Athlon64 Motherboard TripleThreat

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The Athlon64 TripleThreat - Page 5


By Jeff Bouton
October 26, 2003

PCMark 2002
Synthetic CPU and Memory Bandwidth Testing

One benchmark from FutureMark that we have become accustomed to using here is PCMark2002Pro. This test performs a series of intensive tasks designed to stress each of the system's subsystems.  The results are broken down into three sections, CPU, Memory and Hard Drive performance.  In this review we will focus on the CPU and Memory results.

As with the Sandra scores, the three boards were extremely close in CPU and memory performance.  If this trend continues, the benchmarking section of this review may get a little repetitive.  With the CPU results, the trend was just like the Sandra scores, putting the ASUS system at the top of the pile followed by the Shuttle and MSI systems respectively.  With memory performance, the ASUS system posted the best results while the MSI board just slid past the Shuttle nForce 3 motherboard.  One thing to note is the ASUS board was always a fair step ahead of the other boards while the MSI and Shuttle boards posted very similar results.

To help get a clearer picture, we moved past synthetic benchmarking in an effort to gauge real world performance.

Business & Content Creation Winstones
Simulated Application Performance

To test "Real World" application performance, we used eTesting Labs' Business and Content Creation Winstone 2002 benchmarks.  We'll directly quote ZD's eTestingLabs website for an explanation as to how Business Winstone 2002 derives its score. (Content Creation Winstone 2002 uses the same process, but the scripted activities are comprised of different, more bandwidth hungry applications.):

"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, Windows 2000 (SP2 or later), 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."

Business Winstone Applications:
  • Five Microsoft Office 2002 applications
    (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Content Creation Winstone 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)



Sizing up real world application performance turned out to be a completely different picture than with the synthetic tests.  Between the three Athlon 64 boards, the Shuttle AN50R was clearly the best performer with desktop application performance.  This is a trend that we've seen in the past with the KT400A and nForce 2, where the nForce chipset offered up the best overall performance.  This seems to be a common pattern that has rolled over to the latest versions of these chipsets.  If our suspicions are correct, the gaming performance pattern will even out a bit compared to these results.

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