We'll wrap it up with a benchmark round from Unreal Tournament 2003. We utilized a simple benchmark script that does "Fly By" demos on the Antalus, Asbestos and Citadel levels. We set the resolution to 640X480, so as to take as much of the workload off the GeForce4 as possible and place it on CPU and System Bandwidth.
| Unreal Tournament 2003
| DirectX 8 Gaming Performance
Again here we see some pretty impressive numbers. The Leadtek seems to pull away from the Chaintech in the Asbestos fly by, but again with numbers this high it's only a 1% lead, which is completely unnoticeable to the end user. After running through the numbers, we can't really say that one of the boards really dominated. They both showed solid numbers across the test runs and would be great boards for anyone looking to get into the AMD scene or upgrading from an older board.
After running this second generation nForce chip through the trenches and back, it's easy to see the improvements from NVIDIA's first crack at it. The biggest improvement being the Dual Channel DDR or "TwinBank", as NVIDIA likes to call it. The 128-bit DDR memory bus gives us the opportunity to compete bandwidth wise, at the level of Pentium 4 platforms and the i850E chipset. What's not to like about this? We're talking about an AMD platform that delivers blazing performance at a significantly lower price point. I have to say that Dual Channel DDR is what everyone has been waiting for and after running these tests, we see that it can perform. Now it's a matter of playing the waiting game, to see if the other chipset giants such as VIA or SIS will put out a Dual Channel solution to compete with NVIDIA's nForce2. For now, I think we can all agree we have a winner with the nForce2 chipset.
Chaintech 7NJS Zenith Analysis:
Where can I start with the Chaintech board? There is so much to talk about. For starters, It has great features and an amazing bundle. The Chaintech is impressive from the start, right after opening the box. You get rounded IDE cables, a front panel with USB 2.0 and Firewire ports and a Firewire card. Not to mention everything is gold plated for a nice look, although that opinion will vary with each individual. This motherboard's features left nothing out. We have SATA RAID, 10/100 Ethernet LAN, FireWire, and USB 2.0, AGP 8X, and official DDR400 support. All this comes at a price though and the Chaintech does have a price entry point well above most motherboards in its class, but the value is there. I would have liked to see a second Ethernet jack to take advantage of the 3Com Ethernet MAC, but we made do. Finally, overall performance was excellent. Although we didn't get the overclock we'd like to see in such a feature-rich motherboard, I wasn't using aftermarket cooling or PC3500 memory modules. With that said, this is a great board for anyone looking to assemble a top of the line AMD platform.
We're giving the Chaintech 7NJS a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of...
What the the Leadtek lacked in its bundle and feature set, it made up for in performance. While we didn't see all the fancy trimmings that came along with the Chaintech board, we did get a solid standard issue package. The Leadtek performed as well as and even better, in some cases, than the Chaintech board. There are some shortcomings with the board though. Again, we'd like to see a second Ethernet jack, but if you are looking for a board that is going to be able to support the upcoming technologies, the Leadtek doesn't have it right up front. With the lack of SATA or RAID, if you need this feature, you're talking about having to buy an adaptor, which adds to the total cost of the package. On the upside however, you're getting a very stable, well built product that offers some great features such as AGP 8X, USB 2.0, IEEE-1394a Firewire, and official Dual Channel DDR400 support. In addition, all this at a great price. When you can have the Leadtek at about $80 cheaper than the Chaintech, that add in SATA or RAID card doesn't seem so bad after all.
We're giving the Leadtek K7NCR18D-Pro a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of...
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