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Test System And Benchmark Configuration

Move Over G45: Nvidia's GeForce 9300 Arrives
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System Hardware
CPU I Intel Core 2 Duo E7200 (45 nm, 2.53 GHz, 3MB L2 Cache)
CPU II AMD Athlon 64 X2 5400+ (65 nm, 2.8 GHz, 1MB L2 Cache)
Intel Chipset : GeForce 9300MSI P7NGM-Digital, Rev. 1.1
Intel Chipset : G45 Intel DG45ID, Rev. Pre-Release
AMD Chipset : 790GX ASUS M3A78-T, Rev 1.01G
RAM2x 2 GB DDR2-1066 Corsair CM2X2048-9136C5D
HDD Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1TB SATA 3 Gb/s
Blu-ray Drive Lite-On DH-4O1S
Graphics Card ASUS EN8500 GT TOP 256MB DDR3
Sapphire Radeon HD 3470 256MB DDR3
Power Supply PC Power and Cooling, ATX 2.3, 850 Watt

System Software & Drivers
Operating System Windows Vista Ultimate Retail
DirectX 10DirectX 10 (Vista default)
Nvidia Chipset Drivers nForce 20.07 (Vista x32)
Nvidia Graphics Drivers GeForce 178.13 (Vista x32)
ATI Graphics Drivers Catalyst 8.9 (Vista x32)
Intel Chipset Drivers INF : 9.1.0.1007

Benchmarks and Settings

3D Game Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
CrysisVersion : 1.2.1
Video Modes : 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024
Overall Quality : medium
Demo : GPU-Benchmark2 + Tom’s Hardware Tool
Unreal Tournament 3Version : 1.2
Video Mode : 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024
Sound and DirectX10 ; Window off
Video Quality :
Texture Details:5, Level Details : 5, Demo : WAR-OnyxCoast_bot
Time : 12/60
World in ConflictVersion : 1.0.0.9
Video Mode : 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024
Video Quality : medium details
Demo : Game-Benchmark
Supreme Commander
Forged Alliance
Version : 1.5.3599
Video Mode : 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024
Video Quality : game default
Demo : WallaceTX_006_006
Benchmark : Fraps 2.9.4 - Build 7037
Start time 00:48:20 (60 seconds) realtime play

Audio and Video Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
iTunesVersion : 7.7.0.43
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
TMPEG 4.5 Version : 4.5.1.254
Video : Terminator 2 SE DVD (720x576, 16:9) 5 Minutes
Audio : Dolby Digital, 48000 Hz, 6-Channel, English
Advanced Acoustic Engine MP3 Encoder (160 kbps, 44.1 KHz)
DivX 6.8.3 Version : 6.8.3
- Main Menu -
default
- Codec Menu -
Encoding mode : Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading
Enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
- Video Menu -
Quantization : MPEG-2
XviD 1.1.3 Version : 1.1.3
- Other Options / Encoder Menu -
Display encoding status = off
Nero 8 Recode Version : 3.1.4.0
- Recode an Entire DVD to DVD
- convert DVD-9 to DVD5
- all default settings
Benchmark
- High quality mode (slow recording)
- disable video preview
Mainconcept Reference 1.5.1
Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1
Version : 1.5.1
MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264)
MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec
28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2)
Audio : MPEG2 (44.1 kHz, 2 Channel, 16 Bit, 224 kbps)
Codec : H.264
Mode : PAL (25 FPS)
Profile : Tom’s Hardware Settings for Qct-Core
HD Playback (Blu-Ray) PowerDVD 8 Ultra
Blu Ray - Disc (Resident Evil : Extinction)
Video Mode : 1920x1080p (full screen)
Codec : H.264

