Socket 939 Motherboard Roundup: ABIT, MSI, Gigabyte
Windows Media Encoder 9 & 3DMark03
We continued our testing with another application from Futuremark, 3DMark03, and with a video encoding benchmark, Windows Media Encoder 9. In the WME9 test, we took a 416MB Digital Video file and encoded to WMV9 format. Times were recorded in minutes:seconds, with lower times indicating better performance.
Gigabyte's K8NSNXP-939 and MSI's K8N Neo2 Platinum, the two nForce3-powered boards in this roundup, tied for first place in the Windows Media Encoder 9 benchmark with a time of two minutes and 37 seconds. The ABIT AV8 followed closely behind, with the K8T Neo2-FIR right on its heels. With only two seconds separating the Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939 and MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum from the K8T Neo2-FIR, however, it's impossible to say any one board was truly faster than another. 2 seconds equates to only a 1.2% difference.
It's not an actual game, but 3DMark03'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 processor. The number of frames generated per second in each test are used to determine the final score.
The ABIT AV8 took top honors in 3DMark03's CPU benchmark with the only score over 860 points, followed by the MSI K8T Neo2-FIR, the K8N, and the Gigabyte K8NSNXP-939. There's only a 1.8% performance delta separating the AV8 from the K8NSNXP-939, however. Which, as you can probably guess, falls within the margin of error in this benchmark.