Performance Comparisons with Unreal
Direct X Gaming Performance
We feel this next round of
testing is really where the rubber meets the road.
Unreal Tournament 2003 is definitely a CPU resource hog.
However, it is also a system bandwidth and memory
bandwidth hog, with it's large detailed textures
transferring across the AGP bus from system to local
memory. We did however, try to minimize the amount
of effort the Radeon 9700 Pro had to put forth in this
test, with a low quality 640X480 resolution benchmark run.
Will Dual Channel DDR and AGP8X be enough to push past the
i850E PC1066 setup? We think so but check the
In both the
Bot Match and Fly By runs, the MSI GNB Max-FISR pulled
ahead of the i850E PC1066 system by about 3%.
Perhaps this isn't a huge increase in performance but it
did scale in both types of testing here and was consistent
and repeatable. Is the average user going to notice
a few extra frames per second? Absolutely not but a
performance lead is a lead regardless and the AGP8X, Dual Channel DDR MSI GNB Max-FISR, shows it's got one up on
it's siblings. Now, think about what this chipset
could do with DDR333 behind the wheel or even DDR400.
We hope to prove this out with a new BIOS from MSI or as
other Granite Bay boards come into the HH Lab.
We were thoroughly
impressed with the overall performance of the GNB Max-FISR
from MSI. This board took the lead from our
i850E/PC1066 test bed in almost every test, with the
exception of Quake 3. Remember, this is a new
chipset from Intel, so as it matures we should see
incremental performance enhancements and more OEMs
like MSI delivering various flavors and incarnations
of the product. The feature set and pack in kit
of this board, are second to none and we love to see
SATA RAID and Gigabit Ethernet on board. If only
SATA Hard Drives would ship to the retail channel.
On the downside, this board is fighting with one hand
tied behind its back, with it's lack luster BIOS and
no real overclocking features beyond FSB adjustments.
Once again, we want to urge MSI to do the right thing
and release a BIOS update, that turns this board into
the tweaked out power-house it wants to be.
All told, Intel's new
Granite Bay chipset shows enormous promise with DDR
DRAM driven performance that will put another nail in
RDRAM's coffin. If you are in the market to pick
up a Pentium 4 board, there is really no reason to
look at the i850E chipset any longer, even though a
few months ago we would have advised you otherwise.
Intel's E7205 with Dual Channel DDR266 memory,
although it will be a tad more expensive than the
i845PE, is a better value on the price/performance
curve. The MSI GNB Max-FISR is a great board
with aspirations for near perfection, that is only a
BIOS revision away. In it's current state, we'll
give it a HotHardware Heat Meter Rating of...
AGP 8x Support
- Faster than
even i850E with PC1066
- Firewire, USB
2.0 and SATA RAID
- BIOS tweaking
options are minimal
- Lack of
official DDR333 support
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