Asus Striker II Formula nForce 780i Motherboard

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Test Systems and PCMark Vantage

How we configured our test systems: When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set memory timings for DDR2-800 with 4-4-4-12 timings. The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.


 HotHardware's Test Systems
 Intel and NVIDIA - Head To Head

System 1:
Core 2 Duo E6550
(2.33GHz - Dual-Core)

Asus Striker II Formula
(nForce 780i SLI Chipset)

2x1GB Corsair DDR2-800
CL 4-4-4-12 DDR2-800

GeForce 8800 GTS 512
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
7,200 RPM SATAII

Windows Vista Ultimate
NVIDIA nForce Drivers v9.46
NVIDIA Forceware v169.25
DirectX Redist (November 2007)

System 2:
Core 2 Duo E6550
(2.33GHz - Dual-Core)

MSI P6N Diamond
(nForce 680i SLI Chipset)

2x1GB Corsair DDR2-800
CL 4-4-4-12 DDR2-800

GeForce 8800 GTS 512
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
7,200 RPM SATAII

Windows Vista Ultimate
NVIDIA nForce Drivers v15.08
NVIDIA Forceware v169.25
DirectX Redist (November 2007)

System 3:
Core 2 Duo E6550
(2.33GHz - Dual-Core)

Asus Blitz Formula
(Intel P35 Chipset)

2x1GB Corsair DDR2-800
CL 4-4-4-12 DDR2-800

GeForce 8800 GTS 512
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
7,200 RPM SATAII

Windows Vista Ultimate
INTEL INF Update v8.3.1.1009
NVIDIA Forceware v169.25
DirectX Redist (November 2007)

 Futuremark PCMark Vantage
 http://www.futuremark.com/products/pcmarkvantage/

For our first round of benchmarks, we ran all of the modules built into Futuremark's PCMark Vantage test suite which was updated using the November 2007 Hotfix.  Vantage is a new Windows Vista-only benchmarking tool that we've incorporated into our arsenal of tests here at HotHardware.  Here's how Futuremark positions their new benchmarking tool:

"The PCMark Suite is a collection of various single- and multi-threaded CPU, Graphics and HDD test sets with the focus on Windows Vista application tests. Tests have been selected to represent a subset of the individual Windows Vista Consumer scenarios. The PCMark Suite includes CPU, Graphics, Hard Disk Drive (HDD) and a subset of Consumer Suite tests."

The overall PCMark Vantage score is derived from the subset of individual scenarios and suite tests, calculated in total "PCMarks".  Here are the overall results:
 



The Asus Formula Striker II improves over the older 680i chipset used on the MSI P6N Diamond by just over 100 points, yet still comes in second overall to Asus' other board, the Formula Blitz, based on the Intel P35.  Since the overall score is derived from individual Windows Vista Scenarios as well as subsets of the individual tests, it remains to be seen where the 780i really shines.
 


"Our memories are often kept in digital form. Here, large digital photos in HD Photo format are stretched, flipped and rotated using the CPU. Plenty of system memory is highly beneficial for manipulating large images. Importing digital photos to Windows Photo Gallery is where a high performance HDD shines. More and more image manipulation is being done using the GPU, enabling instantaneous color correction, sharpening and softening of images. Home video editing with Windows Movie Maker can be very time-consuming – unless you have a high performance HDD. Home videos recorded on digital video cameras are sometimes transcoded and transferred to a portable media player. High definition videos are often archived in media servers. It may, however, be handy to have them transcoded and transferred to a portable media player. A fast CPU with many cores can handle transcoding swiftly." - Futuremark

The PCMark Vantage "Memories" suite includes the following tests:

Memories 1 - Two simultaneous threads, CPU image manipulation and HDD picture import
Memories 2 - Two simultaneous threads, GPU image manipulation and HDD video editing
Memories 3 - Video Transcoding: DV to portable device
Memories 4 - Video Transcoding: media server archive to portable device



The Memories Suite of tests painted the Striker II Formula in a good light, besting both of the other boards quite handily.  The difference was most dramatic when moving from the 680i to the 780i, although the two boards are basically using the same architecture. 


"High definition TV broadcasts and movies have arrived. Playing an HD DVD with additional HD content, a Blu-ray movie, or watching HDTV smoothly (while making a backup of an HD DVD by transcoding to a media server or transcoding from a media server archive to a portable media player) requires lots of computing and graphical power. Windows Media Center with a high performance HDD can handle simultaneous video recording, time-shifting, and streaming to an Extender for Windows Media Center, such as Xbox 360™."

Vantage TV and Movies suite includes the following tests:

TV and Movies 1 - Two simultaneous threads, Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive, Video playback: HD DVD w/ additional lower bitrate HD content from HDD, as downloaded from the net
TV and Movies 2 - Two simultaneous threads, Video transcoding: HD DVD to media server archive, Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 19.39 Mbps terrestrial HDTV playback
TV and Movies 3 - HDD Media Center
TV and Movies 4 - Video transcoding: media server archive to portable device, Video playback, HD MPEG-2: 48 Mbps Blu-ray playback


 

Vantage's TV and Movies test has the Striker II in a slight lead over the 680i-based P6N Diamond.  Both of the NVIDIA chipset boards are also performing a hair faster than the Intel P35 board as well.  But, will this trend continue?


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