The free Basic version of PCMark05 reviewed here is an application based benchmark that gives an overall system score.

Other versions such as the commercial Advanced version go beyond this functionality by deriving component-level scores using applications that stress individual components.

Unlike SYSmark, which uses the full version of major applications, PCMark's applications are either bundled parts of Windows like WordPad and Internet Explorer, or free applications. The emphasis is on applications typical of home use and include productivity, Internet, entertainment, file compression and encryption programs.

Like SYSmark, PCMark has the advantage of being a widely-used benchmarking suite. Installation was straightforward, although it does check for up-to-date system components and we were instructed to update to the latest version of Windows Media Player.

The single figure provided by the Basic version makes it very easy to compare systems.