|Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P X58 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 24 January 2009|
Page 12 of 17
3DMark is a computer benchmark by Futuremark (formerly named Mad Onion) to determine the DirectX 9 performance of 3D game performance with graphics cards. 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests.
3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today. Some enthusiasts may note that Benchmark Reviews does not include CPU-bound tests in our benchmark battery, and that only graphic-bound tests are included.
Here at Benchmark Reviews, we believe that synthetic benchmark tools are just as valuable as video games, but only so long as you're comparing apples to apples. Since the same test is applied in the same controlled method with each test run, I believe 3DMark is a very reliable tool for comparing graphic cards against one-another.
Using the 1920x1200 resolution as a baseline, the maximum settings were applied to 3dMark06 which for these tests include 8x Anti-Aliasing and 16x Anisotropic Filtering. For years now people have revolved around the 3dMark score, which is a composite number that includes CPU and other factors. For this test series, I decided to instead display each test individually, showing the frame rate for each benchmark.
Beginning with Shader Model 2.0 tests, Return to Proxycon is a fast-paced fast-moving scene that puts strain on the GPU by calling for low-graphical demand with high-speed output. In this series the Gigabyte GA-EX58-UD4P, GA-EX58-EXTREME and Intel DX58SO all rendered virtually identical 43 FPS frame rates using the Core i7-920 and GeForce GTX 285. However, the GA-X48T-DQ6 and GA-EP45T-EXTREME did not fare so well and could barely muster 27 FPS.
The second SM 2.0 test was Firefly Forest, which demands more graphics processing and produced similar results (again) between the three X58-Express motherboards with 34-35 FPS each. The older X48 and P45 motherboards were limited to 27 FPS. Using the same video card and driver between these different platforms (X58, X48, and P45) indicates the less-intensive Shader Model 2.0 tests actually create a separation between the series. Let's see if SM 3.0 reacts the same way...
The first test in the Shader Model 3.0 and HDR (High Dynamic Range) series is Canyon Flight. Based on our results, the X58 platforms hover around 43 FPS while the X48 and P45 chipsets were close behind with 40 FPS. It's strange that there was a much larger disparity between these platforms in the SM 2.0 tests, but heading into the second test scene, Deep Freeze, it becomes much less evident.
Possible as a result of less onboard-overhead, the Gigabyte EX58-UD4P enjoyed a fractional lead of the EX58-EXTREME and Intel SmackOver desktop motherboards. The older X48- and P45-based platform held tight only two frames behind the leaders.
The conclusion I've drawn here is that 3dMark06 has very little reliance on the processor or memory sub-system, which may translate into real-world gaming. If the GPU is isolated, it won't matter which motherboard you're using. But we all know that games come in a variety of CPU- or GPU-bound flavors, so we'll do the best we can to demonstrate this point.
In our next section, PCMark Vantage is tested on 64-bit Windows Vista SP-1.