VIA P4PB Ultra Motherboard Review

The VIA P4PB Ultra Motherboard Review - Page 4


The VIA P4PB Ultra Motherboard Review
Intent on Total System Performance for the P4

By Robert Maloney
March 19th, 2003


Gaming Benchmarks
Have you heard of a little test we like to call Quake3?

ID's Quake 3 Arena:

When it comes to benchmarking, no other test is as well used and well known as the TIMEDEMO routine in Quake 3 Arena.  Although the scores have become more and more inflated, we still use this benchmark since it produces reliable results, and can give good comparisons between like systems and components.  We ran two sets of scores, one a "low quality" setup where the game was set to use a resolution of 640x480 using 16-bit color and then again at so-called "high quality", which was 1024x768x32, a common setup for many current gamers.

While these numbers are indeed inflated with frame rates in the 300's, we can still notice a breakdown in the overall experience.  The VIA P4PB and the MSI 845PE boards are evenly matched, both trailing the apparent king, the Gigabyte 8PE667.  Raising the memory speed on the VIA board, lowers the frame rate by just over 15 frames per second.  While this would truly be almost unnoticeable at these speeds, it still makes a point as to the lost performance when using DDR400.  Overclocking boosted the frame-rates by a clean 30fps.

The "High Quality" benchmarks followed suit, with the two lower scores having a difference of only 0.2 frames while trailing the leader by more than 10.  The DDR400 score dropped off the DDR333 score by 12 frames, equating to a 4 percent decrease.  Overclocked, the VIA board pumped out an additional 20 frames per second, although this amounted to only 11 frames more than the Gigabyte board did, which was at stock speed for the FSB.

Novalogic's Comanche 4 Demo:

A popular DirectX benchmarking program is NovaLogic's Comanche 4.  Since this benchmark is more CPU dependant than other games, the scores seem lower than what one usually expects from this benchmark  However, we can get a good feel for the overall system performance by comparing the results.

The scores at stock speeds using DDR333 memory, were all within one frame of each other, and ended up Gigabyte, VIA, and MSI, in that order.  Obviously, 1 frame isn't much to dwell on, and all three boards would definitely be worthwhile for gaming.  The now familiar drop-off when using DDR400, cost the VIA P4PB Ultra system 2 frames per second, compared to when using DDR333.  Finally, overclocking to 150MHz FSB, picked up an additional 5 frames per second, an increase of 11%.

Final benchmark routines and the Conclusion

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