Abit BD7IIRAID & MSI 845E Max2 BLR

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The Abit BD7IIRAID & MSI 845E Max2 BLR - Page 4

Abit's BD7II-RAID Vs. MSI's 845E Max2 BLR
Two Fully Featured i845Es Do Battle...

By, Marco Chiappetta
August 6, 2002

    

Flask MPEG is a file conversion utility that takes a video of a certain format, and converts it to another. We took a 19MB MPEG 2 video clip from a "classic" TV show (that made it's debut in Davo's 533Mhz. BUS P4 review) and converted it to DivX format using the DivX Pro 5.02 Codec.  We converted the video to a resolution of 720x480, but did not compress or convert the audio in any way.

MPEG Encoding Performance with Flask MPEG
Let's Convert Some Movies!

The trend continued in our FlaskMPEG video encoding test, where the Abit board managed to pull slightly ahead of the MSI board by a margin of .001%.  The results in this test show miniscule changes between runs though, so essentially these scores are the same.

Benchmarks with 3D Mark 2001 SE
DX Gaming Simulator

MadOnion's 3D Mark 2001 SE is a DirectX 8 benchmark that makes use of advanced pixel and vertex shaders, as well as some other modern rendering features like Environmental Bump Mapping.  It generates a score after rendering scenes and measuring performance using the MaxFX game engine, found in Remedy's popular game Max Payne.

In the 3D Mark 2001 SE benchmark, the performance delta between the two boards was again very small.  The Abit BD7II-RAID did manage to best the 845E Max 2 BLR by 145 points, but that difference is too small to really mean anything.

"Real World" Performance with the Stones
Simulated Application Performance

Up next was ZD Labs' Business Winstone 2001 benchmark.  Here's a quote from ZD's eTestingLabs website detailing exactly what this test is all about:

"Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running today's top-selling Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98 SE, Windows NT 4.0 (SP6 or later), Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows XP. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores."

The Business Winstone tests include:

  • Five Microsoft Office 2000 applications (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 98

  • Lotus Notes R5

  • NicoMak WinZip

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Next we ran ZD's Content Creation Winstone 2002.  This benchmark runs a similar series of scripted activities, but the tests are comprised of more "bandwidth hungry" applications.  The applications used in the Content Creation Winstone 2002 tests include:

  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

Both of these mainboards performed at virtually the exact same levels in ZD's Business and Content Creation Winstone benchmarks.  Due to the fact that we used all of the same supporting hardware, and the same driver revisions for that hardware, unless there was a problem with one of these products, we would expect the scores to turn out the way they did.  We would also like to mention that throughout our entire battery of tests, both the Abit BD7II-RAID and MSI 845E Max2 BLR maintained rock-solid stability unless we were overclocking way beyond spec.

CONCLUSION:

So how do we decide which board we liked better when both of them performed at virtually identical levels?  Well, we have to base our decision on the price, the bundled accessories and overclocking capabilities.  As of this writing, the Abit BD7II-RAID can be found for $111 US.  The MSI 845E Max2 BLR with the Bluetooth accessories sells for $159 US, $123 US without the Bluetooth accessories.  Should you opt for the "non-Bluetooth" LR version, the extra $12 gets you an additional USB bracket, diagnostic LEDs and a more aesthetically pleasing product.  As far is this reviewer is concerned, the extra $12 is money well spent, and overall give the nod to the MSI 845E Max2.  Based on it's excellent overclocking ability, very complete bundle and rock-solid stability, we give the MSI 845E Max2 BLR a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of 9...

The Abit BD7II-RAID is an excellent mainboard however, and we would still whole-heartedly recommend to anyone looking to put together a Pentium 4 based system.  We can't hold much against the BD7II-RAID, except for the issue we had when exiting the BIOS during our overclocking tests.  At default clock speeds, the BD7II-RAID proved to be the "faster" board, even though the performance deltas were very small.  We also think the on-board HPT372 controller found on the BD7II-RAID is superior to the Promise 20276 found on the MSI board.  Ultimately, opting for either one of these products is a wise choice.  Based on it's excellent price, performance and superior RAID controller, we give the Abit BD7II-RAID a HotHardware Heat meter rating of 8.5...

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Tags:  MSI, RAID, X2, BD, MS, Abit, AI, id

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