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Preview of VIA's upcoming Apollo Pro+ 133 Chipset

Enough With The Theory, Give Us The Benchmarking Facts! - The Results

I used a small set of benchmarks, but it should cover pretty much each important area. You know that I don't believe in synthetic benchmarks that don't give you the slightest idea what real world performance gain you can really expect. Thus I refrained from some beautiful but meaningless memory benchmarks or 3D-benchmarks. I used Quake 2 as well, but due to its heavy use of AGP with TNT2 it crashed in the BX system at 133 MHz FSB and 88 MHz AGP clock. So I took those results out. The idea was to run BX at 600/100 MHz, at 600/133 MHz and VIA PC133 at 600/133 MHz as well as 600/100 MHz. Unfortunately the EpoX P2-133A turns off the L2-cache of PIII at 600/100 MHz with its latest BIOS revision, which is why those results were removed as well. Please note that the only difference between a PIII-system clocked at 600/100 MHz vs. 600/133 MHz is the memory bandwidth. The L2-cache of PIII is in both cases running at half the CPU clock and thus at 300 MHz, the PCI-bus is in all cases running at 33 MHz, because even BX can divide the FSB-clock by four to get to 33 MHz. Therefore every difference in the benchmark results can only be explained by a difference in memory bandwidth.

Winstone was used to give you some idea about the office application performance, the Expendable Demo running in timedemo-mode was used to show the Direct3D-gaming performance and last but not least I used the Naturally Speaking 3.52-benchmark to test the memory performance, since this benchmark of Dragon's well known voice recognition software does hardly do anything else than stress the main memory really hard, whilst hardly requiring any graphics or AGP performance at all.

As you can see, the results are pretty sobering. It's an old issue that VIA's AGP-performance lacks behind the AGP-performance of Intel's BX chipset, which is why VIA's PC133 lacks some 9% behind BX in Expendable-performance. The same is also valid for VIA's MVP3-chipset compared to Ali's Aladdin V chipset. The office performance of the PC133-platform is indeed slightly better than BX at 100 MHz FSB and on par with BX at 133 MHz FSB. The most disappointing result is achieved in the memory stressing Naturally Speaking-benchmark though. Even BX at 100 MHz FSB is already faster than VIA's PC133-platform, but BX at 133 MHz is way faster. The BX-results are also showing how much Naturally Speaking stresses main memory. An increase in memory bandwidth of 33% leads to a surprising performance increase of 9%!! There are hardly any other benchmarks, which are depending on main memory as much.