Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal Motherboard

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Testing Setup and SANDRA Scores


How we configured our test systems: When configuring the test systems for this review, we first entered the system BIOS and set each board to their "Optimized" or "High-Performance Defaults".  The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 was installed. Then we installed all of the necessary drivers, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were disabled, and we setup a 1536MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we set Windows XP's Visual Effects to "best performance", installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives and ran all of the tests.

Test System Specifications
Intel and NVIDIA come out of their corners!
Motherboards Tested:
Gigabyte GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal (nForce 4 SLI X16 Intel Edition)

MSI P4N Diamond (nForce 4 SLI Intel Edition)
Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe (nForce 4 SLI X16 Intel Edition)
Asus P5WD2 Premium (Intel i955X)

Common Hardware:
Intel Pentium 4 550 Processor @ 3.4GHz
2x512MB Corsair XMS2 Pro DDR2-667 (CL 4-4-4-12)
nVidia GeForce 7800GT

On-board audio & LAN
Seagate Barracuda V SATA Hard Drive

Software / System Drivers:
Windows XP with Service Pack 2
DirectX 9.0c
nVidia nForce4 SLI X16 Chipset Drivers, v6.85
nVidia ForceWare Drivers v81.98

Intel INF Chipset Drivers, v7.21.1003

Preliminary Benchmarks With SiSoft SANDRA 2005 SR2

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. SANDRA consists of a set of information and diagnostic utilities that can provide a host of useful information about your hardware and operating system. We ran three of the built-in sub-system tests (CPU Arithmetic, CPU Multimedia, and Memory Bandwidth) that partially comprise the SANDRA 2005 suite of benchmarks.  All of these tests were run with the GA-8N-SLI Quad Royal powered by an Intel Pentium 4 550 3.4 GHz CPU with 1GB of Corsair XMS2 Pro DDR2 and compared against similar systems from SANDRA's database.

CPU Arithmetic Benchmark
Pentium 4 550 @ 3.4GHz
1024MB DDR2 (CL4)

Memory Benchmark
Pentium 4 550 @ 3.4GHz
1024MB DDR2 (CL4)

CPU Multimedia Benchmark
Pentium 4 550 @ 3.4GHz
1024MB DDR2 (CL4)

SANDRA's CPU Arithmetic and Multimedia benchmarks don't offer up much of a comparison between the performance of the GA-8N-SLI and a similarly configured system in the internal database.  The charts do show the increase in performance that we might see with Dual Core processors, which the nForce 4 SLI also supports.  As we've seen with other NVIDIA boards, the memory bandwidth was just a bit lower than expected values from SANDRA, and also below the scores we've seen with Intel's own 955X boards. 


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