System Setup and Benchmarks

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During the initial stages of this testing, I was trying to test all of the boards to find the bottleneck in the Quake III benchmarks I was finding. My first inclination was to test the 8x AGP vs. 4x AGP. However, because the AGP 3.0 spec (that 8x AGP follows) doesn’t allow 8x AGP compatible cards to work in anything buy 8x AGP, I had to test the same configuration with two different video cards: in this case the Radeon 9700 Pro to test 8x AGP and the MSI Ti 4400 to test 4x AGP.

I also wanted to test to see how each chipset was able to take advantage of the additional bus speeds that the new Athlon XP 2700+ and 2800+ processors were able to supply. (Click here for the full Athlon XP 2700+ review) So, I tested each of the setups mentioned above (8x and 4x AGP) with both a 266 MHz FSB 2600+ and a 333 MHz FSB 2700+ processor, which both almost run at the same frequency.

All the drivers we used were the latest available as of 10/27/02. This includes the 2.3 Catalyst ATI drivers, 4.43 VIA 4in1 drivers, etc.

Here are the system setups and the benchmarks we used during this article:

AMD Test System Setup
CPU 1 x 2.17 GHz AMD Athlon XP 2700+ Processor
1 x 2.13 GHz AMD Athlon XP 2600+ Processor
Motherboard Retail nForce2 Motherboard
Retail KT400 Motherboard
Memory 2 x 256MB Corsair Micro XMS3200 DDR DRAM
Hard Drive 80 GB 7200 RPM IBM EIDE
Video Card ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
MSI GeForce 4 Ti 4400
Video Drivers Catalyst 2.3
Detonator 30.27
Operating System Windows XP w/ Service Pack 1

Benchmarks Used:

Quake III: Arena
Unreal Tournament 2K3
3D Mark 2001: SE
SPECviewperf 7.0

As you can see, we used a very abbreviated list of our usual benchmarks. This was just so that I could concentrate on the issues on the chipsets that I was trying to investigate. So, this is why the article became a “gaming comparison.”

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