Application Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 8Version : 8.0.134
Virus base : 270.4.5/1533
Benchmark
Scan : some compressed ZIP and RAR archives
Winrar 3.80Version 3.70 BETA 8
WinZIP Commandline Version 2.3
Compression = Best
Dictionary = 4096 KB
Benchmark : THG-Workload
WinZIP 11Version 11.2
Compression = Best
Benchmark : THG-Workload
Maxon Cinema 4D Release 10Version : 10.008
Rendering from a scene
(Water drop at a Rose)
Resolution : 1280x1024 – 8-Bit (50 frames)
Adobe Photoshop CS 3Version : 10.0x20070321
Filtering of a 69 MB TIF-Photo
Benchmark : Tomshardware-Benchmark V1.0.0.4
Programmed by Tomshardware using Delphi 2007
Filters :
Crosshatch
Glass
Sumi-e
Accented Edges
Angled Strokes
Sprayed Strokes

Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
BenchmarkDetails
3DMark VantageVersion : 1.02
Options : Entry
Graphics Test 1
Graphics Test 2
CPU Test 1
CPU Test 2
PCMark VantageVersion : 1.00
PCMark Benchmark
Memory Benchmark
Windows Media Player 10.00.00.3646
SiSoftware Sandra XII SP2Version 2008.5.14.24
CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia
Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark

Notes :

There is a $40 price delta between our CPUs of choice here. The Core 2 Duo E7200 is more expensive, yes. But Nvidia is claiming that its GeForce 9300-based boards will cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100, while the ASUS M3A78-T hovers around the $150 mark and Intel’s DG45ID is closer to $120. So, if you compare the cost of these midrange machines, all three land very close to each other.

Then there’s the matter of our hybrid-mode testing. We chose the fastest models available to go with each compatible platform—the GeForce 8500 GT to go with Nvidia’s GeForce 9300 and AMD’s Radeon HD 3470 to go with the 790GX. Intel’s G45 doesn’t support any sort of cooperative rendering mode, of course.

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  • 4 Hide
    Ryun , October 15, 2008 2:47 PM
    Good article but I feel compelled to say that I don't understand your choice for pitting the 790GX (~$140 board) and a 5400+ (~$80) with an the E7200 (~$120) and the G45 (~$100).

    Wouldn't it have made more sense to pair up similarly priced components, such as the 780g and 5400+ vs a E2180 and G45? Maybe someone could explain the reasoning?
  • 1 Hide
    ricstorms , October 15, 2008 3:24 PM
    I think a better Intel processor for an apt comparison should have been the E5200, which is only about $10 more expensive than the 5400+. Also, no mention was made that the 790GX platform is much more versatile, thanks to its 2 PCIExpress x16 slots (albeit running in x8 mode in Crossfire). Also, I would have liked to see the overclocking results with all three platforms, that is one of the strengths of the 790GX platform. (since AMD processors have fallen from grace, its almost impossible to find good reviews, I didn't see one in a google search for the 5400+ black edition)

    I think that the 780g platform is more analogous to the 9300. I would have liked to seen either a 8650 or a 6000+ competing on that than a 5400 on the 790GX, many of its features are not being used here. That being said I still think the Nvidia/Intel platform would fair better. It seems to me that this article is at some points aimed at gamers and at other home theater enthusiasts. I think the article would have been better suited focusing on either one, not both.
  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , October 15, 2008 3:26 PM
    I agree with Ryun about the price comparison.

    Cheapest G45 board is around $109 from Intel (discarding ECS) on newegg. G31 is outdated.

    $100 730i board would be pitted against G45 board directly.

    780G boards are slightly cheaper and still more capable then NVIDIA MCP7x and any Intel IGP solution. JetWay is offering JetWay HA07 790GX/SB750 board for $90 on newegg at the moment.

  • -1 Hide
    Reynod , October 15, 2008 3:30 PM
    I still don't understand how you can say the AMD system draws less power at idle then declare the Intel system to be the winner i nthe power stakes??

    Can you please explain that one?

    I would hardly put a 5400+ in a HTPC either ... I'd throw in a low power dual core ... bet that would make mincemeat out of the Intel systems and still give quality playback and much smoother graphics up on the screen.

    Plus we all know the NVidia Graphics chips in this iteration are defective ... why buy a defective mobo to begin with?

