With any system you will want to see a combination of synthetic testing and real-world. Synthetics give you a static, easily repeatable testing method that can be compared across multiple platforms. For our synthetic tests we use Everest Ultimate, Sisoft Sandra, FutureMark's 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage, Cinebench as well as HyperPi. Each of these covers a different aspect of performance or a different angle of a certain type of performance.
With the ASUS AT3IONT-I we did not include some of the more complex testing. We removed the LightWave and Cinebench tests. We left in most of the other tests and added a few to get some specific details on how the ASUS AT3IONT-I performs.
Memory is a big part of current system performance. In most systems slow or flakey memory performance will impact almost every type of application you run. To test memory we use a combination of Sisoft Sandra, Everest and HyperPi 0.99.
Interesting, the AT3IONT-I at stock speeds does not have the speed that the DDR2 based ZOTAC does when both are clocked at around the same speed (1066MHz). It is not until we pushed the memory up past 1600 MHz that we saw much better performance.
Everest Ultimate is a suite of tests and utilities that can be used for system diagnostics and testing. For our purposes here we use their memory bandwidth test and see what the theoretical performance is.
The numbers here tell us the same story that we saw with Sandra.
HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.
For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.
Again we see the ION based AT3IONT-I running behind. Of course, the ZOTAC had a much newer CPU onboard, but I still would have expected better results than this.