In our recent AMD Athlon XP Chipset Shootout, as editor, I failed to observe that Fast Writes was not enabled on our KT400A sample from DFI USA but was enabled with the other two comparison boards - VIA KT400 and nVidia nForce2 - making our benchmark findings invalid in the graphics department. Fast Writes, a method which allows the AGP controller to bypass the CPU and chipset and write directly to main system memory quicker, was enabled inside the DFI KT400A motherboard BIOS but was somehow disabled in Windows while the other two boards had Fast Writes enabled in Windows, without any problems.
Earlier this week VIA Technologies let us know that there was a problem with our results and how our KT400A sample was not performing as fast as it should as represented by other tech sites. We decided it would be in our best interests (and yours) to re-test the DFI KT400A motherboard with latest BIOS revision from the DFI website and forced Fast Writes to see what difference it would make from what VIA recommended to us and to see what was going on. The new results showed an improvement under 3DMark 2001 SE of 870 3DMarks bringing its score up to 14,911. This improved result for the KT400A is still 446 3DMarks slower than its predecessor, the KT400, according to our findings.
We are at a loss as to why it would be slower even after tuning BIOS settings for optimal configuration as per VIA's guidance. Maybe we were supplied a motherboard from DFI with issues, but we cannot be positive of that either. Maybe the MSI KT400 motherboard was more highly tuned but we could not find anything which proved this. We made a clear mistake in our testing by not double checking to see if Fast Writes was enabled or not. We will endeavor to make sure it never happens again but errors like this do tend to happen from time which we do our very best try to keep at a minimum.
- The article will be updated to reflect changes ASAP.