    It might not last very long.

    Doesn't make good purchasing sense.

    Even Apple are publicly stating that all current GPU's have defective substrates causing bonding issue, reducing the lifeltime of the GPU largely based on thermals I guess.

    The E7200 is a good performer ... very good in fact.
  • 2 Hide
    Liuqyn , October 15, 2008 3:31 PM
    if they had done that, then they would have had to admit that AMD was still the better value for entry level gaming and HTPC use.
  • -2 Hide
    marees , October 15, 2008 3:42 PM
    I agree perfrectly with Ryun that you cant compare e7200 with ath 5400.

    I would like to add that a phenom (8450?/9550?) processor should have been used because of the higher hyper transport speed advantages and also to check if the power consumtion is different.

    Hopefully TomsHarware will update the figures including scores for phenom processor and also nvidia 8200/8300 chipsets for amd processors, just for completeness sake.
  • 0 Hide
    chaohsiangchen , October 15, 2008 4:16 PM
    ReynodPlus we all know the NVidia Graphics chips in this iteration are defective ... why buy a defective mobo to begin with?It might not last very long.


    Not true. Don't believe anything comes out from Charlie Demerjian until proven.
  • 0 Hide
    Shadow703793 , October 15, 2008 4:23 PM
    Well written! Next time do you mind posting a bit on if the board is capable of OCing a bit?
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 4:31 PM
    ryunGood article but I feel compelled to say that I don't understand your choice for pitting the 790GX (~$140 board) and a 5400+ (~$80) with an the E7200 (~$120) and the G45 (~$100).Wouldn't it have made more sense to pair up similarly priced components, such as the 780g and 5400+ vs a E2180 and G45? Maybe someone could explain the reasoning?


    Ryun,
    The Intel- and AMD-based platforms both add up to $220. Assuming all other components are the same (memory, HDD, PSU, etc), you end up with two machines that cost the same amount of money.
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 4:45 PM
    ricstormsI think a better Intel processor for an apt comparison should have been the E5200, which is only about $10 more expensive than the 5400+. Also, no mention was made that the 790GX platform is much more versatile, thanks to its 2 PCIExpress x16 slots (albeit running in x8 mode in Crossfire). Also, I would have liked to see the overclocking results with all three platforms, that is one of the strengths of the 790GX platform. (since AMD processors have fallen from grace, its almost impossible to find good reviews, I didn't see one in a google search for the 5400+ black edition) I think that the 780g platform is more analogous to the 9300. I would have liked to seen either a 8650 or a 6000+ competing on that than a 5400 on the 790GX, many of its features are not being used here. That being said I still think the Nvidia/Intel platform would fair better. It seems to me that this article is at some points aimed at gamers and at other home theater enthusiasts. I think the article would have been better suited focusing on either one, not both.


    Hi Rick!
    You're right on the money about the 790GX's support for CrossFire. I'll look for a place in the piece to add mention of that. The 790GX chipset isn't going to add anything to overclocking in this particular comparison, though, since it's not a Phenom in the socket, but an Athlon 64 X2.

    I believe this platform is best suited to an HTPC crowd, but I couldn't ignore Nvidia's insistence that gaming is good here as well. And to that end, I'd still recommend an add-in board under $100 like AMD's Radeon HD 4670.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 4:47 PM
    chaohsiangchenI agree with Ryun about the price comparison. Cheapest G45 board is around $109 from Intel (discarding ECS) on newegg. G31 is outdated. $100 730i board would be pitted against G45 board directly. 780G boards are slightly cheaper and still more capable then NVIDIA MCP7x and any Intel IGP solution. JetWay is offering JetWay HA07 790GX/SB750 board for $90 on newegg at the moment.


