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Test Setup

Motherboard Comparison Epox EP-7KXA vs. Asus K7V

I thought it would be best to use the Giga-Athlon for the test, since its power hunger would stress the boards particularly hard. I tried two different PC133 DIMMs, one 128 MB CL2 DIMM from Crucial Technologies (Micron) and one 128 MB CL2 HSDRAM DIMM from Enhanced Memory Systems. Both DIMMs are excellent performers in terms of reliability.

For the benchmarks I still used Sysmark 2000, although I've got my doubts that this benchmark is particularly useful for a motherboard evaluation. The office applications used in this benchmark are hardly able to stress the memory, and they leave the AGP completely alone. Therefore you can hardly spot performance differences between boards with Sysmark and you still don't know if your memory and AGP performs stable. I added Quake 3 Arena, Expendable and SPECviewperf 6.1.1 to the benchmark suite, because those applications make heavy usage of the memory and the AGP. Especially SPECviewperf will easily crash a system with instable memory. It can also point out performance deltas of the memory system and the AGP very well.

Hardware Setup
Processor for all tests AMD Athlon Processor 1000 MHz
L2-Cache running at 1/3 core clock = 333 MHz
Memory for all tests Enhanced Memory Systems 128 MB HSDRAM CL2
Crucial Technologies (Micron) 128 MB SDRAM CL2
Motherboards Asus K7M
AMD750 'Irongate' Chipset, Rev. 1.4, Chipset Rev. C stepping 6, BIOS KM130.bin, SuperBypass Enabled
Asus K7V
VIA Apollo Pro KX133 Chipset, Rev. 1.01, BIOS 1004.02A
Epox EP-7KXA
VIA Apollo Pro KX133 Chipset, Rev.?, BIOS K7000324.exe
VIA VT5249B1 KX133 Reference Board
Rev. ?, BIOS Jan 2000
Other Hardware
Graphics Card for all tests NVIDIA GeForce 256 DDR Reference Card
120 MHz Core, 300 MHz DDR-RAM 32 MB
Network Card for all tests NETGEAR FA310-TX
Hard Drive for all systems Seagate Barracuda ATA ST320430A
Driver Information
VIA Drivers Windows 98 4in1 4.20
GeForce Driver Windows 98 NVIDIA Reference Driver Rev. 5.08
GeForce Driver Windows NT4 NVIDIA Reference Driver Rev. 5.13
GeForce Driver Windows 2000t Settings NVIDIA Reference Driver Rev. 5.13
Environment Settings
OS Versions Windows 98 SE 4.10.2222 A
Windows NT4 Sevice Pack 6a 4.00.1381
Windows 2000 Professional 5.00.2195
Screen Resolutions 640x480x16x85 for 3D Games
1024x768x16x85 for Sysmark2000
1280x1024x32x85 for SPECviewperf
DirectX Version 7.0
Quake 2 Version 3.20
command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0
Crusher demo, 640x480x16
Quake 3 Arena Retail Version
command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0
Graphics detail set to 'Normal', 640x480x16
Benchmark using 'Q3DEMO1'
Expendable Downloadable Demo Version
command line = -timedemo
Unreal Tournament Ver. 4.05b
high quality textures, medium quality skins, no tweaks
Benchmark using 'UTBench'.
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