Abit AW8-MAX i955X Motherboard
Real World Gaming : UT2004 and Doom3
To start our in-game testing, we did some low-resolution benchmarking with Unreal Tournament 2004. When testing with UT 2004, we use a specific set of game engine initialization settings that ensure all of the systems are being benchmarked with the exact same in-game settings and graphical options. Like the other in-game tests in this review, we used a "Low-Quality" graphical settings and low screen resolution which isolates CPU and memory performance.
Watching timedemos at low quality settings and using the latest hardware is an odd sensation. The raw power of a system is witnessed during these tests, not bound by a video card limitation. As such, we were pushing over 130 frames per second in Unreal Tournament 2004. Asus pulled out a 1% lead here, larger than what we had been used to seeing.
For our next game test, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom multi-player Doom 3 timedemo. We cranked the resolution down to 640 x 480, and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. Although Doom 3 typically taxes today's high-end GPUs, when it's configured at these minimal settings it too is more CPU and memory-bound than anything else.
What were we talking about earlier? Raw power? Now we're up to nausea-inducing frame rates over 170 FPS with Doom 3. The Abit AW8-MAX turned the table on the Asus P5WD2 this time, eclipsing its performance by an extra 0.8 frames per second. But at these speeds, who really cares? It's just two superb boards battling it out, with the buyer of either board being the real winner.