DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards

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DFI LanParty and Abit AN7 NFII Ultra Motherboards - Page 6

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

By: Tom Laverriere
February 29, 2004

     

For our set of gaming benchmarks we used the Unreal Tournament 2003 demo, Halo - Combat Evolved, and Aquamark 3.  This will give us a feel for both Direct X and OpenGL gaming performance.  To take as much stress off of the graphics subsystem as possible and put the overall system bandwidth and compute power to work, we ran the benchmarks at a 640x480 resolution.

Gaming Benchmarks
DX8, DX9 and OpenGL Gaming Performance

Using a custom "Fly By" benchmark for Unreal Tournament 2003, we did a test on the Citadel level.  Both boards are once again neck and neck, although at overclocked speeds we're seeing the DFI motherboard pull away a more significantly.  Perhaps this has something to do with the memory subsystem of the DFI motherboard again and if that's the case it shows that DFI has taken the extra time to really tune this board and get as much as it can from it performance wise.

 

Following the Readme file provided with Halo, we ran a timedemo at both default and overclocked speeds.  Once again the motherboards are chugging along hand in hand.  The DFI board once again shows a slight lead in this benchmark.  More noticeable is how the overclocked scores are barely ahead of the default settings which points to the fact that this game is highly dependent on the graphics subsystem regardless of the resolution.

 

Auqamark 3 uses a DirectX 9 enhanced gaming engine, along with some DX8 and DX7 pixel shader programs.  Once again we set the resolution to 640x480.  Continuing with the trend, the DFI LANParty motherboard manages an ever so slight lead at both the default and overclocked settings.  The overclocked scores managed to outpace the default scores by a bigger margin this time which shows system bus bandwidth is an important factor when running Aquamark 3.

 

Besides the chipset of these two motherboards being the same, they are quite different when looking at the details.  It's obvious from an enthusiast point of view that the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B motherboard offers an all around package that is hard to beat.  While the ABIT AN7 doesn't have all the bells and whistles its competitor had, it shines as well where it matters most, in performance.  Throughout the benchmarks these two motherboards were almost dead even with a slight advantage going to DFI.  Maybe only a small point to fret over was the memory subsystem performance of the ABIT AN7 motherboard, but again this can be easily resolved with a simple BIOS revision in the future. 

Deciding on a motherboard is never easy, but in this case we think the decision is easier because each board will appeal to a different audience.  Only the true enthusiasts among us will be able to completely appreciate what the DFI LANParty solution has to offer: 4 SATA ports, Dual LAN, a distinctive look and an amazing bundle.  The price point of the DFI motherboard is higher, currently around $145 or so while the Abit AN7 lists for around $105.  However, the NFII Ultra B's price is right in line with what you are getting in return.  The ABIT AN7 motherboard is in most ways your basic run of the mill nForce2 Ultra motherboard, but certainly performs better than average and shouldn't be overlooked with its powerful "ųGuru" overclocking feature.  Each motherboard offers its own special feature for overclocking.  DFI offers its CMOS Reloaded feature, while ABIT sports its ųGuru processor and "On the Fly" overclocking.  We feel the ųGuru system is not as mature as we'd like to see it yet, but it's a stride in the right direction and will work well enough for most uses.  So in the end, it comes down to performance.  While both motherboards performed admirably, the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B did manage to outpace the ABIT AN7 by a hair in almost every benchmark.  From our standpoint we'll conclude that both of these motherboards are great products overall, delivering performance and features proportional to their respective price points.

We're giving the DFI LANParty NFII Ultra B a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of:

 
 
 
And the ABIT AN7 also scores a Heat Meter rating of:
 

 


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