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SOLANO Preview - Once Intel Makes Sense ...

The Test Platform

Before you get too enthusiastic about the benchmark results I have to let you know that our platform is not the final product. We received our i815-motherboard from a company that does not want to be named, as you can imagine. This motherboard came with Socket370, 3 DIMM slots, 1 AGP slot, 5 PCI slots and one AMR slot. The board was using the new 'ICH2' chip as 'south bridge', giving us two USB-hubs or four USB-ports, but ATA100 was not enabled. The chipset stepping of this motherboard was 'A1'. All steppings with 'A' in it are pre-production or beta samples, which normally don't come with all the performance features enabled. Therefore I suggest that the final i815 will perform better. However, the performance as well as the stability of our test platform was already very good. Equipped with new Intel INF-files we could install Windows98 without a problem and the board never failed even once.

Here you can see the Win98 system manager with all the funky i815 devices.

Due to time constraints we decided against testing of the integrated 3D graphic of i815. Firstly the drivers are early stage, secondly nobody expects great performance and finally only minorities of you will even consider using it. We will supply you with test results of i815's integrated 3D-solution at a later stage.

We ran the tests in the same configuration as we used for 'The Giga Battle - Part 2 '. This way we were able to compare our i815 results with the scores of BX, i820, i840 and VIA Apollo Pro 133A without having to re-run the whole batch of benchmarks. Therefore we used the driver release 5.08 for the GeForce graphics card. I still checked if there's a significant difference to the scores under the latest rev. 5.22 drivers and could only find that the Q3-results dropped from 5.08 to 5.22. Anyway, there are no reasons to worry about the test setup that we used for our i815 testing.

Platform Information
Graphics card for all testsNVIDIA GeForce 256120 MHz Core, 300 MHz DDR-RAM 32 MB
Hard Drive for all testsSeagate Barracuda ATA ST320430A
CPU for all testsIntel Pentium III 1 GHz, 133 MHz FSB
Intel i815 Chipset Pre-Release Stepping A1
MotherboardNo Information.
Memory128 MB, Wichmann WorkX MXM128 PC133 SDRAM CAS2
IDE Interfaceonboard
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
VIA Apollo Pro 133A Chipset
MotherboardAsus P3V4X, ACPI BIOS 1002 final, March 2000
Memory128 MB, Enhanced Memory Systems PC133 HSDRAM CAS2
IDE InterfacePromise Ultra66 PCI card
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
Intel 440 BX Chipset
MotherboardAsus P3B-F, ACPI BIOS 1005 beta 01, March 2000
Memory128 MB, Enhanced Memory Systems PC133 HSDRAM CAS2
IDE InterfacePromise Ultra66 PCI card
Network3Com 3C905B-TX
Intel 820 Chipset
MotherboardAsus P3C-L, ACPI BIOS 1020 beta 05, March 2000
Memory128 MB, Samsung PC800 RDRAM, RDRAM clock adjusted in BIOS
IDE Interfaceonboard
NetworkOnboard i82559
Intel 840 Chipset
MotherboardOR840, special unreleased BIOS
Memory128 MB, Samsung PC800 RDRAM128 MB, Samsung PC700 RDRAM, running as PC600 RDRAM
IDE Interfaceonboard
NetworkOnboard i82559
Driver Information
Graphics DriverNVIDIA 4.12.01.0508
viagart.vxd for VIA Chipsets4in1 4.17 (download here! )AGP-driver 3.56
ATA DriverPromise Ultra66 driver rev. 1.43Intel Ultra ATA BM driver v5.00.038
Environment Settings
OS VersionsWindows 98 SE 4.10.2222 AScreen Resolution 1024x768x16x85Screen Resolution 1280x1024x32x85 for SPECviewperf
DirectX Version7.0
Quake 2Version 3.20command line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0Crusher demo, 640x480x16
Quake 3 ArenaRetail Versioncommand line = +set cd_nocd 1 +set s_initsound 0Graphics detail set to 'Normal', 640x480x16Benchmark using 'Q3DEMO1'
ExpendableDownloadable Demo Versioncommand line = -timedemo640x480x16
Unreal TournamentVer. 4.05bhigh quality textures, medium quality skins, no tweaks640x480x16Benchmark using 'UTBench'.

Office Application Performance Under Windows98SE

From the Giga Battle or the Showdown at 133 MHz FSB you might remember the astonishing performance that BX133 is able to produce in Sysmark2000. Pre-release Solano is already able to leave everything except of BX133 and i840 w/Pc800 RDRAM behind it. You can see that i820 has already lost and I wouldn't be surprised if i815 would smoke i840 as well once it is in full operation mode.