Testing Issues, Setup and Comparisons
For comparing these Intel-platform integrated graphics solutions, I took a pretty basic stance on how to test them.  Only one of the GF9300 motherboards was used in the benchmarking (the MSI P7NGM-Digital) since performance between all three was nearly identical.  The sole exception was in the overclocking comparison where I looked at them individually.  The collection of benchmarks I used comprised of some synthetic CPU and memory tests to see how the memory controllers on each chipset performed and some real-world applications like Windows Media Encoder x64, LAME MP3 encoder, etc.  We also included Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage and PCMark Vantage for easily comparable numbers from platform to platform for our readers’ interest.

Gaming testing was done using the integrated graphics cores on Crysis and World in Conflict (as well as 3DMark Vantage mentioned above).  Crysis was set at low settings and used the built-in CPU and GPU benchmark scripts while WiC used the in-game performance test. 

The storage subsystem was tested to compare the SATA controller and USB controller of each chipset.

I did run into some issues during testing that I think should be included in the discussion here.  First, all three NVIDIA GeForce 9300 motherboard exhibited some form of odd happenings with the BIOS and rebooting.  For example, the ASUS P5N7A-VM would often times shut down rather than reboot when changing even the most basic of BIOS options.  The MSI P7NGM-Digital motherboard would often refuse to POST after a reboot from Windows and would sit there idling at 20 watts under standard idle power consumption until I hit the reset button.  The Zotac board exhibited a similar behavior but less frequently. 

All of these boards are early samples, so it’s possible this will be fixed with future releases, but it honestly left me with a slightly less excited feeling about the product having to deal with all the small, but growingly aggravating problems. 

NVIDIA GeForce 9400/9300 Chipset Review: IGP for Intel - Chipsets 131

NVIDIA GeForce 9400/9300 Chipset Review: IGP for Intel - Chipsets 132
Intel G45 GMA X4500 graphics – memory size is actually allocated dynamically

NVIDIA GeForce 9400/9300 Chipset Review: IGP for Intel - Chipsets 133
NVIDIA GeForce 9300 chipset and graphics core
  • SiSoft Sandra 2009
  • CineBench 10
  • Windows Media Encoder x64
  • LAME 3.97a
  • WinRAR 3.80
  • PCMark Vantage 1.0
  • 3DMark Vantage 1.01
  • HDTach
  • IOMeter v2006.07.27
  • Crysis 1.2.1
  • World in Conflict 1.008
  • PowerDVD 8 v2021

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