975X Express Motherboard Round-Up: Foxconn, Abit, and MSI
Gaming: F.E.A.R. and Quake 4
For our next set of tests, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom single-player Quake 4 timedemo. Here, we installed the game's official v1.3 point release which is SMP capable, turned the resolution down to 640x480, and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. Although Quake 4 typically taxes today's high-end GPUs, when it's configured at these minimal settings, it is much more CPU and memory bandwidth-bound than anything else.
The Abit AW9D-MAX put up the highest framerate in our custom low-res Quake 4 benchmark. The Foxconn 975X7AB came in second by a margin of .8 FPS, followed by the MSI 975X Platinum v2. Only 1.5 FPS separated the 'first' and 'third' place finished here though, which equates to less than 1%.
For our last set of game tests, we moved on to more low-resolution benchmarking with F.E.A.R. When testing with F.E.A.R, we drop the resolution to 640x480, and drop all of the in-game graphical options to their minimum values to isolate CPU and memory performance as much as possible. However, the in-game "effects" and "advanced computer options" settings, which control the level of detail for F.E.A.R.'s physics engine and particle system, were all set to their maximum values since these actually do place loads on the CPU and memory rather than GPU.
Once again, the Abit AW9D-MAX put up the highest framerate, followed by the Foxconn 975X7AB and then the MSI 975X Platinum v2. In this test, the Abit AW9D-MAX was actually 3.7% faster than the MSI 975X Platinum v2; a much larger delta than was reported by Quake 4.