Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary: There are number of performance comparisons we need to make while summarizing the benchmarks scores from this article. If we compare the two GeForce 9300-based motherboards we tested here to each other, we find that the Asus P5N7A-VM and Zotac GeForce 9300 perform about on par with one another; they trade victories depending on the benchmark, but the deltas are quite small. In comparison to Intel's G45 chipset, the GeForce 9300 generally performs on roughly the same level in productivity applications, with a slight edge going to the G45 where its increased memory bandwidth comes into play. In any GPU intensive situation, however, the GeForce 9300 is simply on a different level than the G45. In the game tests, for example, the GeForce 9300 was up to 4.4X faster than the G45.
NVIDIA has a solid offering on their hands with the new GeForce 9300 / 9400. We can definitely see this chipset being popular with the HTPC crowd. If you wanted an Intel-based HTPC built around a current Intel CPU, up until now, that usually meant settling for an Intel IGP or an older GeForce 7-series mGPU, which couldn't offer the same kind of 3D or video playback performance. Although this is going to sound cliche', with the GeForce 9300 / 9400, HTPC afficionadoes no longer have to make any comprimises. The GeForce 9300 and 9400 represent full-featured, low-powered, core logic chipsets, with competitive application performance and the best integrated graphics processor available for the Intel platform. Video playback performance is great, and the Intel platform finally has an IGP that can play many current games with acceptable framerates. Even if you're not an HTPC afficionado, we suspect many of you can see the value in that type of product, which is probably why these chipsets landed in Apple's brand new Macbook offerings.
There is more to the story than just competitive features and performance, however. In addition to offering more performance than Intel's current IGPs, the GeForce 9300 / 9400 are also more compatible with today's games and offer support for NVIDIA's CUDA and PhysX technologies. Intel's current IGPs suffer from many rendering anomolies with current games titles, if they can be run at all, which has been a major drawback for quite some time. Not only that, as more applications that support CUDA become available, or more games that support PhysX become available, these chipsets will further distance themselves from competing offerings in terms of performance as well. NVIDIA seems to have struck a nice balance with the GeForce 9300 / 9400 and we were pleased by both of the motherboards we tested here. If you're thinking about building a low-cost, low-power Intel-based rig or an HTPC anytime in the near future, do yourself a favor and check out the GeForce 9300 or GeForce 9400.