Next, we ran
some low-resolution tests with Novalogic's Combat Helicopter
simulation, Comanche 4 and with the venerable Quake 3 Arena.
We often use these tests in our reviews of 3D Graphics
cards, but they are actually well suited as processor /
bandwidth benchmarks as well. Frame rates generally
scale upwards with increased processor, FSB and memory clock
Novalogic Comanche 4 and Quake 3 Arena Timedemos
and OpenGL Gaming Performance
All three of
the boards we tested performed at virtually the same level
in Comanche 4. There was only a 1% spread between
first and third place. In the Quake 3 (v1.17)
benchmark, the 875P Neo-FIS2R managed to nudge ahead of
the Pro875 and 9CJS, but again the performance deltas were
diminutive, with a 3.4% difference separating the MSI and
Video Encoding with Xmpeg & DivX
Let's Make a Movie...
Lastly, we did
some video encoding with all three of our test systems.
To get these scores, we took a 19MB, standard MPEG 2
format video clip of a classic TV show and converted it to
DivX format using v5.02 of the CODEC. The results
are reported in Frames Per Second, higher numbers equal
Once again we
have a virtual "dead heat", with all three boards falling
within the margin of error for this test. So, what
do all these benchmarks tell us? Well not much,
except that for a relatively new product, the "Canterwood"
chipset is already fairly mature from a performance
perspective. Performance differences between the
three boards we looked at here were essentially
non-existent. We suspect that with future BIOS
revisions and driver updates, performance levels will
continue to level off. It seems that determining
which i875P board is right for you will come down to
availability, price, bundle and support...
MSI 875P Neo-FIS2R
- MSI has done
a great job with the 875P Neo-FIS2R. This board has
a very complete feature set, a good bundle, top-notch
performance and at $180 US, it was the least expensive
product in this round-up. We should also note that
throughout our entire testing process, we did not have any
stability issues, until we overclocked the system well
beyond spec. Had MSI included parallel ATA RAID and
perhaps one more differentiating feature, like a remote or
card reader, the 875P Neo-FIS2R may have been our top
pick. The "CoreCell" technology was interesting, but
we're not keen on having to run yet another application in
the background on our Windows systems to access its
features. Overall though, the MSI 875P-Neo FIS2R is
a great product. Based on its excellent price and
performance, we're giving the 875P Neo-FIS2R a HotHardware
Heat Meter Rating of 8.5.
DFI LANPARTY Pro875
- We were very
pleased with the DFI "LANPARTY" Pro875. We have
worked with quite a few DFI motherboards in the past, and
were generally very happy with their performance and
reliability. It was their feature sets that left
something to be desired. Frankly DFI boards
historically have always been a bit bland. With the
new "LANPARTY" line of products, however, DFI has gone
"all out" and packed a ton of high end features on-board
and included some valuable accessories. About the
only things we would have liked to have seen were a
quality active cooler on the Northbridge and perhaps a
card reader in place of the FrontX Multimedia ports.
The FrontX ports may be useful to some, but most new cases
already have front mounted audio and USB ports. The
Pro875 proved to be a very capable overclocker, it too was
very stable and it is priced competitively at $188 US.
All in all, DFI has made great strides with the "LANPARTY"
Pro875. Based on its price, complete feature set and
overclockability we're giving the DFI "LANPARTY" Pro875 a
HotHardware Heat Meter rating of
declare we'll it the technical winner of this shoot-out!
the Chaintech 9CJS is a good product, but we feel that
hardcore enthusiasts may be better served by either
of the other two boards we looked at today. The 875P
Neo-FIS2R was "technically" the fastest and the LANPARTY
Pro875 was the best overclocker. The MSI and DFI
boards were also significantly less expensive than the
9CJS, which is presently selling for $269 US at a few
on-line retailers. We don't want to cast the
Chaintech 9CJS in a negative light, however. This
board shipped with one of the best accessory bundles we
have seen to date. The "Handigator" and "C-Box3"
add-ons bring significant value to the 9CJS in our
opinion. We also think the on-board VIA Envy24 audio
controller is fantastic. The Envy24's output rivals
that of any add-in sound card currently available.
Consider the excellent bundle, top-notch audio and the
fact that this was the only board to offer dual-LAN, a
card reader and a remote control, and you can easily
justify the $90 price premium. If the 9CJS had
Parallel ATA RAID and if our overclocking results were a
bit better, we would have rated this board higher.
As it stands now though, we're also giving the Chaintech
9CJS an 8.5
on the Heat Meter.