Hybrid vs Native Dual X16 SLI: Asus P5N32-E SLI Plus vs Abit IN9 32X-MAX

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Game Testing: Quake 4 & F.E.A.R.

For our first gaming test, we benchmarked the test systems using a custom single-player Quake 4 timedemo, then we set them loose on F.E.A.R. Normally for motherboard reviews, we like to see how the boards run at very low resolutions with all the bells and whistles turned off, to make the game as CPU dependent as possible. However, since these are premium boards and the main attraction is the presence of triple PCI-E support, we decided to use more realistic settings.

Performance Comparisons with Quake 4
Details: http://www.quake4game.com/

Quake 4
id Software, in conjunction with developer Raven, recently released the latest addition to the wildly popular Quake franchise, Quake 4. Quake 4 is based upon an updated and slightly modified version of the Doom 3 engine, and as such performance characteristics between the two titles are very similar.  Like Doom 3, Quake 4 is also an OpenGL game that uses extremely high-detailed textures and a ton of dynamic lighting and shadows, but unlike Doom3, Quake 4 features some outdoor environments as well. We ran this these Quake 4 benchmarks using a custom demo with the game set to its "High-Quality" mode, at resolutions of 1,280 x 1,024 and 1,600 x 1,200 with 4X AA and 8X aniso enabled simultaneously.

 

While the Intel P965 based DQ6 put up a good effort, it was solidly beat by both NVIDIA based boards. The ASUS board once again edges out the Abit board. The Radeon X1950 XT used in our gaming test systems manages healthy frames rate at both resolutions.

Performance Comparisons with F.E.A.R
More Info: http://www.whatisfear.com/us/

F.E.A.R
One of the most highly anticipated titles of 2005 was Monolith's paranormal thriller F.E.A.R. Taking a look at the minimum system requirements, we see that you will need at least a 1.7GHz Pentium 4 with 512MB of system memory and a 64MB graphics card, that is a Radeon 9000 or GeForce4 Ti-class or better, to adequately run the game. Using the full retail release of the game patched to v1.08, we put the graphics cards in this review through their paces to see how they fared with a popular title. Here, all graphics settings within the game were set to the maximum values, but with soft shadows disabled (Soft shadows and anti-aliasing do not work together currently). Benchmark runs were then completed at resolutions of 1280x960 and 1600x1200, with anti-aliasing and anisotropic filtering enabled.

 

The two NVIDIA based boards tie in first place at both resolutions in or F.E.A.R. test. Once again the DQ6 is left behind. Now that we've seen most of the benchmarks, we can conclude that while the two much more expensive NVIDIA based boards don't necessarily rule the roost when it comes to productivity software, they do seem to have a knack for games. However, we have yet to explore the real reason why someone would want to buy a nForce 680i solution, dual x16 SLI.

Tags:  Asus, ATI, sli, Hybrid, dual, x1, Abit, x16, NAT, N9, Ive, ativ, id, N3

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