With all of the issues regarding
driver optimizations and 3DMark03, we've come to distrust
the results when comparing video card performance.
Nonetheless, when doing a motherboard review, we find it to
be a useful test when we isolate benchmarking to the CPU test module.
When compared to the
VIA based system, the Soyo aced this test nicely with a 32
point lead over the MSI board, equating to roughly
4%. When we increased the clock generator to 216MHz, we
added an additional 6%, totaling 52 points.
UT2003 & Comanche 4
We also tested
the two motherboards with a couple of games. In this
case we ran two popular tests, Comanche 4 and UT 2003.
With Comanche 4, an extremely CPU limited application, we
ran the default test with "No Audio" selected. With UT
2003 we set the application to 640x480x16 to take the video
card out of the performance picture, focusing on CPU and
Comanche4 returned very similar
results with both systems since its performance is tightly
linked to the CPU. The Soyo SY-CK8 held the faster
performance overall, most likely due to its slightly more
aggressive CPU timings. When we overclocked the
processor to 2.21GHz we managed to add a bit more than 5
FPS, a boost of over 7%. When we shift our focus to
UT2003, the Soyo SY-CK8 bested the MSI K8T Neo by 7.92FPS
while tacking on an additional 12.96FPS when overclocked.
Content Creation 2004 and Business Winstone 2004
World Application Testing
With our last
round of tests we ran both Content Creation Winstone 2004
and Business Winstone 2004. Each application
gauges a system's overall performance with workstation and
multimedia applications. Content Creation 2004 tests
multimedia intensive applications, while Business Winstone 2004 compares performance with common workstation
applications. Below is a list of the programs each
test uses to calculate its final score.
Macromedia® Director MX 9.0
Macromedia® Dreamweaver MX 6.1
Microsoft® Windows Media?
9 Version 9.00.00.2980
LightWave® 3D 7.5b
Steinberg? WaveLab? 4.0f
Creation Winstone 2004 the Soyo SY-CK8 Dragon Plus
maintained an edge over the K8T800 comparison system,
albeit slim. We did find a slightly wider gain with
Business Winstone 2004, with the Soyo Dragon topping the MSI
Neo-FISR2 by 1.6 points.
generally happy with this motherboard's overall performance,
acing every test compared to the VIA K8T800 comparison
board. The onboard features and excellent performance
make it a viable option for users looking for an affordable Athlon 64 motherboard. Component wise, our only real
complaint was the lack of Gigabit Ethernet, otherwise, this
motherboard has everything you need to build a robust
performance machine on a budget. What is also a plus
is that when newer OSs and programs start appearing this
year for 64-Bit computing, this motherboard will be able to
settle right in and grow with the technology. However,
there is one caveat if this is what you are planning.
In the not too
distant future, AMD is going to shift production of their
processors so that they are all based on a 939 pin
configuration. This means in the future it will be
difficult to upgrade your current 754 PIN processor because
there simply will not be any. It is also worth
pointing out that PCI-X is coming soon and early indications are that the added
performance should be well worth the
So, in closing,
if you are looking to upgrade to the Athlon 64 and want to
keep it as affordable as possible, picking up the Soyo
SY-CK8 Dragon Plus would be a good choice. For around
performance and onboard components are quite good and
expandability is excellent. However, if you think
there is a chance that you may want to upgrade the processor
in the next year, it may be worth holding off until Soyo offers up a model with
support for the newer 939 pin array as well as PCI-X, then you'll be
We give the Soyo SY-CK8 Dragon Plus a Hothardware Heat Meter Rating of a
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