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This chapter is from the book

This chapter is from the book

How We Test Motherboards

To test the performance of the boards and chipsets, we run our usual suite of tests that stress memory bandwidth, the CPU, and hard drive performance. We use SYSmark 2004 (for extensive information on this all-knowing benchmark, turn to page 146) to gauge application performance. For games, we run Quake III Arena, Unreal Tournament 2003, 3DMark2001 SE, and AquaMark 3 benchmarks. We use SiSoft Sandra 2004 to measure memory bandwidth, and we also throw in Premiere Pro, SPEC's ViewPerf 7.11, and our standard Photoshop 7 test for good measure.

In an effort to reproduce "real-world" conditions, we assiduously try to avoid using engineering samples; essentially hand-made by mobo manufacturers, these early boards can be tweaked and rarely match the results of the final product. Instead, we rely on production-quality motherboards from two top manufacturers.

When possible, we try to use the fastest possible CPUs for testing. For our "VIA vs. the World" mobo feature in the May 2004 issue of Maximum PC, for example, we used a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition for the Intel chipsets, and the new Athlon 64 FX-53 in Socket 940 boards for the AMD tests.

It's critically important that, during testing, we isolate variables by using the same hardware components and drivers across the board.

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