i845PE Motherboard Shootout

i845PE Motherboard Shootout - Page 5

The I845PE Motherboard Shootout
Clash of the Titans!

By Robert Maloney
December 11,  2002


Performance Comparisons with 3DMark 2001SE
Synthetic Gaming

It should come as no shock that we are big gamers around here, and were interested in seeing the 3D performance, both in synthetic tests, and in real-world scenarios.  For the first round of tests, we chose MadOnion's 3DMark 2001 SE.  It generates a score after rendering scenes and measuring performance using the MaxFX game engine, found in Remedy's popular game Max Payne.  We ran two series of tests, one at 800x600 with 32-bit color and again at 1024x768x32, both times with all other program settings left at their defaults.

These were some great scores; obviously pairing an i845PE board with a GeForce 4 card is going to equate to some great gaming experiences.  The Gigabyte 8PE667 put up the top scores, breaking 14,000 at stock speed, and 16,000 when overclocked.  The Abit BE7 followed next, roughly 300 points behind, or about 3%.  Bringing up the rear was the MSI 845PE Max2, 550 points behind the Gigabyte board, which equated to just over a 4% difference.

The differences we saw at 1024x768 were much less than what we saw at 800x600, at least at default FSB frequencies.  All three boards came within 160 points of each other.  The Gigabyte board put up the top numbers again.  Overclocking the three boards seemed to have the effect of doubling the differences between the scores.

Performance Comparisons with Comanche 4 Demo
Some hardcore gaming for you grunts

Another popular DirectX benchmarking program is Novalogic's Comanche 4 Demo.  Since this benchmark is more CPU dependant than other games, we can get a good feel for the overall system performance by comparing the benchmarked results.

The differences here were slight, and would not even be noticed during normal game play.  What we saw here was only a 1 frame per second difference between the lowest score (MSI) and the highest score (Gigabyte) at normal speed, and 3 FPS after overclocking the boards.  The benefits of reaching a relatively high overclock are shown here, as we got an increase around 15-20% in performance.

Performance Comparisons with Quake 3 Arena v1.17
Low-Res Fraggin'

Next, we used Quake 3's built in Timedemo with the display settings set to their minimums at a screen resolution of 640x480x16 for the Low Quality graphs and then chose 1024x768 with 32-bit color for the High Quality tests.  By using these minimal settings, the impact the video card has on the performance of the game is reduced.  With the display settings calibrated in this manner, the ability of the game to tax the video card is virtually eliminated, allowing the benchmark to focus almost solely on CPU and memory performance.

At the lowest settings, the MSI board pumped out close to 320 frames per second.  The Abit board came in second with almost 325FPS, 5 frames more than the MSI.  The Gigabyte board came out on top at 332FPS.  At 168MHz, the Gigabyte 8PE667 board produced the highest score we had seen to date for Quake 3, just missing 400 frames per second! 


The scores were closer between the Abit and Gigabyte board in this round of testing, but the MSI board got left behind.  Overclocking the boards resulted in a 10% increase in gaming performance across the board (no pun intended).

Time for the Stones!

Related content