nForce 4 SLI Motherboard Round-Up
3DMark05: CPU & UT2004
It may not be an actual game, but 3DMark05's built-in CPU test is a "gaming related" DirectX metric that's useful for comparing relative performance among similarly equipped systems. This test consists of two different 3D scenes that are generated with a software renderer, which is dependant on the host CPU's performance. This means that the calculations normally reserved for your 3D accelerator are instead sent to the central host processor. The number of frames generated per second in each test are used to determine the final score.
3DMark05's CPU test favors the higher clock speed and HyperThreading capabilities of the Pentium 4, but you're all reading this to see which SLI motherboard was the fastest, so lets focus on the performance on the NF4 SLI powered boards, shall we? When we do that, we find that DFI's LANParty NF4 SLI-DR scored another victory here, with the Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI and MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI trailing behind by 83 and 117 points, respectively.
To start our actual 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 you'll see later, we used a "Low-Quality" setting with UT2004 that isolated CPU and memory performance.
Score yet another victory for the DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR. In our custom Unreal Tournament 2004 benchmark, the DFI board outpaced the Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI by about 6 frames per second, and it beat the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI by almost 11 frames per second. With low-res frame rates this high, the DFI board's margins of victory aren't huge, but it was the "fastest" of the bunch nonetheless.