More of the Good
we have Business Winstone 2001. To explain
exactly what this test does, I'll use a quote taken
directly from ZD's eTestingLabs 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 KR7A-RAID, DRAGON+ and
K7T266 Pro 2 all performed at about the same level,
but the Asus A7V266-E definitely stole the show.
Although the performance difference is not dramatic, a
full 1.3 point lead over it's closest competition is
admirable, considering the exact same system
components were used.
The Content Creation
Winstone scores are tallied in the exact same fashion as
they are in the Business Winstone tests, but consist
bandwidth intensive graphics applications like
Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere.
Again we see the Asus
board clearly outpacing the others with Abit and MSI
trailing by a couple of points. The slightly
more aggressive "default" timings on the A7V266-E
seemed to have paid off in the "Real World" tests.
OK, time for the hard
part...rating the boards and picking a winner.
All of these motherboards are excellent, and they are
all similarly priced, ranging from $130-$160
US...there really is no clear overall winner if you
consider their performance and features. Instead
of recommending one board over another, I'll give my
opinion as to where each of these boards "fit" in the
For the enthusiasts who
want an excellent "pure" motherboard, that want to
tweak their components for maximum overclocked
performance, the Abit KR7A-RAID is my recommendation.
Hardcore overclockers will find all of the options
they crave, and this board hit the highest overclocked
FSB in the round-up, while remaining very stable throughout
testing. For what it's worth, the Abit
KR7A-RAID has found a new home in my personal system
(replacing the MSI K7T266 Pro 2).
Based on it's excellent overclocking options,
diagnostic LEDs, excellent ATA133
capable RAID controller and it's stability, we give the Abit KR7A-RAID a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 9.
The discriminating user
whose main considerations are stability and
performance, would be very pleased with the Asus
A7V266-E. This board does not have all of the
overclocking options we like to see, but it's
aggressive timings had it winning most of the
benchmarks. The A7V266-E was also an extremely
stable motherboard, and is equipped with very good
on-board sound. It is an excellent board on
which to base an Athlon system. There are
reasons Asus is the largest supplier of motherboards
in the world...Quality and Performance, and the A7V266-E
has them both. Because
excellent performance, and
stability but lack of any distinguishing features we give the
Asus A7V266-E a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 8.
SOYO K7-DRAGON +:
The K7-DRAGON+ is the
"Swiss Army" knife of this round-up. It's gaming
and synthetic memory performance scores were
excellent, and this board is packed with more useful features
than any other.
From it's black PCB to
it's purple PCI slots, just
looking at this product reveals that this isn't your
average motherboard. Gamers will appreciate that
they will only have to add a nice video card to have
an excellent rig, and users who like to show if their
systems will love this board's appearance. The
DRAGON+ is a capable performer and was also very
stable throughout testing. The only things
stopping me from giving this board a 10 are it's lack
of DDR voltage adjustments and it's "slower" RAID
controller, for now it gets a HotHardware Heat Meter
rating of 9.
K7T266 Pro 2:
In my opinion, the
MSI K7T266 Pro 2 caters to the largest market.
The DRAGON+ had better on-board sound, the Abit board
overclocked higher, and the Asus board performed
better, but the MSI K7T266 Pro 2 would probably please
the most people. It has all of the overclocking
options tweakers look for, and has excellent features
like the D-LED Diagnostic LEDs and USB 2.0. It's
manual and bundle were the best in the group, and this
board was also very stable...it simply didn't crash.
It may not have "won" in the performance category, but
the performance was so similar between these boards
that you can't really hold too much against the K7T266 Pro
2 (I'll only take away 1/2 a point). If the MSI K7T266 Pro 2
had an on-board NIC and performed a tad higher, I would have given it a 10 as
well...but in it's current state, it garners a a
know about this hardware stuff? Then get into
the New H.H. Forum and Flap Those Gums!