DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 3

DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B vs. ABIT AN7
The Clash of the nForce2 Ultra's

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

We configured identical test setups for both of the motherboards used in the following benchmarks.  We used a standard WinXP Professional installation with Service Pack 1.  Automatic Updates, and System Restore were turned off and the Windows GUI was set to "best performance" in the visual effects section of the advanced settings control panel.  Here are the specifications of our system.

HotHardware Test Setup
Primed For Some Action

 

Motherboard:

DFI LANParty nForce2 Ultra B Motherboard

Abit AN7 nForce2 Ultra Motherboard

 

Common Hardware and Software:

AMD 2800+ Athlon XP Barton Processor 333MHz FSB

2 x 256MB Kingston HyperX PC3500 Memory

AOpen Aeolus FX5600S 256MB (Drivers - v.53.03 WHQL)

Seagate 40GB ATA-100 7200RPM Hard Drive

On-Board Sound

WinXP Professional w/ SP1

DirectX 9.0b

NVIDIA Unified Driver Package v3.13

 

Sandra Benchmarks
Synthetic Testing

To get things started we put the motherboards through a round of Sandra benchmarks and below are screenshots of the results achieved from both motherboards.

 

DFI LANParty 

CPU Test

 

ABIT AN7

CPU Test

 

 Mem Test

 

 Mem Test

 

MM Test

 

MM Test

 

Both boards perform well here and  there is nothing out of the ordinary to report here.  The Memory Test has both boards coming in over 3000 MB/s which is very respectable for an Athlon XP based system.  Now that we have put both boards through a quick round of benchmarks we decided to have a go at overclocking each board.  Let's find out what how well each motherboard produced. 

Overclocking the nForce2 Ultra
Removing the Restrictor Plate

Even though both motherboards offer the same about the same voltage adjustment granularity, we were a bit surprised to find out that we ran into a "dead heat" with overclocking.  Both the DFI LANParty and ABIT AN7 motherboards topped out at 10.5 X 230 MHz giving us 2420 MHz of processing power.  Below are some screenshots of both motherboards run through another round of Sandra benchmarks at the overclocked speed.

DFI LANParty:

 

CPUID

 

CPU Test 2.42GHz

Mem Test 2.42GHz

MM Test 2.42GHz

ABIT AN7:

 

CPUID

 

CPU Test 2.42GHz

Mem Test 2.42GHz

MM Test 2.42GHz

 

Even though the ABIT AN7 motherboard allows for a 2.313V to the core, which is higher than the DFI LANParty allowed (2.000V), it did not help achieve a higher overclock.  Both of these overclocks were achieved with standard air cooling and the CPU core voltage set to 2.000V and the DRAM voltage set to 3.0V.  The reason we decided on a 10.5X multiplier was to get our sticks of PC3500 to at least its default rating of DDR433, which means a front side bus of 216 MHz must be reached.  Once we hit that, we upped the DRAM voltage and cranked along.  After topping out at 230 MHz, we tried a bunch of different settings to get higher but to no avail.  We backed off on the timings of the RAM, we tried different multipliers, but the best performance spot we could hit in terms of both memory bandwidth and total MHz was 10.5X by 230 MHz.  This is nothin to sneeze at, as a retail Athlon XP 2800+ ships with a multiplier of 12.5X and a front side bus of 166 MHz giving us 2075 MHz.  We managed to hit 2420 MHz giving us an effective 16% increase of total MHz not to mention a front side bus running at 460 MHz!  This speaks volumes of both the chipset and memory modules we were using in our setup, since even at this speed we were able to keep RAM timings of 2-3-3-6 with Kingston's HyperX product.

Also worth noting is how much higher the memory test scores were for the DFI motherboard compared to the ABIT motherboard at the overclocked settings.  The DFI LANParty motherboard scored 3496 MB/s while the ABIT AN7 motherboard managed just 3293 MB/s with the same exact settings.  This is a 6% difference in scores which we found to be rather odd considering both boards were run using the same exact timings.  This maybe something that can be remedied with a simple BIOS revision for the ABIT motherboard, but at this point there's no way of knowing. 

Now that we've looked at both default and overclocked performance of the motherboards, let's run them through some real world applications and get some numbers.
 

Winstone Benchmarks


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