What's the Windows Experience Index of the new quad-core PCs I'm building?

TOPICS: Windows

Some of you have asked me for the Windows Experience Index score of my new quad-core PCs ... well, here it is:


That 5.3 is pretty robust.  Not only have I not done anything to tweak the system other than install the ATI Radeon drivers, the fact that I'm getting a 5.9 for the processor, graphics and primary hard disk means that with a little tweaking of the gaming graphics and memory, I should be able to squeeze more power from the systems.

Do I need to squeeze more power from the system?  Not really!

More later!

Topic: Windows

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  • I seem to recall your having said you weren't going to tweak.

    These systems. Or was that someone else? Tweaking the memory seems to be going against that.
    • Maybe a better word is "optimizing"

      Everything's on default at present in the BIOS (apart from RAM timings) ... I might do a few little optimizations. :-) I don't want to do too much though as that might compromise stability for speed.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
      • Not to belabor the issue but...

        ...your seven step plan stated:

        "These new systems will run with the minimum of tweaks and customizations - to put it simple, any change will have to be justified on the grounds of usability."

        I don't see memory tweaking meeting this criteria.

        Again it's your system and so it's not for me to argue this point with you. Just wondering the basis for this change given your earlier action plan.
        • You're right ...

          It will be minimal (for example, I just need to disable the logo on the startup now). I'm not planning on doing anything crazy. In fact, simplicity is the key, but I might tweak for stability too (for example, the RAM I'm using it rated for 2.1V so I'll change that in the BIOS from auto to a fixed value. That's a tweak but one well worth doing for stability. Same with the RAM timings.

          Why am I interested in tweaking? Well, that WEI score of 5.9 is so darn close ;-) But realistically, I'll settle with a robust 5.3 over a flaky 5.9 any day.

          I'll document everything I do here too so that you folks can see the gains (or not).
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • Please also let us know if ....

    ... S3 and S4 function properly. Not to second guess your choice of motherboards but an Nvidia SLI along with an ATI graphics card seems a little weird to me. I have had trouble in the past with Asus and Abit motherboards not working with power management and am curios if this will work on your configuration. I probably would have went with the Intel BOXDP35DPM LGA 775 Intel P35 ATX Intel Motherboard myself. That way you get VIIV and pocket about $200.00.
    • Seems OK

      Seems to work fine.
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
  • 5.3 Seems a little low.

    I've got a Velocity Micro system with an ASUS SLI system board 6400 processor @ 2.13 Ghz and an Nvidia 8600GTS graphics card that gets a 5.2. The constraining factor on this is the processor same as your quad system. Either the quad doesn't buy anything or the Windows Experience tests don't do a good job with processors.
    • Read the chart again.

      The processor gets a 5.9. It is the memory that is a 5.3 and the gating item.
      • Interesting...


        The WEI on my Vista box (assembled in February) is 5.4. The main components are:

        MSI Platinum P965 system board
        Intel C2D E6600 (2.4Ghz)
        Sapphire Radeon X1950PRO 256MB
        2GB Kingston ValueRAM 800Mhz PC6400 DDR2
        2 X WD 250Gb SATA2 3Gb/sec 16MB cache 7200RPM

        The system RAM is overclocked at the lowest setting (Intel SpeedStep is enabled @ 1%, 2%, and 4%.)

        The "limiting" factors are the processor and HDDs, both rated 5.4. The RAM is rated 5.7, the Aero graphics is rated 5.9, and the Business and Gaming graphics are rated at 5.8, and the system is as stable as a table.

        Not too shabby, if I do say so myself. :)

        I'm uncertain as to why your memory rating is lower than mine is. Didn't you use a "hot" set of Corsair PC6400 sticks? Perhaps they need to tweaked (faster timing, if possible) to get a bit more performance out of them. (The Kingstons I'm using are a fairly standard 5-5-5-12 @ 1.8V.) OTOH, perhaps the Intel P965 chipset in my box makes up for it. I dunno.

