Here we have our real gaming tests. Each of the games we chose use multiple cores and GPUs. They are able to stress the system through use of good AI. Both have decent positional audio that adds impact to the sound subsystem of the board. We ran each game through the level or parts listed and recorded frames per second using FRAPS. This brings the whole game into play.
*** A word on gaming as a motherboard test ***
Despite the fact that most games are very GPU limited, we are still noticing HDD and even audio creating issues in gaming performance. Because of this you may see differences in the number of frames rendered per second between different boards. Usually the difference is very small, but occasionally because of bad tracing, poor memory or HDD performance, this difference is significant. The issues are often more prevalent in older versions of DirectX, but can still pop up in DX10 and 11.
Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0
Timedemo or Level Used: Cell level until you evolve and leave the oceans
Developer Homepage: http://www.ea.com
Product Homepage: http://www.spore.com
Anyone remember Spore from EA? It was one of the most pirated games of 2008. It achieved this status because of a now infamous DRM scheme that locked out paying consumers from playing the game after 2-3 installs of the software. The problem was that many consumers got locked out on the first run.
But all that aside, the game was a very fun one that put you into a burgeoning world as a new creature. You had to find food to grow and survive. At stages in the game you were able to evolve into a more capable creature after acquiring more DNA and finding new "features".
Ok, the NM10-DTX is not a gaming board. Our best runs were at 800x600 and we barely topped out at 16FPS average, with low points in the single digits. Spore "felt" playable, but at times would seem to seriously lag and stutter. The image quality at 800x600 was not pretty to see, especially on the large 27-inch monitor from Scepter.
If you are looking for a small system to play a few games on, the NM10-DTX is not it. It can run them, but we found that many games would not load. We had intended to use SIMS 3, but that game told us that our GPU was not able to support playback despite the 3150 being listed as a DX10 GPU.
We ran into the same thing with 3DMark Vantage. Your game choices here are going to be extremely limited by the GPU that is built into the CPU die. You can attach a better GPU thankfully and you will get much better performance from even a very low end discrete GPU. We dropped in a HD 5450 to maintain the silent aspect of the system and saw vastly improved results, as you can see from the charts above.