3DMark 2003 is a for all intents and purposes, a Graphics
Card benchmark. However, since many enthusiasts and
end users, that would take an interest in the latest and
greatest motherboard technology, are also more than just
casual Gamers, we feel it is another good data-point, as a
component in the complete picture of performance analysis.
and DX9 Gaming Synthetic Benchmarks
The first test
we ran, was the default setting for this benchmark, which
sets the Graphics Card (in this case our Radeon 9700Pro)
to 1024X768 resolution at 32 bit color levels. At
this setting the test is very Graphics Subsystem limited
and the CPU and Motherboard are only weighting the scores
to a certain extent. However, this test does
illustrate a good point of reference.
The point here
is that, unless the game you are playing is also heavily
burdened with things like positional and terrain
calculations, as with Flight Sims or AI (artificial
intelligence) calculations, as with some FPS games for
example, then most likely the Graphics Card in your system
is going to be the bottleneck, especially at high
resolutions. As such, a few percentage points here
and there for CPU/Motherboard performance, won't drive
frame rates much higher. We'll cover some scenarios
where the testing is CPU limited, in future benchmarks
here. However, in this test as you can see, even a
380 - 450MHz overclock doesn't buy you all that much,
versus the lowest score put forth by the Intel board.
Performance module of 3DMark 03 tells a bit of a different
story though and Asus takes the lead again, by a small
margin, with the P4C800. There is roughly a 2% edge
for the P4C800 versus the IC7-G, when at stock 3GHz
speeds. Again, Asus' aggressive PLL timings give it
this slight lead. However, the lead over the Intel
board is as much as 5%, which is a little more noticeable.
At overclocked speeds, the P4C800 really begins to break
out, again stable at 3.45GHz, with a 1.6V core voltage.
Synthetic CPU and Memory Bandwidth Testing
PCMark 2002 is
a synthetic benchmark that utilizes standard desktop
functions like JPEG Decoding, Audio Compression and Text
shows us that Asus is also optimizing performance with the
memory subsystem, slightly better than the Abit board.
Surprisingly there is over a 1000 point lead in the memory
test, for the P4C800, although the processor test above
shows another three way tie, for the most part.
Could it be that Asus is taking better advantage of
Intel's new "PAT" technology (bottom of the page),
with chipset memory timings? Or is this some sort of
testing fluke? We ran this test several times,
checking BIOS settings to make sure they were apple to
apples. Each time we came up with the same results.
Asus wins this race hands down. You should only
place so much stock in this synthetic benchmark though.
Let's look at more real-life gaming situations, which
should exploit the performance of all the candidates here.
Comanche 4, Quake 3
and The Ratings