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Slot 1 Chipset Comparison

Test Setup

Playing around with pre-release or prototype boards is not very funny since it takes quite a while to find out which BIOS setting can be enabled safely and to discover which others cause hang ups. This applies particularly to the SiS board, which are reference boards from SiS. The Apollo Pro boards we got are the KA-6100 and VB-601-V from FIC and the Tekram P6Pro-A5. Since VIA and SiS are now entering a market which is very demanding, I wanted them to challenge one of the very best. So the BX competitor was the well known Asus P2B. All boards ran with a 400 MHz Pentium II.

I benchmarked with the fast DVGS high end harddisks, since the results shouldn't be influenced by slow or little optimized IDE drivers. By the way, the VIA chipset revision which was used on those boards does not support the busmaster mode, so that's another reason for using SCSI in these benchmarks. The final revisson which will be shipped does support it, of course. The operating systems I used were Windows 98 and Windows NT 4.0 Service Pack 3.

I would have used a Riva128 card, but the VIA chipset board didn't permit this. Neither the Asus V3000 nor the Canopus Total3D 128V ran with the nVIDIA drivers 1.50H under Windows 95 or NT. So I used the Matrox Millennium II for the WinStone benchmarks. To determine the game performance I used a single Voodoo² 3D accelerator equipped with 12 MB memory and the games Quake II and Incoming at 640x480 and 800x600 resolutions. Of course I used the actual 3Dfx reference drivers (Glide 2.53, Glide3 3.0, Direct3D drivers 4.10.01.0180-2.17) and Microsoft DirectX 6. All benchmarks ran with 128 MB PC-100 SDRAM (2x 64 MB, LGS, 7 ns) and activated L2 ECC.

The Tekram board also offers an asynchronous memory mode. I also added benchmarks with 66 MHz memory to show you how small the difference really is (comparison with the LX board P2L97 from Asus).