My benchmarking methodology is as follows, perform each benchmark 3 times and take the average result. The benchmarks I used were SiSoft Sandra 2002 Professional, Quake III Arena, Expendable and 3DMark2001. Here are my system specifications:
Processor: 1.7GHz Intel Pentium 4 CPU
Memory: 256MB Apacer CAS-2 DDR SDRAM
Hard Drive: 15.3GB Western Digital Caviar 153BA 7200RPM Hard Disk Drive
Video Card: 32MB Prolink Pixelview GeForce2 MX AGP Graphics Card with nVidia v23.11 drivers
Sound Card: Creative SoundBlaster Live!
OS: Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional SP2
SiSoft Sandra CPU Benchmark
As one can see, the performance is certainly on par with what one would expect from a 1.7GHz Pentium 4.
SiSoft Sandra Multimedia Benchmark
This benchmark backs up the fact that Shuttle certainly knows how to design motherboards. Performance is certainly commendable.
SiSoft Sandra File System Benchmark
My primary hard disk drive is a 15.3GB Western Digital Caviar 153BA. This is now 20 months old, and was the first series of Caviar drives to be equipped with a 7200RPM spindle speed. Because this drive only utilises slower 10GB/platter technology, the result here is certainly very pleasing.
SiSoft Sandra Memory Benchmark
DDR SDRAM really gives the Pentium 4 the high bandwidth it requires. The main reason that the memory performance is slightly down on the 845D chipset is that Shuttle have slightly overclocked the AV40R. The memory clock is correspondingly set at 135MHz, and therefore my Apacer DDR SDRAM kicks down to CAS 2.5 settings. No amount of fiddling in the BIOS could get more performance out of the memory at CAS 2 without creating instability.
Quake III Arena
Due to my state-of-the-bunk GeForce2 MX, I decided I wouldn't run the Quake III Arena tests in 32-bit colour, especially since the VIA Arena demo is very taxing to begin with. A 70% drop in frame rate from lowest to highest resolution indicates I need a new video card :-)
Editor's Note: For those who have not had the opportunity to run the VIA Demo, it is a demo that was designed to thrash out a system and show the power of high-end video cards and DDR memory. If you would like to run it on your own system, then just download it from our "Downloads" page.
OK, pick on me for choosing an old demo. I chose Expendable because it doesn't tax the video card as much as Quake III Arena, and you can get a better view as to what the true capabilities of the board are.
Critics may be asking "Why is the resolution capped at 1152x864?" The answer is that I test with triple buffering ON, and my video card only has 32MB of RAM onboard. To test at 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 in 32-bit colour with triple buffering, I require 64MB of frame buffer memory, which I don't have :-(