Abit's Fatal1ty AA8XE
3DMark05: CPU & UT 2004
It's not an actual game, but 3DMark05's built-in CPU test is a "gaming related" DirectX metric that's useful for comparing relative performance among similarly equipped systems. This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are generated with a software renderer, which is dependant on the host CPU's performance. This means that the calculations normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the central processor. The number of frames generated per second in each test are used to determine the final score.
Abit's Fatal1ty AA8XE outperformed all of the reference systems by margins ranging from 1.7% to over 8%. The Asus P5AD2-E came in second place, followed by Intel's reference i925XE motherboard. Our Athlon 64 4000+ / nForce 4 combo brought up the rear. Please keep in mind that this is a synthetic test, however. Real world gaming scenarios may not show the same performance characteristics...
To start our actual in-game testing, we did some benchmarking with Epic's Unreal Tournament 2004. When testing with UT 2004, we use a specific set of game engine initialization parameters 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" setting with UT2004 that isolated CPU and memory performance.
Our Athlon 64 4000+ powered reference system proved to be too much for any of the Intel based rigs in our custom Unreal Tournament 2004 test. The Athlon outpaced the Pentium 4 systems by around 20 frames per second. If we eliminate the A64 from the equation though, the Abit Fatal1ty AA8XE was the victor yet again. Although it was only marginally "faster" than the Asus P5AD2-E.