2. The mainboard - Packaging
3. NVidia's Scalable Link Interface
4. Test System - Configuration
8. Aquamark/3DMark 2001
9. Half Life 2
10. Doom 3
12. Thief 3
13. Colin McRae 2005
14. Ground Control II
15. Performance Test v5.0
17. Bundled Software
18. AIBooster - Overclocking
3D Mark is a widely used and accepted benchmark that stresses the DirectX performance of a VGA card. A very strong point of 3DMark is that it's VGA card measuring is does not require any CPU power. So the resulting fps are a good reference a VGA card's rendering performance. For testing the performance of each card we used the 4 game benchmarks 3DMark has.
3Dmark03 also includes sound and CPU tests as well as some other feature tests.
- Game Test 1 - Wings of Fury (DX7)
This test is a combat flight simulator written for older hardware (DirectX 7). Particles are used a lot in this test - smoke and vapor trails, flak and gunfire, and explosions are produced using point sprites and quads.
- Game Test 2 - Battle of Proxycon (DX8)
This test is a simulation of first person shooter game types. 1.1 and 1.4 Vertex shaders are widely used since all character models are skinned using vertex shaders.This makes this test a good vertex shader comparison for VGA cards.
- Game Test 3 - Trolls' Lair (DX8)
This test should be the favorite of all RPG lovers. It is a cut scene of a female warrior facing two malicious trolls. Again the same vertex and pixel processing is used as in game test 2.
This test also uses post-processing effects, such as Depth of Field and Bloom effects which are widely used in today's game cut scene sequences.
- Game Test 4 - Mother Nature (DX9)
Mother nature represents the level of effects and realism that are possible using 2.0 vertex and pixel shaders, plus some other features that DirectX 9 offers.
With the first game, the Intel based motherboard gave the best results. However, in comparison, the frame rates were down markedly for the other 3 games, where the A8N-SLI Premium dominated.
- 3DMark Official score
If you test your machine with 3DMark, you can post the results at 3DMark's online result browser. For more information visit futuremark.com.
As expected, the two AMD based motherboards achieved a better score than the Intel based motherboard. Additionally, the Premium version seems to be slightly improved over the "old" Deluxe version. It seems that the Pericom PCI Express compliant 2:1 mux/demux switches are doing a better job than the SLI selector did.