Doom 3 is
the most advanced game to date. it takes advantage of the latest videocard
technology and pushes the processing power of the CPU to its absolute limit. At
its highest setting, Ultra quality, texture sizes pass the 500MB mark which
means even tomorrow's videocards will have a hard time running everything. The
frame rates in the game itself are locked at 60 fps so anything above that point
is wasted. Each test is run three times with the third run being
|Albatron K8X890 Pro II (K8T890 200/400)
|MSI RS480M2-IL (RS480 200/400)
|Chaintech Zenith VNF4 Ultra (NF4 Ultra
|ABIT AN8 32X (NF4 SLI x16 200/400)
|MSI K8N Diamond Plus (NF4 SLI x16 200/400)
|DFI LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert (NF4 SLI
|DFI LANParty NF4 SLI-DR (NF4 SLI 200/400)
|ECS KA1-MVP Extreme (Rxpress 1600 200/400)
Overall the framerates are close enough that gamers
wouldn't notice the difference between the various different platforms.
Quake 4 is the latest shooter from ID and is based on
the Doom 3 engine. Tweaked to for more eye candy, Quake 4 promises to be tougher
on videocards and systems than its predecessor was. Quake 4 also does not have a
60 fps limiter like Doom 3, with the Ultra setting, graphic textures can surpass
the 500MB mark! Each test is run three times and with the third run being
|Quake 4 |
|ABIT AN8 32X (NF4 SLI x16 200/400)
|ECS KA1-MVP Extreme (Xpress 1600 200/400)
In the final benchmark of the day, the ECS KA1-MVP
Extreme performs very well.
ATi vs nVIDIA All Over Again
ATi originally scoffed at the idea of running two high
end videocards simultaneously, but nVIDIA certainly proved that users are
willing to pay for it. To get a piece of that dual videocard pie ATi would first
have to design its own motherboard chipset.
Its first dual videocard capable chipset is the
CrossFire Xpress 1600, although you might also recognize it as the ATI Radeon
After some growing pains, ATi now has a decent
performing mainstream chipset and at an excellent price point too. With
motherboards like the ECS KA1-MVP Extreme retailing for $131 CDN ($115 USD/£65 GBP), it's about
half of what high end nForce4 SLI motherboards costs.
We've already outlined the ECS KA1-MVP
Extreme's features in detail, so let's concentrate on what the benchmarks are
telling us. The overall performance of the ECS KA1-MVP Extreme is quite
comparable to nForce4 SLI offerings; it keeps up with motherboards like the DFI
LANPartyUT NF4 SLI-DR Expert and ABIT AN8 32X in most of the benchmarks. The
unit we tested was also a pretty good overclocker, reaching 305 MHz.
Still, on the whole we're left with the impression that
the ATi CrossFire Xpress 1600 chipset is a good first attempt. I suspect ATi
will build on this foundation and produce something that actually surpasses
nVIDIA's solution eventually, but the company has some obvious work yet to
complete on that front.
For the moment Crossfire is a bit of a pain to
implement, and the utter lack of Crossfire master cards at reasonable prices is
certainly not easing pressure. Left with the ECS KA1-MVP Extreme motherboard in
the configuration we benchmarked it, ECS have a good board here that is
remarkably affordable. The benchmark results tell you exactly what you're
getting with the ECS KA1 MVP Extreme, so study them carefully.
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