Ethernet Performance

Ethernet Performance is tested using a procedure first described in a VIA white paper. The Windows 2000 Driver Development Kit (DDK) includes a useful LAN testing utility called NTttcp. We used the NTttcp tool to test Ethernet throughput and the CPU utilization of the various Ethernet Controllers used on the nForce4 Ultra motherboards.

We set up one machine as the server; in this case, an Intel box with an Intel CSA Gigabit LAN connection. Intel CSA has a reputation for providing fast throughput and this seemed a reasonable choice to serve our Gigabit LAN clients. At the server side, we used the following Command Line as suggested by the VIA whitepaper on LAN testing:
Ntttcps - m 4,0, -a 4 - l 256000 - n 30000
On the client side (the motherboard under test), we used the following Command Line:
Ntttcpr - m 4,0, -a 4 - l 256000 - n 30000
At the conclusion of the test, we captured the throughput and CPU utilization figures from the client screen.

Ethernet Throughput

Ethernet Overhead

Earlier reviews have already measured the performance advantage of PCI Express Ethernet compared to PCI Ethernet in Gigabit LAN performance. The ATI Crossfire AMD uses the Marvel 88E8052 Ethernet on the PCIe bus. The Marvel used by ATI competes very well with other PCIe Gigabit Ethernet with a throughput in the 950 Mb/sec range. CPU utilization was a very high 53% in a field where every Gigabit Ethernet controller on the PCIe bus measures CPU utilization of 35% to 56%.

CPU utilization measurements for Gigabit Ethernet can be somewhat misleading, since they measure the percentage of CPU tie-up at sustained Gigabit receiving. In reality, it would be very rare that you would actually see sustained Gigabit transmission levels on your PC. For that reason, you should put the measured CPU utilization of Gigabit PCIe LAN in perspective. It will almost always be much lower than what we have measured.

Firewire and USB Performance Audio Performance
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  • n00b1e - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Great article, but how about benchmarking real apps on the overclocked settings and comparing the result to the non-overclocked ones instead of just comparing the highest attainable memory/bus speed overclocks? Reply
  • Quanticles - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Another bought review...

    "The ATI Crossfire AMD has every option a serious overclocker could wish for."

    How about the option to use a CRT? I like to use 1600x1200 at 85 Hz.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    A 7800GTX or X1800 can easily do 1600x1200 at 85 Hz - and probably outperform X850XT Crossfire. It's all a matter of perspective.

    In addition, Derek has already said the next gen (X1800), due out in less than 2 weeks, does not have this limitation in Crossfire mode. That's why he did not recommend Crossfire X850/X800 and said to wait a short while. THAT Crossfire solution will also work on this board.
    Reply
  • ChronoReverse - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Red Herring. We're talking about the motherboard and how wellit can overclock the cpu). The graphics card is irrelevant (and the limitation on the xfire cards themselves not the motherboard). Reply
  • Myrandex - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    2nd page:
    The various ATI Radeon Xpress 200 north bridges can also be combined with ULi south bridges. The current ULi 1573 provides all the features of the ATI BS450 except integrated Gigabit Ethernet.

    should be SB450
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    I have spoken witrh ATI and several mfgs this morning to update board availability. Between today and the 2nd week of October we should see RETAIL Crossfire motherboards appear from DFI, Gigabyte, ECS, MSI, Asus and a few others. RETAIL availability means you will be able to buy them at New Egg or other e'tailers at that time.

    X850XT Master Cards are expected to be for sale RETAIL tomorrow, September 28th, with X800 Master Cards several weeks away.

    I have a Gigabyte Crossfire AMD in my hands as I write this. It is the release Vewrsion 1.0 board and I received the release BIOS this morning.
    Reply
  • eastvillager - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    "yeah, we know our usb performance sucks on SB400, we're fixing it in SB450"

    "Yeah, we know our usb performance sucks on SB450, we're fixing it in SB600"

    prediction:

    "Yeah, we still don't have USB 2.0 working properly on SB600, wait till SB700, when USB 3.0 comes out and we'll be ok."

    Kind of hard to understand how they can do just about everything else on the mobo correctly, but continually screw up USB 2.0. USB 2.0 is a commodity at this point, it is just suppose to work, with no worries, etc.

    I use USB 2.0 on a daily basis, it really isn't an area I'm willing to slack on.
    Reply
  • Leper Messiah - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Hm. I'm getting a new mobo soon (as in the next 2 weeks). Is this a paper launch, or will we see single slot solutions out there soon? nVidia has set a precedent with the instant availiblity and massive volume (relatively, I mean they're selling below MSRP for a reason) of their 7800 series. It could be more damaging than delaying the R520 if they don't have it and this mobo out STAT.


    Would be kinda funny though...for years I've run nVidia chipsets and ATi graphics. Looks like it might get reversed...
    Reply
  • allnighter - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Agreed. Not that I'm referring to AT's conclusions being questionable in any way, shape or manner, I know they say what they see, but it's pretty much obvious that ever manufacturer/vendor simply handpicks any given piece of hardware that is sent to AT for review, since they all know that AT is pretty much the most trusted site. Although I appreciate early previews we get here, I'm a much bigger fan of reviews of retail products. That's about what you'll be able to buy, right away or in just a couple of weeks. Many of these reference pieces are on steroids and simply never materialize in real world performance.
    Other than that - a very good write up, as usuall.
    Reply
  • TehSloth - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Well mates, this sure does look nifty, but remember what happened to the RS480, which also received Anand's accolades as the best overclocking reference board ever, they couldn't release it right. The Gigabyte board that they talk about in the article was never actually released, and I have a long chain of correspondence with them as it got pushed back more and more. MSI, ECS, and Jetway were the only manufacturers that delivered, and they disabled all the OCing options. Psshhhah! Reply

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