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


View All Comments

  • ShadowVlican - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    well i hope i can buy the Xpress200.... ATi ain't real until i can buy their motherboards readily everywhere i go (like nVidia's NF4) Reply
  • Beenthere - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    It's no secret ATI has the ability to produce equal or better chipsets and GPUs than Nvidia - they have done this before. What ATI needs to do is get their sh*t together on the details and CUSTOMER SERVICE - Yeah, they've heard of it but evidently they don't know the MEANING OF IT ! Nvidia ain't much better, but ATI's so called Customer Support is a bad joke. Delivering what you promise is a VERY IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION when you are charging the enthusists market segment El PREMO PRICES for your hardware and you had better DELIVER THE GOODS. ATI has failed miserably and Nvidia ain't far behind despite the fact both companies have reaped fortunes from the consumer enthusiast market. Until both companies improve their CUSTOMER SUPPORT neither are getting any of our corporate dollars. Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Okay so the first good vendor (Asus or similar) to come out with a passively-cooled northbridge, the ALC-880"D" audio chip, a Southbridge with better USB performance, and the rest (it can even be a single GPU board so it's under or around $100 in price) gets my money. =P Reply
  • yacoub - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Okay that wasn't supposed to reply to your post. Interesting. Reply
  • Live - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Does ATI crossfire support NCQ hard drives or not? Have I understood it correctly in that it is not supported trough the 4 SATA ports from the Southbridge but you can get support from the 2 ports from the included Sil controller?

    I have read the">What's in a name? SATA II Misconceptions
    But I still fail to get the facts straight. Does a SATA 2 controller, either from a SB or separate like the Sli, support all of the capabilities in the SATA 2 specs as long as the hard drive does so?

    Since I plan on going dual core next, no NCQ seems like a deal breaker to me.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    The SB450 Southbridge does not support NCQ. The ULi M1573, used on the retail Gigabyte Crossfire AMD and some upcoming retail boards, DOES support NCQ. The Silicon Image 3132 on the ATI Reference Board supports both NCQ and 3Gb SATA2 on the extra SATA ports.

    The just introduced ULi M1575 Southbridge, which can be used with the ATI Crossfire Northbridge (as soon as it hits the market) supports 3Gb SATA2, NCQ, PCIe Gigabit Ethernet, Azalia HD audio, and features competitive USB throughput. The ATI SB600 will also implement all these features.
  • etriky - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    Anyone have some links to shed some light on this quote.

    "There is a lot of discussion on the web these days claiming that you can minimize the impact of the 2T setting with certain options on Revision E AMD processors."

    I've done some searches and come up with nothing.

  • bigtoe36 - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    forcing a burst length of 8 and forcing burst2opt can bring back some of the lost performance going to 2T, both these features are on the crossfire reference board.

    Also, i mamaged to talk DFI into making a direct copy of the ATI reference that will run reference bios files, we should see this board in October. This board will be released along side the board already designed by you will have the choice of 2 CF boards from DFI.
  • Palek - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link

    On page 1, 2nd paragraph the article says:
    "AMD had done a particularly excellent job targeting the enthusiast for the new chipset launch, but that realization seemed to come late in the chipset development process."
    I suspect that AMD should be ATI.
    On page 3, 1st paragraph:
    "AMD Crossfire" first, then "Crossfire AMD" later. "ATI Crossfire" or "ATI Crossfire AMD" may be less confusing.
    Also on page 3, in last paragraph "AMD Reference Board" is used twice, but the board is referred to earlier on in the article as the "ATI Crossfire AMD Reference Board". "AMD Reference Board" makes it sound like AMD made it.

    How hot did the northbridge get during various phases of your testing? I think a lot of users would appreciate some info regarding operational temperatures. If the ATI chipset turns out to run a lot cooler than nForce4 chipsets, I will gladly forgive the USB speed problems and go with an easier to cool motherboard.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, September 27, 2005 - link


    See other comments for NB heat and cooling. My subjective observation is the ATI Northbridge is cooler during heavy OC than the nF4 under the same conditions. However, many of you push boards a lot further than I do so you can take that with a grain of salt. ATI designed this board for the enthusiast and extrene overclocking and temperature under stress was a definite design consideration.

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