    I didn't want to use a 780G board and then have the AMD enthusiasts in arms because we weren't using the best possible chipset to represent its efforts ;-)
  • 3 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 4:52 PM
    ReynodI still don't understand how you can say the AMD system draws less power at idle then declare the Intel system to be the winner i nthe power stakes??Can you please explain that one?I would hardly put a 5400+ in a HTPC either ... I'd throw in a low power dual core ... bet that would make mincemeat out of the Intel systems and still give quality playback and much smoother graphics up on the screen.Plus we all know the NVidia Graphics chips in this iteration are defective ... why buy a defective mobo to begin with?It might not last very long.Doesn't make good purchasing sense.Even Apple are publicly stating that all current GPU's have defective substrates causing bonding issue, reducing the lifeltime of the GPU largely based on thermals I guess.The E7200 is a good performer ... very good in fact.


    Reynod,
    Lack of clarification there. It should read Intel holds the edge against our Nvidia comparison platform. AMD does in fact have the edge at idle. I'll fix that.

    I don't have anything indicating that the chipset is defective so I wouldn't make that claim. However, my mailbox is open for business if you have documentation showing that it is!
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 4:53 PM
    Liuqynif they had done that, then they would have had to admit that AMD was still the better value for entry level gaming and HTPC use.


    Hey, I'm still using a 780G/Phenom combination in my own desktop. But you can't deny that a Core 2 Duo + 730i is much more compelling than Intel's position with G45.
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 4:58 PM
    mareesI agree perfrectly with Ryun that you cant compare e7200 with ath 5400.I would like to add that a phenom (8450?/9550?) processor should have been used because of the higher hyper transport speed advantages and also to check if the power consumtion is different.Hopefully TomsHarware will update the figures including scores for phenom processor and also nvidia 8200/8300 chipsets for amd processors, just for completeness sake.


    Marees, I could add a Phenom, but I'd need to update the Intel platform to match--and the results would likely look similar.
  • 4 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 5:00 PM
    Shadow703793Well written! Next time do you mind posting a bit on if the board is capable of OCing a bit?


    Thanks Shadow, I'll keep that in mind. Didn't expect much interest in overclocking, but I'll work on a roundup of 730i stories for tomorrow that links to some of the other folks' experiences with overclocking to help get you that information.
  • 0 Hide
    Mathos , October 15, 2008 5:02 PM
    cangelini


    I just wish they'd hurry up and get the X2 6500 out, would have been more suited to this comparison than the 5400, mainly due to high hyper transport speed which effects the 780g/790gx. Unfortunately I haven't seen hide nor hair of them yet anywhere. Would of been a good match up against e7200 performance wise too, or at least better than the 5400+.
  • 0 Hide
    bfstev , October 15, 2008 5:02 PM
    I think he was refering to the wide spread heat issues with nvidia's defective batch of GPUs. I'd be surprised if this integrated solution fell into that category as i dont believe nvidia would simply let that slip through to this when they know about the problem.

    Also just wanted some clarification, on the bottom of page 2 you state that the nvidia solution offers upto 12 USB 1.0 ports. just wanted to ask if that was suppose to be 2.0 or not as 1.0 seems to be quite the disadvantage
  • 0 Hide
    Blueridge , October 15, 2008 5:10 PM
    From the price of view, you're right, you get machines that cost the same... but I feel that the performance is a little bi out of balance... Could it have been possible to select a cheaper AMD mobo a little better CPU for this article?
  • 2 Hide
    cangelini , October 15, 2008 5:12 PM
    blueridgeFrom the price of view, you're right, you get machines that cost the same... but I feel that the performance is a little bi out of balance... Could it have been possible to select a cheaper AMD mobo a little better CPU for this article?



    Perhaps, but then AMD wouldn't have looked as good in the games as a result of a slower GPU clock (from a 780G board, for instance). I see the argument in both directions, but sided with graphics over processing.
  • 0 Hide
    warezme , October 15, 2008 5:31 PM
    Looks like a good board for all in one type system. Its to bad they don't bench a little bit older games like HL2. I have a laptop with the equivalent descrete graphics (8400GS)and it runs extremely smooth and very nice looking settings at native res on this type of older but very fun games. I can see how this board at $100 with a cheap CPU is a very good deal.
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