System Setups and Benchmarks

This content was originally featured on Amdmb.com and has been converted to PC Perspective’s website. Some color changes and flaws may appear.

The system setup for the benchmarks was identical to those that you have seen used on the recent motherboard reviews. A production AMD Athlon XP 2700+ processor was used on each board (thus verifying support for the 333 MHz system bus) as well as a Radeon 9700 Pro video card.

I will just come out and say it – I actually ran into a lot of problems when using this setup. Several times the Radeon video card would not post with the motherboard, but simply using a different Radeon 9700 Pro card, the board would perform normally. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to which cards worked on the boards and which did not. Having three of the Radeon 9700s available to me, it was necessary to use all three in the course of the review. While I don’t have any direct proof on the situation, my only suspicion is that there are some slight incompatibilities between the KT400 chipset and the ATI Radeon 9700 Pro video card. They don’t seem to be too severe, though, as our reviews were able to be completed with some minor fidgeting.

Initially, I also had a lot of problems getting the motherboards to POST correctly with the new 333 MHz system bus. It seems that a lot of the manufacturers were caught with their pants down (so to speak) on the matter and were fairly sluggish on getting the appropriate changes made. Only three of the seven boards I tested came pre-flashed with a bios with a 2700+ option. I guess the fact that the 2700+/2800+ Athlons were slow to market, allowed the manufacturer engineers a bit more time than they were used to.

During the testing, I also received several bios’ from most manufacturers that were meant to increase the performance of the 8x AGP bus or the DDR400 memory. Through them all, I didn’t find any of the bios revisions that had any significant increases in system performance. Neither stability nor compatibility seemed to increase either.

Here is the complete system setup table as well as a list of the benchmarks that will follow:

AMD Test System Setup
CPU 1 x 2.17 GHz AMD Athlon XP 2700+ Processor
Motherboards Gigabyte 7VAXP
Abit AT7-MAX2
MSI KT4 Ultra
Soltek 75FRV
Soyo KT400 Dragon
Iwill KK400
Epox 8K9A+
Memory 2 x 256MB Corsair Micro XMS3200 DDR DRAM
Hard Drive 80 GB 7200 RPM IBM EIDE
Video Card ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
Video Drivers 61.66
Operating System Windows XP w/ Service Pack 1

Tests:

Quake III: Arena
Unreal Tournament 2K3
3DMark 2001
Jedi Knight 2
SiSoft Sandra Memory Bench
SiSoft Sandra CPU Bench
Content Creation Winstone 2001
Business Winstone 2001
SPECviewperf 7
Cachemem
ScienceMark

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