        The Biz and Gaming graphics of the X2600XT, at 5.5, is nothing to sneeze at. :) You would have gotten more if you'd sprung for an X2900PRO, but I do understand your reluctance to shell out an additional US$300 (each) for them.

        You'd have to spend an unconscionable amount to max out your WEI--5.9s across the board.

        Slightly off-topic comments:

        After perusing your parts list, I was somewhat surprised that you went with the Corsair PSU. I understand the reasoning behind getting a 520W unit, since the X2600XT draws so much more power than my X1950 does. But what is its efficiency rating?

        When I built my system, I went with a SeaSonic 380W PSU, which has an efficiency rating of 80%+, and gives me about 130W of overhead at 85% load.

        I would have recommended a SeaSonic S12-series or SS-series 500-550W PSU. They are rated at 85-88% efficiency, have modular cabling, three 12V rails, and are RoHS-compliant. And their fans are whisper quiet.

        Diff'rent strokes, I guess.
        M.R. Kennedy
        • Re: Interesting...

          Thanks for the note Brother Mike ...

          Yeah, I was expecting that the RAM would give a better score than 5.3. I'm set at timings @ 2.1V. I've had to update the BIOS on the motherboards so far and I'm also seeing a massive chipset update too that might be worth doing. As for tweaking it, I might take a look around the BIOS but to be honest, I'd rather reliability over performance. This machine is plenty fast!

          One thing that I am really pleased with is the RaptorX drive - that thing really flies!

          As for PSU, I did look at the SeaSonics but went with the Corsairs because the place I bought them from had two ... The Corsair offers +80% efficiency, uses 105?C rated industrial grade capacitors and is pretty quiet.
          Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • WEI memory rating


            Though I know nothing about the AMD 680i chipset, it's possible that the Intel P965 is a tad bit faster when handling RAM reads and writes. The upcoming G35 chipset (coupled with a 1333Mhz FSB) should be even faster.

            I was very briefly tempted by the Raptor, but couldn't honestly justify the expense in relationship to the smaller capacity of the drive. Considering my relatively paltry storage needs (in comparison to yours), I probably didn't neet 500 gigs (2 x 250Gb, nominal, 2 x 238Gb formatted), but it worked out as an advantage (dual-boot) anyway. XP MCE was the first OS on the system, followed by Vista Business. Since I haven't booted into XP in over five months, I'm looking at formatting its drive and recovering the storage for other uses.

            I'm [b]very[/b] pleased with my 380W SeaSonic PSU, as is a friend who purchased a 330W model as a replacement (2nd one) for his elderly Gateway 700X. He's so pleased that when he finally builds his new system, it will include a 500W SeaSonic PSU to handle the uprated processor and video card (Radeon X1950XT) he's planning to use.

            Since your Corsair unit has similar characteristics (80%+ efficiency, 105? capacitors, and modular cabling), it should serve you well.
            M.R. Kennedy
  • RE: Quad-core PC project - Windows Experience Index

    While I have built my own PCs in the past, I cannot help but wonder wheter it is worth the time any more. I used to be able to buld a better PC for far cheaper than anything on the market, but it does not seem to be that way anymore.

    Let's compare the system that was built here with the Gateway Q6600 now available from BestBuy. The WEI for the DIY PC is as follows:

    Processor 5.9
    Memory 5.3
    Graphics 5.9
    Gaming Graphics 5.5
    Primary Hard Disk 5.9

    The WEI for the Gateway is as follows:

    Processor 5.9
    Memory 5.4
    Graphics 5.9
    Gaming Graphics 5.8
    Primary Hard Disk 5.8

    Cost for the DIY: $1492.93

    Cost for the Gateway: $1155.97

    I do not know what motherboard is in the Gateway, so who knows what kind of tweaking can be done, but right out of the box, the Gateway is at least as good as the DIY.