i875 Motherboard RoundUp MSI, DFI & Chaintech

i875 Motherboard RoundUp MSI, DFI & Chaintech - Page 6

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

By, Marco Chiappetta
June 18, 2003


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 speeds.

Novalogic Comanche 4 and Quake 3 Arena Timedemos
DX8 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 DFI boards.

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 better performance.

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 9 and declare we'll it the technical winner of this shoot-out!


CHAINTECH 9CJS - Ultimately, 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.



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