How I Tested
The platform I tested was a Gigabyte 7IX revision 1.1 motherboard. This motherboard was outfitted with AMD's super bypass capable north bridge (AMD 751). Gigabyte isn't the only manufacturer shipping this new north bridge; other Athlon motherboard manufacturers are shipping it as well. The Gigabyte board looked like a typical production 7IX motherboard. I am told that the newer north bridges are already being shipped on motherboards. Here's a picture of the Gigabyte 7IX platform I used.
To get an idea of the performance impact with some typical business applications I used SYSmark98 and tested it under Windows 98 and NT 4.0. 3D games are probably some of the most CPU intensive applications. Although business application performance is important, most of its time is spent waiting for hard disk and not the CPU. Gaming however is very critical to CPU and video performance. If there isn't enough horsepower the game play is critically affected. To exercise the impact that super bypass has on gaming I chose a large suite of 3D applications.
|3Dmark2000||Mad Onion's newly released 3DMark 2000 benchmark that uses the Max Payne game engine from Remedy/3Drealms. It provides an overall 3D performance tests in various game environments. The game engine has CPU optimized pipelines for Intel x87, Intel KNI, AMD Athlon and AMD 3DNow! This benchmark was ran at the lower 640x480x16 resolution to keep the video board from becoming the bottleneck.|
|TreeMark||NVIDIA's TreeMark is a benchmark tool that they use to promote their T&L based GeForce 256 product. This benchmark relies heavily on the video boards T&L. With a given CPU the scores usually stay the same no matter what CPU frequency is being used.|
|Descent 3||Interplay's Descent 3 is a very popular 3D game title. This game was tested in D3D mode at 640x480x16 to keep the video board from becoming the bottleneck.|
|Shogo||D3D game title that is a popularly used application for benchmarking. Makes a great CPU/platform benchmark when used at lower resolutions.|
|Expendable Demo||D3D game title that is a popularly used application for benchmarking. Makes a great CPU/platform benchmark when used at lower resolutions.|
|Half-Life||Half-Life is a great CPU/platform test given that its bottleneck isn't with the video board.|
|Unreal Tournament||The Unreal Tournament 3D engine is very CPU intensive much like Half-Life, which makes it a great CPU/platform test.|
|Quake 3 Arena||Extremely popular OpenGL based game that is a great tool for extracting CPU/platform performance when it is tested at lower resolutions.|
All of the charts are setup the same way. The red lines indicate super bypass is enabled or on. While the green lines indicate that super bypass is disabled or off. Each test was ran on both a 750 MHz and 800 MHz Athlon.