Time for Business
Winstone and some Quake 3!
Winstone and Quake 3
we see the Dual-1GHz.VP6 spank an Asus P4T running
a Pentium 4 at 1.5GHz, but we have to say this
isn't exactly a "fair" comparison.
The P4 scores were taken under WinME, while our
VP6 was running Windows 2000. We did not
have a valid P4 Business Winstone score under
Windows 2000 in our database, so I had to make do
with what was available.
the "r_smp 1" console command to enable
SMP, we're able to use Quake 3 to test raw CPU
horsepower. The VP6 again edges out our
1.5GHz. P4 system. Quake 3 v1.17 was not
very stable with SMP enabled though, so we patched
it to v.1.27 and ran the new built in timedemo
(the timedemo in v1.27 is completely different
than demo001 and demo002...don't compare these
numbers with older benchmarks around the 'net).
of comparing the VP6 against another system, here
we ran the timedemo at Quake 3's
"fastest" setting with SMP both on and
off. Enabling SMP yielded approximately a
20% increase in framerate.
I going to benefit from an SMP rig, even if I
don't run many multi-threaded apps?
a question I know we're going to receive after
some of you read this review. The correct
answer is YES. There is a common
misconception that the only time there will be a
performance increase with a Dual-CPU system is
when multi-threaded (SMP compatible) applications
are run. This simply isn't true.
Without getting too technical, think of every
application or program running on your system as
being a thread. Let's say you've got 6 single
threaded apps running at any given time (bring up
Task Manager...I'll bet you have even more than
that). On a single CPU system all 6 threads
have to be "passed through" the one
processor, while on the Dual-CPU system 3 threads
can be sent to each of the 2 CPUs. This is a
VERY over-simplified explanation, but it should
give you an idea of what we mean. This ability to
"share" the responsibility of processing
threads will in general yield a
"snappier" more "responsive"
setting up a Dual-CPU system more complicated that
a Single-CPU system?
would say no, but having spent weeks tweaking this
system for maximum performance and compatibly my
answer is unquestionably YES. Because you'll
have to use a multi-processor ready OS like
Windows 2000 on an SMP system, configuring
plug-and-play peripherals isn't nearly as painless
as Win98 or ME. We spent quite a few hours
shuffling our PCI cards in order to find a stable
combination of shared resources. Also, you
may have to spend a little time tweaking drivers
as we had to do with our Sound Blaster Live! in
order to eliminate a few annoying bugs. We could
write an entire article outlining our experiences
tweaking this system! FYI we filled our slots as
- GF2 Ultra
PCI 1 - SCSI
PCI 2 - VoodooTV
PCI 3 - Sound Blaster Live!
PCI 4 - NIC
PCI 5 - Empty
also had to use Microsoft's Affinity tool to set
our Live!'s drivers up to only use a single
CPU. I feel I should also thank 2CPU.COM...their
site is fantastic. I found a ton of
useful information that helped me set this system
up to my satisfaction.
conclusion, we have to say our overall impression
of the Abit VP6 is a good one. The initial
problems and extra time spent configuring this
system was well worth the effort, as the
performance is stellar. The only thing that
may somewhat diminish the VP6's appeal is the
impending onslaught of similar boards capable of
using DDR RAM. If you go with a VP6 now, you
may be kicking yourself in a few months when newer
DDR Dual-CPU boards become available. Even so,
the performance increases DDR motherboards have
shown are not enough to stop me from recommending
the Abit VP6 to would be upgraders. We are
pleased with ours, and I'm sure it will remain in
my personal system for some time to come. We
give the Abit VP6 a HotHardware Heat Meter rating
Being so Quiet! Get in the H.H. Conference Room
and Speak Your Mind.