Intel's 900-Series Chipsets: PCI-Express and LGA775
Posted on: 08/13/2004 05:00 AM

Before we launch into any gaming benchmarks, it's important to note that we're expecting to see these systems line up along some fairly predictable lines in terms of their performance. We all know that a Geforce 6800GT can kick the crap out of a Radeon 9500 Pro, and no one really expects integrated video to perform very well. However one of the things you can take away from this is the degree of improvement to be gained from moving to the platform from a system like the 2.4 GHz P4 that we've included. I think that system is very typical of what a lot of people are running and so it'll show us what we can gain from jumping on the 915 or 925 bandwagon.

Unreal Tournament 2004 Demo v3120

After a hard day of pounding out code on my PC at the office, I like to come home and unwind by pounding on some bots in UT2k4 on, umm, my PC at home. Alright, so my questionable relaxation techniques aside, UT2004 is a game that many of you enjoy. It's also pretty recent, so it should stress our test systems a fair bit.

One of the interesting things about UT from a benchmarking point of view is that is allows for not only hardware 3D rendering, but also software 3D rendering. Yep, we benchmarked D3D, OpenGL, and the software engine. I didn't want this to turn into some kind of TR-esque bench-a-thon (hi guys), so I picked a single set of settings to run with. I decided on Botmatch - Bridge of Fate benchmark at 1024x768 in high quality.

Note that the benchmarking application that I was using absolutely refused to co-operate when it came time to benchmark the 925X and 3.6 GHz Prescott together, so that system isn't represented here.

Let's see here: Geforce 6800GT - really freakin fast. Integrated video - not so much.

Remember when I predicted that an application that stressed both the system itself and the integrated video at the same time would bring that system to its knees? Well forget about knees, I think it's actually crawling around on the floor trying to collect its teeth. Ow. Now that we've ragged on the GMA900 a little, let's point out that if it can pull off ~22 fps at this resolution and detail and it can probably provide a playable experience at a lower but still tolerable resolution and detail level. And ut2k4 is a relatively new game. That's not actually a bad showing, if you think about how rotten yesterday's integrated video solutions were.

Doom 3

That's how these systems handle a relatively new game, but how about a hot-off-the-press, Pixel Shader slinging, video card killing game? Yes, yes, I speak of Doom3: the game that makes your current system cry like someone who thought it was Friday but found out that it's really only Wednesday.

As with UT, I decided to pick a single set of settings for Doom3. This time I picked the default High Quality settings for our testing. Some may argue that Medium Quality would have been more appropriate, but I'd been having a fine time playing Doom3 on a Radeon 9500 Pro in High Quality for several weeks at this point with no major performance complaints, so I figured we might as well use HQ.

You can really see that 6800GT flexing its pixel-pushing muscles again. The old 2.4/9500 Pro combo puts in a good showing, though. Still, an upgrade could double your Doom3 performance. Assuming that Doom3 matters that much to you, of course. Again the integrated video gets pushed around by everyone including the 9500 Pro.

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