One of the first things I noticed was that even with the latest 4-in-1 drivers installed, the system was prone to hanging when running 3D applications. Memories of the Apollo Pro 133A started coming back, and I had doubts if VIA could prove its worth to me. Fortunately my fellow reviewer, Cameron "Sov" Johnson, came to the rescue with updated AGP drivers that fixed the hanging with the GeForce3 card. But when a GeForce2 MX was installed, the hanging was still there. Nothing I tried could fix it, so I gave up and conducted all the benchmarks with the GeForce3.
The review system contained the following components:
- 1GHz Intel Pentium III "Coppermine" CPU
- 256MB Apacer CAS-2 PC-2100 DDR SDRAM
- 15.3GB Western Digital Caviar 153BA 7200RPM Hard Drive
- 2 x 6.4GB Quantum Fireball 5400RPM Drives in RAID-0
- 64MB DDR SGRAM Leadtek GeForce3 TD Graphics Card
The following benchmarks were used:
- MadOnion's 3DMark2001
- id Software's Quake III Arena v1.27g (VIA Arena demo)
- HD Tach v2.60 and v2.61
- SiSoft Sandra 2001te
All benchmarks were run 3 times, and the average obtained. Testing resolution was 1024x768 pixels at 32bit color depth. So without further ado, here are your benchmarks:
- SiSoft Sandra 2001 CPU Benchmark
Despite being marginally slower than the reference 1GHz Pentium III platform, the AX37 Plus does reasonably well here. This indicates AOpen's historical dependency to focus on stability over speed, a decision I certainly commend.
- SiSoft Sandra 2001 Multimedea Benchmark
This benchmark shows the AX37 Plus trailing the reference Pentium III platform by a slight margin, but as this is not indicative of its real-world performance, I'm not too concerned.
- SiSoft Sandra 2001 Memory Benchmark
What can I say but WOW! The AX37 Plus left scorch marks behind in the memory bandwidth test, being the only Pentium III chipset here to hit the magic 500MB/sec mark. You may ask why the performance was more impressive here than in the reference system? CAS-2 memory and 4-way memory interleaving are the key to speed.