NF4 Ultra Shoot-Out: Abit vs. MSI vs. ECS
UT 2004 & Doom 3
To start our in-game testing, we did some low-resolution benchmarking with Epic's Unreal Tournament 2004. When testing with UT 2004, we use a specific set of game engine initialization parameters that ensure all of the systems are being benchmarked with the exact same in-game settings and graphical options. Like the other in-game tests in this review, we used a "Low-Quality" setting with UT2004 that isolates CPU and memory performance.
Our custom Unreal Tournament 2004 benchmark had the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 slightly ahead of the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum, by roughly 2 frames per second. And the ECS KN1 Extreme finished the test about 5 frames per second behind the MSI board. Not a monumental victory by any mean, but another victory for the AN8 regardless.
For our next game test, we benchmarked all of the test systems using a custom multi-player Doom 3 timedemo. We cranked the resolution down to 640 x 480, and configured the game to run at its "Low-Quality" graphics setting. Although Doom 3 typically taxes today's high-end GPUs, when it's configured at these minimal settings it's more CPU / Memory-bound than anything else...
The results reported by our custom Doom 3 benchmark were in stark contrast to the Unreal Tournament 2004 results. This time around, the Abit Fatal1ty AN8 fell behind the competing nForce 4 Ultras by a few frames per second. The MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum posted the highest score of the board's we're focusing on here at 159.8 FPS, followed very closely behind by the ECS KN1 Extreme at 158.7 FPS.