Asus A8R32-MVP Deluxe: ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200 Chipset Launched
Low-Res Gaming: HL2 & Quake 4
To start our in-game testing, we did some low-resolution benchmarking with Half Life 2. When testing a motherboard and processor with HL 2, we use a specific set of game engine initialization settings 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 article, we used low-quality graphical settings and a low screen resolution to isolate CPU and memory performance.
The nForce 4 SLIX16 based Asus A8N32-SLI nudged past the ATI chipset based systems by about 5 frames per second in our custom Half Life 2 benchmark; the Intel rig trailed by about 30 FPS. 5 frames per second doesn't sound like much when framerates are exceeding 150 FPS, but does equate to about a 3% advantage for the nForce 4 SLIX16. Not a huge margin of victory by any means, but a victory nonetheless.
For our next game test, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom single-player Quake 4 timedemo. Here, we installed the new v1.05 patch which is SMP capable, cranked the resolution down to 640 x 480, and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. Although Quake 4 typically taxes today's high-end GPUs, when it's configured at these minimal settings it too is more CPU and memory-bound than anything else.
Things tightened up a bit on our custom Quake 4 benchmark. In this test, less than 2 frames per second separated the nForce 4 SLIX16 from the CrossFire Xpress 3200, and the 3200 just barely outpaced the Radeon Xpress 200. The Intel rig continued to lag behind the AMD based systems, further explaining why AMD processors are currently favored in the gaming community.