Overclocking, System Setup and Test Methods

Overclocking

The nForce4 Ultra chipset, just like the SLI one, has locks in all the right places.  The PCI Express bus is locked independently of the system bus, as is the regular old PCI bus.  No AGP card to worry about here either. Throw some Corsair PC4400 DDR memory into the mix and you’ll have a good foundation for some serious overclocking.

For our overclocking tests, I started simply with the basics: move the multiplier down to 9.0x and then up the HT bus to see where it stops me.  With upping the internal CPU clock, I reached a bus speed of 272 MHz.  Beyond that, I noticed a bit of instability. I then upped the multiplier to 9.5x making a total frequency of 2.58 GHz and ran completely stable overnight running Prime95 and 3DMark05.  Admittedly, this isn’t a big frequency overclock, but increasing memory bandwidth by this amount is a great start, considering we were using default voltages.

Also, I would imagine that using even a simple water cooling setup on both the CPU and the chipset would give even better results. 

Test System Setup

Our test setup continues with our trend for motherboard and chipset reviews, using an Athlon 64 FX-53 processor and an ATI X800 XT PCI Express graphics card. Since this is a motherboard review, we will focus on what features and performance the motherboard brings to the table in as close a comparison as possible to the competing products.  

AMD Test System Setup

CPU

AMD Athlon 64 4000+

Motherboards

Abit Fatal1ty AN8
DFI LanParty NF4 SLI-DR
Gigabyte K8NXP-SLI nForce4 SLI
Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe

Power Supply 

Antec 480 watt

Memory 

2x512MB Corsair Micro DDR500
2x512MB Kingston HyperX 4300 DDR

Hard Drive

250 GB Maxtor 7200 RPM SATA

Sound Card

Creative Labs Live!

Video Card

ATI X800 XT

Video Drivers

ATI Catalyst 4.11

DirectX Version

DX 9.0c

Operating System

Windows XP w/ Service Pack 1

 

 Intel Test System Setup

CPU

Intel 560

Motherboards

Intel 925XE Reference

Power Supply 

Antec 480 watt

Memory 

2x512MB Corsair Micro DDR2-533

Hard Drive

250 GB Maxtor 7200 RPM SATA

Sound Card

Creative Labs Live!

Video Card

ATI X800 XT

Video Drivers

ATI Catalyst 4.11

DirectX Version

DX 9.0c

Operating System

Windows XP w/ Service Pack 1

 

The benchmarks used were:

  • SiSoft Sandra 2004 SP1
  • AIDA32
  • Cachemem
  • Quake III: Arena
  • Unreal Tournament 2003
  • X2: The Threat
  • 3D Mark 2001: SE v330
  • 3DMark03
  • Far Cry 1.1
  • Doom 3
  • PCMark04
  • Business Winstone 2004
  • Content Creation Winstone 2004
  • LAME MP3 Encoding
  • XMPEG / DivX Encoding
  • WinRAR Compression
  • CineBench 2003
  • ScienceMark 2.0 Beta
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