MSI P6N Diamond - NV680i with X-Fi Audio

Testing Setup & SANDRA Benchmarks


How we configured our test systems: When configuring our test systems for the following set of benchmarks, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High-Performance Defaults." Next, we saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS a second time, and manually set memory timings for DDR2-800 at 4-4-4-12 1T latency.  The hard drives were then formatted, and Windows XP Professional SP2 was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we installed the drivers necessary for our components, and removed Windows Messenger from the system. Auto-Updating and System Restore were then disabled, and we set up a 768MB permanent page file on the same partition as the Windows installation. Lastly, we installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

HotHardware's Test System
Intel Inside

Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 (1.86 GHz)

MSI P6N Diamond (NVIDIA 680i Chipset)
(Intel P965 Chipset)
MSI P965 Platinum  (Intel P965 Chipset)

2 x 512MB Corsair PC2-6400
CL 4-4-4-12-1T - DDR2-800

MSI GeForce 7900 GT

On-Board X-Fi Xtreme Audio
Creative Labs X-Fi Fatal1ty Audio Card

2 x 250GB Western Digital SE16
7,200 RPM SATA 3.0 GB/s in RAID 0

Windows XP Pro SP2
Intel INF
Intel Matrix Storage Manager 6.2.1
DirectX 9.0c
NVIDIA nForce 9.53
NVIDIA Forceware 163.71


P6N Diamond
MSI P6N Diamond

Preliminary Testing with SiSoft SANDRA XII
Synthetic Benchmarks

We began our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran three of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the latest SANDRA suite (CPU, Multimedia, and Memory) with the MSI P6N Diamond, using our Core 2 Duo E6300 processor and 1GB of DDR2-800 DDR2 set at 4-4-4-12 timings. All of the scores reported below were taken with the processor running at its default clock speed of 1.86 GHz.

MSI P6N Diamond
CPU Module

MSI P6N Diamond

Multi-Media Module

MSI P6N Diamond
Memory Module

The latest version of SiSoft's synthetic suite, SANDRA XII, had a completely overhauled database of components to choose from.  We selected a grouping of hardware for each module that we wanted to compare against.  As you can see from the screen captures, the methodology has changed somewhat in the graphing of the scores; dots are used to place the currently being tested component and the four samples.  For easier comparisons, the red dot signifies the MSI P6N Diamond's performance, and the blue dot is a similarly capable CPU or pair of DIMMs.  We used purple for older or weaker components and orange for more advanced. 

When it came to CPU performance (CPU and Multi-media modules), the P6N Diamond scored just a bit higher than the 1.83 GHz Core 2 Duo used for comparison, which is exactly as expected.  Memory performance, on the other hand, suffered somewhat.  The bandwidth results were the lowest of all the chipset/memory combos chosen for this test, even scoring lower that the NV650i. 

Tags:  MSI, Audi, Audio, X-Fi, MS, diamond, 680, AM

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