ASUS A7N266E Motherboard Review

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The ASUS A7N266E Motherboard Review - Page 3


The ASUS A7N266-E Motherboard Review
An All-In-One Powerhouse!

By, Jeff Bouton
March 6, 2002


Benchmarks and Comparisons Continued...
More Quake 3 and The Winstones...

When it comes to OpenGL benchmarking, there is probably no benchmark more popular than the Quake 3 Demo 001.  The question is, can you really expect to play OpenGL games such as Quake 3 with on-board graphics?  Well, we gave it a test with both the "Fastest" and "High-Quality" settings to cover both ends of the spectrum.  Let's take a look.

Quake 3:

Clearly, the nForce graphics have no trouble playing Quake 3 at 1024x768x16, reaching a respectable 83.2 FPS.  In fact, the A7N266-E performed equally with the reference design in this test. 

Next we'll turn it up to "High-Quality" and let it ride.

Ok, so maybe we're asking a bit too much of the new nForce graphics, but with a little over clocking the nForce may just push 1024x768 past the 60FPS barrier.  Now that we've got the gaming benchmarks out of the way, let's move on to the business side of things with the Winstone Suite.  Our first test will be Business Winstone 2001.  Below is the description of what Business Winstone 2001 does from the Etesting Lab's website:

"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 CD-ROM that contains Business Winstone includes all the files and application portions you need to run the benchmark."

Business Winstone 2001:

When it comes to Business applications, The Asus A7N266-E performed quite well, slightly passing the reference system. 

Next we'll run Content Creation 2002.  Below is Etesting Lab's description of how Content Creation tests a system:

"Content Creation Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running top, Windows-based, 32-bit, content creation applications on Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, or Windows XP. Content Creation Winstone 2002 uses the following applications:

  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1
  • Adobe Premiere 6.0
  • Macromedia Director 8.5
  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4
  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder
  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01
  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

Following the lead of real users, Content Creation Winstone 2002 keeps multiple applications open at once and switches among those applications. Content Creation Winstone 2002 is a single large test that runs the above applications through a series of scripted activities and returns a single score. Those activities focus on what we call "hot spots," periods of activity that make your PC really work--the times where you're likely to see an hourglass or a progress bar."

Content Creation 2002:

This time around, the Asus A7N266-E fell behind the reference nForce system, although clearly both of them are quite capable of running the most intensive multimedia applications on the market.  No matter how you look at it, the A7N266-E is a very capable motherboard in all aspects of computing. 

After giving the ASUS A7N266-E motherboard a thorough workout, I'm quite comfortable in stating that we have a winner.  nVidia has done a great job at bringing new life to integrated video.  For the first time we are seeing a motherboard with integrated components that actually performs capably in all areas.  Whether you are looking for an excellent workstation computer or a complete personal rig capable of running both games and business applications, the A7N266-E is ready for the job.  If you are a casual gamer that wants decent performance without having to purchase a $300 video card, then look no further.  This board aims to please a wide range of users and probably will.

When it comes to overclocking, our experience was luke-warm at best, with only modest gains achieved.  Then again, if you are a hardcore overclocker, chances are you aren't running a board with integrated components anyway.

Our overall experience with the ASUS A7N266-E was very good, with only a few issues to complain about.  There is no doubt that this product is the complete package with all the key components needed for a well-rounded, good performing system.  With that said, we give the ASUS A7N266-E a Hot Hardware Heat-Meter Rating of a 9!


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