System Setup and Benchmarks

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The system setup and testing platforms for this review were somewhat different than what frequenters of are going to be used to. First, the Opteron motherboards presented today were only compared against each other due to the sharply contrasting systems that they present to us. The dual Opteron motherboard from Tyan and MSI are, as we have mentioned many times, not intended for use in the standard home system, or even the run of the mil workstation computer. These are meant for the server platform in almost all cases. Because of that, our usual test setup of an Athlon XP 3200+ processor and nForce2 motherboard brings too many different components into the picture and isn’t a good comparative entry. While a Xeon-based server would have been a good addition, I simply do not have access to them at this time, and apologize for that. However, I will be adding Athlon MP 2800+ (Barton core) benchmark numbers to this review soon.

Also note, to do any kind of benchmarking, relying on the on-board graphics of the ATI Rage XL was not the ideal situation. A discrete graphics solution was better, but as the PCI-X video cards are still on the horizon, I had to settle for an NVIDIA GeForceFX 5200 PCI graphics card from PNY.

The system you will see listed are the Tyan motherboard, the MSI motherboard, and in some cases, the Opteron Quartet. The Opteron Quartet was the test system that AMD let us use for a short period that took advantage of 4 Opteron 844 processors and 8 GB of system memory. We looked at the same system in our SiSoft Sandra article and in the SETI@Home benchmarks article. Where we had corresponding numbers on that system, we have included them in this article for reference.

The installation process for the dual Opteron motherboards was pretty standard. Windows XP Professional was installed and then Service Pack 1 was installed. Then, using the Tyan disc on the K8 Thunder and the MSI provided disc on the K8D Master, I installed the necessary drivers for the PCI-X bus and the other various tunnels. The graphics driver was the loaded and that is the entire configuration done on these systems. System Restore was turned off as well.

The benchmarks used are again very different from what you are used to seeing in reviews on There are very few gaming, or enthusiast based benchmarks because again, they depend heavily on components that don’t exist on these two motherboards: like an AGP slot and accompanying graphics card. These are mostly CPU based or memory based benchmarks to demonstrate the capabilities of the Opteron processor in a dual processor system. If you are looking for how the Opteron motherboard performs on more graphics intense situations, check back on for a look at the nForce3 chipset and Opteron 144 processor.

Here is the generic table setup of the setup as it was used:

AMD Test System Setup
CPU 2 x Opteron 244 Processors
Motherboards Tyan Thunder K8S
MSI K8D Master
Memory 4 x 512MB Corsair Micro Registered DDR DRAM
Hard Drive 80 GB 7200 RPM IBM EIDE
Video Card GeForce FX 5200 PCI
Video Drivers Detonator 43.45
Operating System Windows XP w/ Service Pack 1


SiSoft Sandra Memory Bench
SiSoft Sandra CPU Bench
SiSoft Sandra Multimedia Bench
ScienceMark 2.0 Beta Client
CliBench III
Cinebench 2003 Cinema 4D
Super PI
CaseLab’s CFD Solver

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