VIA PT880 Chipset Preview

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VIA PT880 Chipset Preview
A Performance Preview of VIA's Dual-Channel P4 Chipset

By: Chris Angelini
December 8, 2003

PC Mark 2002
Synthetic CPU and Memory Bandwidth Testing

The difference between this processor benchmark and the Sandra 2004 tests is roughly the same.  Three percentage points separate VIA's brand new PT880 from Intel's high-end 875P.  Meanwhile, the more mainstream 865PE trails 875P just slightly, demonstrating the value to be had in buying hardware one notch below the flagship level. 

Memory Test Technical details: (Quote Taken From Futuremark)

Raw read, write, and read-modify-write operations are performed starting from a 3072 kilobytes array decreasing in size to 1536 KB, 384 KB, 48 KB and finally 6 KB. Each size of block is tested two second and the amount of accessed data is given as result. In the STL container test a list of 116 byte elements is constructed and sorted by an integer pseudo-random key. The list is then iterated through as many times as possible for 2 seconds and the total size of the accessed elements is given as result. There are 6 runs of this test, with 24576 items in the largest run corresponding to a total data amount of 1536 KB, decreasing in size to 12288 items (768 KB), 6144 items (384 KB), 1536 items (96 KB), 768 items (48 KB) and 96 items in the smallest run corresponding to 6 KB of total data.


 
Contrary to our Sandra 2004 results, PC Mark 2002 favors the875P by about a single percentage point.  VIA's PT800, with its dual-channel memory architecture, takes a close second place.  The 865PE chipset places third by a small margin.  It'd appear that the modifications VIA made to its memory controller (other than the extra 64-bit channel of memory) are paying off as PT880 readily contends with the PAT-enabled 875P.
 
Business & Content Creation Winstones
Simulated Application Performance

The processor and memory metrics we've just run are relatively worthless without some sort of tangible result behind them.  A combination of PC Magazine's Content Creation 2003 and Business Winstone 2002 benchmark suites gives us a score that adds meaning to purely synthetic memory bandwidth and processing tests.

Business Winstone Applications:
  • Five Microsoft Office 2002 applications
    (Access, Excel, FrontPage, PowerPoint, and Word)

  • Microsoft Project 2000

  • Lotus Notes

  • WinZip 8.0

  • Norton Antivirus

  • Netscape Communicator

Content Creation Winstone Applications:
  • Adobe Photoshop 6.0.1

  • Adobe Premiere 6.0

  • Macromedia Director 8.5

  • Macromedia Dreamweaver UltraDev 4

  • Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.01.00.3055

  • Netscape Navigator 6/6.01

  • Sonic Foundry Sound Forge 5.0c (build 184)

 
 
 
 
More so than any of the tests run thus far, both Winstone benchmarks give a pseudo real-world indication of performance with some of the more popular content creation and office productivity applications.  Keep in mind that a few of those programs are very dependant on user input and won't really benefit from a platform that scores within a percent or two of its competition.  Others, however, are very sensitive to computing power and memory bandwidth. Sensitivity or not, it's pretty remarkable to see a motherboard that VIA anticipates will cost around $80 outperforming Intel's best chipset that commands nearly twice the price for comparable features.  Similarly interesting is the miniscule performance delta between the 875P and 865PE boards, which are nearly equivalent on both benchmarks.

Gaming and 3DMark Benchmarks  


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