ResultsThe integrated graphics performance of this board is not terribly exciting, and as such I skipped it. Considering that it is a $160 US board aimed at enthusiasts, I would be surprised if anyone actually used that functionality (especially since HybridPower still does not work). Instead I tested the board with a standalone high end video card as its primary graphics output.
AMD Phenom II X4 965 Rev. C3
2 x 2 GB OCZ Platinum DDR-3 1600 Memory
NVIDIA reference GTX 280 Graphics Card
Seagate 1 TB 7200.10 Hard Drive
Lite-On DVD-R/RW SATA Drive
Corsair TX750W Power Supply
Windows 7 64 bit Ultimate
Since so much functionality has now been transferred to the CPU, it is becoming much harder to find relevant benchmarks to test motherboards with. PCI-E 2.0 16X has so much bandwidth, it is hard to bottleneck the 3D graphics card from a data request/streaming standpoint as well. The point of the tests was to determine what kind of performance differences we could actually see, with a keen eye towards the I/O functionality of the board.
SiSoft Sandra 2009 SP4
I ran SiSoft to make sure there were no marked differences in overall CPU, memory, and hard drive performance. Unlike 7 years ago, where we could see massive differences in performance, today we rarely see more than 5% difference from board to board when talking about the same CPU.
The CPU results were as expected. No real difference except for a small margin of error. The memory tests were a little more interesting. The MSI board was a full 500 MB/sec slower than the older, more mature Gigabyte board. The hard drive results are concerning. That is a fairly significant margin that the nForce board is behind the AMD SB750. The SB750 is not exactly a speed demon when it comes to I/O.
HD Tach Hard Drive
The Seagate 1 TB 7200.10 is not a barn burner of a hard drive, but it still is not a rambling wreck either. The IDE results from the NVIDIA board are identical to the AHCI results (which should NOT be the case, but is).
The difference in performance is much larger here than it is with Sandra. A max of 80 MB/sec vs. that of 99 MB/sec using the same drive is very concerning. The average speed of the drive of course suffers dramatically because of this limitation.
HD Tach USB
I used an OCZ Rally 2 4 GB flash stick to test USB performance. Even though flash sticks are not the fastest devices out there, we still get some very interesting results from the two different USB controllers.
Though we show a slightly higher CPU usage percentage with the NVIDIA controller, it is superior in speed overall to the AMD solution. While AMD has worked to improve USB speed and functionality in the SB750/710 series, it is still behind both NVIDIA and Intel in those regards.