NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400Gb

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AQ3, Halo, UT2003 and the Conclusion

We'll wrap up this review with a round of benchmarks from Unreal Tournament 2003, Halo, and Aquamark3.  These tests run the gamut of the gaming engines in both DirectX and OpenGL.

Benchmarks With Unreal Tournament 2003
DX8 Performance

Unreal Tournament 2003
Epic's Unreal Tournament series has consistently been one of the most popular first person shooters, and by no coincidence is it also one of the most commonly used benchmarks. We continued our benchmarking with a completely patched, retail version of Unreal Tournament 2003. When benchmarking with UT2003, we use a utility that ensures all of the systems are being tested with the exact same in-game settings and "Low-Quality" graphical options. We ran the UT2003 benchmarks at a resolution of 640x480 without anti-aliasing.

This test consists of running a "Fly-By" on the "Citadel" level of Unreal Tournament 2003.  The latest version of the nForce2 Ultra 400 chipset manages a slight lead here, but again, these scores are all within the margin of error for the particular test.

 

Benchmarks With Halo
Halo - All Patched & Ready To Go!

Halo
For many gamers, the release of Halo marked the end of a long wait, since it was originally released as an Xbox exclusive a few years back. No additional patches or tweaks are needed to benchmark with Halo, as Gearbox has included all of the necessary information in their README file. The Halo benchmark runs through four of the cut-scenes from the game, after which the average frame rate is recorded. We updated the game using the latest v1.04 patch and ran this benchmark at 640x480.

We are seeing similar results here with the Ultra 400Gb motherboard taking a slight lead over its older brethren.  One final test to go.

 

Performance Comparisons With Aquamark 3
DX8 and DX9 Shaders

Aquamark 3
Aquamark 3 comes to us by way of Massive Development. Massive's release of the original Aquanox in 1999 wasn't very well received by the gaming community, but it was one of the first games to implement DX8 class shaders, which led to the creation of Aquamark 2 - a benchmark previously used by many analysts. We ran this benchmark at a resolution of 640x480 with no anti-aliasing.

The "old man" (Ultra 400) manages to outpace is younger sibling (Ultra 400Gb) in the Aquamark3 test.  After seeing these scores, however, it's safe to say that these motherboards perform at virtually the same level.

NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400Gb Analysis:
There is no doubt about it that if you're still in the AMD Athlon XP market, the nForce2 Ultra 400Gb chipset is the foundation with which to build a system.  In terms of stability, speed, and connectivity this chipset is a well rounded solution.  A dedicated Gigabit Ethernet connection and RAID support are major pluses, as is the built-in friewall.  The additonal software support package for this chipset really classifies this particular motherboard as an "all-around" product. The System Utility and new unified drivers offer a lot in usefulness, security, and most importantly value.  We are definitely eager to see which motherboard vendors put this chipset to good use and the manner in which they do it.  Until then, we feel NVIDIA has another winner on its hands and this will only solidify its hold of their already tight grasp of the AMD Athlon XP market.

  • Dedicated Gigabit LAN
  • SATA / PATA RAID Support
  • Dual DDR400 support
  • USB 2.0 support
  • System Utility
  • Web interface with Firewall
  • Very stable with good performance
  • Performance right on par with previous generation chipset

 

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Tags:  Nvidia, nforce, Ultra, force, GB, ULT, id

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