How We Test PCs

Learn about our WorldBench 7 benchmarking suite, as well as the other tests we use to evaluate desktops, laptops, and all-in-one PCs.

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We compare all standard desktops against one another, regardless of their category (performance, mainstream, or budget). All-in-one desktops, however, are an exception, as we compare them only against each other; since they have integrated monitors, we can't compare their energy use with that of standard desktop PCs. We compare all categories of laptops against each other. The higher the Green Score on the 1 to 100 scale, the less energy a system uses. We set laptop and all-in-one PC displays to a brightness of 95 cd/m2.

Battery Life

To measure laptop battery life, we first set the display to 65 cd/m2, or as close to that as possible. That's a "low but readable" brightness setting, similar to what you would use when trying to save battery life. We then run a script that alternates between simulated typing at the command prompt and playing a full-screen high-definition movie (the same "Big Buck Bunny" video we use in our Video Encoding tests). The simulated typing runs for 10 minutes, then the full-screen video plays in VLC; we take care to ensure that hardware video acceleration is enabled in VLC. After 10 minutes of playing video, the script closes the video and returns to the typing test.

This loop repeats until the battery dies. We then fully recharge the laptop and repeat the test at least once to make sure that the results are consistent.

If you are a PC manufacturer and would like more detailed information about how we perform our tests, contact Jason Cross and Tony Leung.

This story, "How We Test PCs" was originally published by PCWorld.

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Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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