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EPoX 9NDA3+ Socket 939 (nForce3 Ultra) Motherboard Review

By: Mike Wright | NVIDIA Chipset in Motherboards | Posted: Feb 3, 2005 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: EPoX

Test System Setup and Methodology

 

As I have pointed out before, most of our readership falls into either the enthusiast or hardcore gamer categories so I will maintain a series of tests with this type of user in mind. Our selection is a mixture of synthetic, gaming and real-world applications that should give us a pretty good idea as to strong and weak points in the motherboard.

 

Before we go further, let's take a quick look at the test system setup and the utilities being used for testing.

 

Test System Setup

 

EPoX 9NDA3+ Motherboard (Supplied by EPoX)

 

AMD Athlon 64 FX-53 Processor (Supplied by Newegg.com)

 

2x 256MB OCZ PC3500 Platinum Memory (Supplied by OCZ)

 

Thermaltake PurePower 480-watt Butterfly (Supplied by Thermaltake)

 

Sapphire X800 XT PE Graphics Card (Supplied by Sapphire)

 

Western Digital 80GB 7,200 RPM SATA Hard Drive

 

Test Suite

 

SiSoft Sandra 2004 SP2b

 

MadOnion 3DMark2001

 

Futuremark 3DMark03

 

Futuremark PCMark04

 

HD Tach 3 RW

 

CINEBENCH 2003

 

AquaMark 3

 

Quake III Arena

 

Unreal Tournament 2004 (full version)

 

Doom 3

 

Cool 'n Quiet (a fan speed/power saving feature) was disabled during testing so it wouldn't be a factor in overall results. Memory timings used were 2-3-3-7 on the OCZ memory modules with a 1T Command Rate. Windows was updated to SP1 (I'm still not confident enough in Microsoft to implement SP2, sorry) and all test programs were updated to their latest version with the exception of Quake III Arena. This program was left in its original state so we could continue to use the Demo001 file included with the game.

 

Drivers used for testing consisted of the ATI Catalyst 4.8 for the Sapphire video board and nVidia Unified Driver 4.27. While the drivers are not the most current, they were the same series used on previous motherboard testing so I used these to give us comparable results in our tests. After our formal testing I updated all drivers to their current versions and noted slight gains in all tests but 3DMark 03 and AquaMark 3. The first title scored about 150 points lower and the second title scored an impressive 8000 points higher (1800 points higher in the video scores).

 

SiSoft Sandra

 

Version and / or Patch Used: 2004 SP2b

 

Developer Homepage: http://www.sisoftware.co.uk

 

Product Homepage: http://sisoftware.jaggedonline.com/index.php?location=home&a=TTA&lang=en

 

Buy It Here

 

 

SiSoft Sandra (System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is a synthetic Windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.

 

 

Since I am using other utilities and programs to help test for CPU prowess, I only used Sandra for memory benchmarking. Sandra is one of the basic tools for testing this type of performance so it is included in our suite. After all, we're looking for tests that you can run on your own systems to give a direct comparison.

 

Overall scores were very close but the EPoX board did manage to squeak out a victory in the ALU test phase.

 

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