i875 Motherboard RoundUp MSI, DFI & Chaintech

i875 Motherboard RoundUp MSI, DFI & Chaintech - Page 5

3-Way i875P "Canterwood" Shoot-Out
MSI, DFI & Chaintech Square Off...

By, Marco Chiappetta
June 18, 2003


We continued our testing with Futuremark's PCMark2002 benchmarking suite.  Keep in mind, that like other synthetic benchmarks, it's difficult to translate PCMark2002 scores into "real world" performance.  However, because it is very easy for end users and our readers to run as a reference point, and produces repeatable, comparable results, PCMark2002 has become a staple here in the H.H. labs.

PCMark 2002
Synthetic CPU and Memory Bandwidth Testing

We ran PCMark2002's "CPU" and "Memory" performance modules on all three of the test systems, again with the CPU clocked at its default speed of 3.0GHz (15 x 200MHz).  The CPU module incorporates the following tests:

CPU Tests:

  • JPEG decompression

  • Zlib compression & decompression

  • Text search

  • MP3 Audio Conversion

  • 3D Vector Calculation

PCMark2002's CPU performance module gives an ever so slight edge to the MSI board, with the DFI and Chaintech boards coming in second and third place, respectively.  At less than 1% though, the performance deltas seen here fall well within the "margin of error" for this test.  For all intent and purposes, these scores are identical.

Memory Test Technical details: (Quote Taken From Futuremark)

Raw read, write, and read-modify-write operations are performed starting from a 3072 kilobytes array decreasing in size to 1536 KB, 384 KB, 48 KB and finally 6 KB. Each size of block is tested two second and the amount of accessed data is given as result. In the STL container test a list of 116 byte elements is constructed and sorted by an integer pseudo-random key. The list is then iterated through as many times as possible for 2 seconds and the total size of the accessed elements is given as result. There are 6 runs of this test, with 24576 items in the largest run corresponding to a total data amount of 1536 KB, decreasing in size to 12288 items (768 KB), 6144 items (384 KB), 1536 items (96 KB), 768 items (48 KB) and 96 items in the smallest run corresponding to 6 KB of total data.

We saw larger performance deltas between the three boards using PCMark2002's memory performance module, but they were still small enough to be considered insignificant.  Once again, we see the 875P-Neo FIS2R coming out on top, with the Chaintech and DFI boards falling just behind MSI's offering.  The 189 point difference in performance separating the 875P Neo-FIS2R and the LANPARTY Pro875 equates to just over 2%, which is nothing to get overly excited about.  Let's move on...
Business & Content Creation Winstones
Simulated Application Performance

To test "Real World" application performance, we used eTesting Labs' Business and Content Creation Winstone 2002 benchmarks.  We'll directly quote ZD's eTestingLabs website for an explanation as to how Business Winstone 2002 derives its score. (Content Creation Winstone 2002 uses the same process, but the scripted activities are comprised of different, more bandwidth hungry applications.):

"Business Winstone is a system-level, application-based benchmark that measures a PC's overall performance when running today's top-selling Windows-based 32-bit applications on Windows 98, Windows 2000 (SP2 or later), Windows Me, or Windows XP. Business Winstone doesn't mimic what these packages do; it runs real applications through a series of scripted activities and uses the time a PC takes to complete those activities to produce its performance scores."

Business Winstone Applications:
  • Five Microsoft Office 2002 applications
    (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Content Creation Winstone Applications:
  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

Unfortunately, the performance picture didn't get any clearer after running the Winstone tests.  The MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R continued its winning ways, but again the lead it held over the other boards wasn't large enough to have any real world value.  The Business Winstone benchmark, which is basically CPU and Hard Drive limited, shows a .4 point performance variance between the first and third place boards.  The Content Creation tests were even closer, with a <1% difference separating the three boards.

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