CrossFire Xpress 1600 Motherboards: DFI, Asus, ECS
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 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 review, we used low-quality graphical settings and a low screen resolution to isolate CPU and memory performance.
Our custom low-resolution Half Life 2 test had the Asus A8N32-SLI finishing 3-5 frames per second faster than any of the CrossFire Xpress 1600 powered boards. The DFI RDX200 CF-DR came in just ahead of Asus' offering, followed by ECS' KA1 MVP, but less than a 2 frame per second delta separated the three.
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.
Our custom Quake 4 benchmark produced similar results to our HL2 test. Here, the A8N32-SLI finished with a framerate of 166 FPS, which was about 2.5 - 3.5 frames per second higher than any of the CrossFire Xpress 1600 boards. This time around though, the ECS KA1 MVP pulled ahead of the DFI and Asus CrossFire Xpress 1600 offerings.