KT400A vs nForce2 vs SiS746

Motherboards/AMD S462 by piotke @ 2003-05-15

A couple of months ago nVidia introduced the nForce? chipset for AMD. It outperformed VIA?s KT400 chipset by a considerably margin. Now VIA introduced a newer version, the KT400A. Is it a decent alternative for the Nforce?? And what about Sis ? They have the Sis 746 that boasts 200Mhz FSB. I compared three motherboards based on these chipsets, and of course, overclocked them. Tested motherboards: Abit NF7-S v2.0 (nForce2) , DFI Lanparty (KT400A) and the ECS L7S7A2L (SiS746)

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Installation + Benchmarks

Installation:

Before I started some benchmarks, I had to install the operating system and drivers. I installed everything on both boards exactly the same.

First I installed, Windows 2000, and after that Service pack 2, Why SP 2 when there's a SP 3? Well, on my former boards I experienced some performance loss.

After that DirectX 8, Nvidia Detonator Drivers Version 4.72 WHQL and the chipset drivers. For the NF7 I used the Nforce 2.03 package, for the ECS version r1.13 and for the DFI via Hyperion driver pack.

So far for Microsoft goodies and necessary drivers. Time for the benchmarking applications:


  • Sisoft Sandra

  • Futuremark 3Dmark 2001 Se Build 330

  • HD tach 2.61

  • SuperPi



Then I ran a defrag on the HD and started benching and overclocking.

Sisoft Sandra was used to check the memory bandwidth and 3D mark to check the overall speed. HD-Tach measures the CPU usage while using the IDE controllers. [H] UT2003 benchmarking was also used for overall speed.
And finally SuperPi, which is a great benchmark to check the raw power of the memory and cpu together. This actually means the power and speed of the chipset.

I ran most of the benchmarks in 3 ways:


  • FSB: 133 / Memory speed: 200

  • FSB: 166 / Memory speed: 200

  • The Maximum of the motherboard and ram



I kept the CPU speed constant on 1500Mhz during testing by changing the multiplier.

But I came across some issues. On the ECS I wasn't able to run the ram on aggressive timing, although the ram was capable of doing that. Because of this setback, I choose to use same timings for the first 2 benchmarks. I adjusted the timings to the weakest/slowest board.

This way we have a chipset comparison, which is not influenced by fast or slow ram. As for the last test, I tried to get the max stable out of both boards.

Let the [M]adness begin...
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