Gaming: F.E.A.R. & Doom 3
We must note that we didn't fully test the 945G-M3's onboard graphics (integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 950). The GMA950 isn't really suited for intense gaming; it is more suitable for very casual and light gaming situations where high frame rates and image quality are not a big concern. If you don't plan on playing any recent, intense 3D games and will stick to mostly office apps and e-mail, then the GMA950 is fine for that type of usage scenario.
To start our in-game testing, we ran some low resolution and low quality benchmarking with F.E.A.R., a game that can be quite demanding even on the fastest system. 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. In other words, all eye candy was set to the lowest level possible or disabled, and resolution was set to 640x480. All tests were run with a GeForce 6800 GT.
Finally, the test results get a little more exciting. The C19-A SLI board decided to perk up a bit and take this one by a decisive margin. The 945G and 955X boards, on the other hand, post very similar scores which are about 20 FPS lower than the C19-A SLI. Remember this is with only one 6800 GT installed on all boards.
For our next game test, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom single-player Doom 3 timedemo. Here, we cranked the resolution down to 640 x 480 and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. When it's configured at these minimal settings, this game is also more CPU and memory-bound than anything else.
The scores end up being closer in Doom 3, but the C19-A SLI board takes the victory once more. As with the F.E.A.R. benchmark, the two ECS boards perform nearly identically.
Since the C19-A SLI is an SLI board, we couldn't leave you without any SLI benchmarks. Just to show you that this board can put up some nice numbers in SLI mode, we also ran the Doom 3 test with 4x AA (anti-aliasing) and "High Quality" set in the game options. Admittedly, Doom 3 isn't the newest game around, but it does demonstrate the potential performance gains from SLI.