3DMark 2001 and 3DMark03
We wanted to get an idea of how
the SiS648 would perform in gaming situations, and
started with Futuremark's 3DMark 2001 SE and
3DMark03. Both of these benchmarks render a variety
of scenes, using DirectX 8 and 9 vertex and pixel shaders. We ran
both benchmarks at exactly the same settings; 1024x768
resolution and 32-bit color, with all other settings left at their defaults.
The memory bandwidth came into
play with the 3DMark 2001 scores. The
GA-8S648FX came in last, with 11895 points, a full 10%
behind the leader, the Abit IS7-G. 3DMark03 was a
bit more forgiving, since the scores have less to do with
system performance, and are more closely tied to the video
card being used. There was a slight drop off in
scores from board to board, in the same order as the
previous test. The difference this time was only
Comanche 4 Demo and Quake 3 Arena
Let's get a look at some frame rates
mumbo-jumbo about synthetic numbers, lets see some real
games in action. We took two
games that have built-in testing modes, which will show us
the average frame rate during gameplay. Comanche 4
is a DirectX benchmark that is highly CPU and Memory
bandwidth dependent. For testing purposes, we ran
the Demo version at 800x600x32, but disabled the audio.
Quake 3 Arena is everyone's favorite OpenGL benchmark,
used in reviews seemingly since the dawn of time.
Although a bit dated, it still can be used to give
reliable comparisons of system performance. Since
the frame rates can get quite high, we maxed out the
graphical settings, and ran "demo four" at a resolution of
1024x768 with 32-bit color and textures.
The Comanche 4 and Quake 3 benchmarks
gobble up the memory bandwidth that the Springdale boards provide,
and help them run right past the SiS648FX. The
Comanche 4 scores might not seem as big of a deal when you
only see a difference of 6 frames from top to bottom.
These six frames actually equate to a difference in
performance of almost 13%. This difference can be
seen better in Quake 3 Arena where the Abit IS7-G outpaces
the Gigabyte GA-8S648FX by almost 40 frames per second.
First impressions aside, it
was hard for us to find too much to root for with
Gigabyte's SiS648FX-based motherboard. Missing
features, mediocre performance, and the lack of any
overclocking ability really put it at a disadvantage,
especially for power-hungry PC enthusiasts. On the
other hand, if one was looking for a stable, but cheap
solution that doesn't require finding twin-sets of DDR
RAM, then the GA-8S648FX may be a perfect match. At
a price point as low as $87, it's not a bad choice when
looking to upgrade to 800MHz front side bus Pentium 4
CPUs. Our general feeling is that it may be better
to wait for a 655FX based solution, which will combine the
800MHz FSB with Dual DDR. As for the Gigabyte
GA-8S648FX, we are going to give it a
on the HotHardware Heat Meter.