System Setup

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The test system for this comparison was vital to the integrity of the results. Though I had one of each processor, they were at different default clock speeds, which isn’t fair to do testing. In order to test these processors on equal level, I need to overclock one or both (I ended up doing both). I needed a motherboard that would allow me to change the multiplier of these CPUs to overclock them. Simply changing the system bus would make it harder to bring the processors to exact clock speeds but would also add the factor of stability into the picture during tests. Since I didn’t want any outside factors affecting the tests, I chose the Asus A7V motherboard. The Asus motherboard had the dipswitches necessary for overclocking the processors via the multiplier and allowed editing the voltage setting as I saw fit to make sure the CPUs stayed stable.

Some may ask me, ‘why not choose the Abit KT7?’ The answer is this: I hadn’t received my Abit motherboard until during the middle of testing for this article. Changing the motherboard in the middle of benchmarking wouldn’t be right, and redoing all the benchmarks over with a new motherboard would have taken more time than I wanted to spin. Also, I have thoroughly tested the Asus A7V motherboard that we had here in the lab, and I knew it was extremely stable and safe, where as the KT7 had just gone through initial testing.

As stated earlier, I am using a Duron 700 MHz processor and a Thunderbird 800 MHz processors, supplied by Monarch Computer Systems. These CPUs have been used in various motherboard tests and benchmarks, and I knew them to be 100% stable and compatible with the other hardware and software in the testing.

As for Duron vs. Thunderbird - Processors 14the other components I used, of note is the video card and memory. I used the Hercules 3D Prophet II 64MB video card, which is a GeForce 2 GTS board. This is probably best video card available on the market today for gaming and the likes. Also, the memory I used was the new PC150 RAM from Mushkin. While I am aware that even PC133 memory was more than competent for the job of testing on the 100 MHz bus of the Thunderbird and Duron processors, the RAM was supplied to me, so I just popped it in there. PC150 RAM is great for people who wish to overclock the front-side bus of their processor, but keep the 4:3 ratio of system bus to memory bus.

Here is the rest of the system specs used in testing:

  • Asus A7V Motherboard v1.2 w/ Multiplier switches
  • AMD Duron 700 @ 900 MHz / Thunderbird 800 @ 900 MHz Processors
  • Hercules 3D Prophet II GeForce 2 GTS 64MB
  • 1 x 128MB PC150 Mushkin
  • CoolerMaster heatsink/fan
  • 20.5 GB Western Digital 7200 RPM HDD
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