Gaming Performance


Gaming Performance - SLI

Gaming Performance - SLI

Gaming Performance - SLI

Gaming Performance - SLI

Gaming Performance - SLI

Gaming Performance - SLI

Single Video

Gaming Performance - Single Video

Gaming Performance - Single Video

Gaming Performance - Single Video

Gaming Performance - Single Video

Gaming Performance - Single Video

Gaming Performance - Single Video

If there is any area where Dual x16 SLI will make a difference, it is in gaming. However, given the state of current PCIe video cards, we really didn't expect any increases in performance in moving from dual x8 to dual x16, and certainly no performance increase in comparing current x16 single video to the Asus A8N 32-SLI Deluxe x16 single video.

Since the DFI and Asus were both tested with the same CPU, memory, video cards, and video drivers, let's compare performance in SLI mode as a percentage increase in the six tested games.

SLI - NVIDIA 81.85 Drivers, 6.82 Platform
Game DFI nF4 SLI-DR (2 x8) Asus A8N32-SLI (2 x16) % Increase
Aquamark 3 86332 87813 +1.7
Far Cry 74.3 78.3 +5.4
Doom 3 95.0 95.9 +1.0
Splinter Cell-Chaos Theory 76.0 77.7 +2.2
Quake 4 94.5 102.1 +8.0
F.E.A.R. 74.0 80 +8.1

Using the same video drivers and components, the Asus Dual x16 was 1% to 8.1% faster than the DFI Dual x8. These increases are small enough that we took a closer look at single card performance to see if the real difference was Dual x16 or something else.

Single Video - NVIDIA 81.85 Drivers, 6.82 Platform
Game DFI nF4 SLI-DR (1 x16) Asus A8N32-SLI (1 x16) % Increase
Aquamark 3 82608 84089 +1.8
Far Cry 47.3 47.5 +0.4
Doom 3 53.3 53.3 0.0
Splinter Cell-Chaos Theory 40.5 47.5 +17.3
Quake 4 70.1 78.3 +11.7
F.E.A.R. 49 56 +14.3

In single video card mode, we were completely surprised to find performance increases on the Asus as high as 17.3%. This is an even higher performance increase than SLI mode, but in this case, both the DFI and Asus are running a single card in x16 mode. How is this possible? We re-ran benches several times and attained the same results. It is also interesting that while there is almost no increase in single mode in "older" games, the newest and most demanding titles show the biggest increases.

Perhaps the MCP51 is more efficient than the older nF4 SLI chip, or perhaps the design of the AMD Dual x16 improves video performance across the board. Or maybe the 8-phase Asus design really makes a difference. We won't know the true answer until we do much more testing on the new Dual x16 boards. Whatever the explanations that will be found, it is clear that the Asus A8N32-SLI is slightly faster in older game titles in both single-video and SLI modes. In newer and more demanding games, the Asus can be 8% to 17% faster than the best of the current dual x8 solutions.

Graphics Performance and Encoding NVIDIA SLI-AA


View All Comments

  • GliderPilot - Monday, January 09, 2006 - link

    Well i have finally gotten my replacement board, and again i have a major issue with it. It seems that in some fit of wisdom, one of asus's underpaid engineers placed a heatpipe right in the way of the x4 PCIe slot. You might not have a use for them, but i certainly do. I have a PowerColor Theatre 550Pro x1 TV Tuner that is right now occupying an x16 slot. While i dont intend to do SLI, i would dearly like to have dual tuners without having to have one on pci, the other on PCIe Reply
  • wbloon - Sunday, December 18, 2005 - link

    I'm not a big gamer. But I currently drive 2 monitors and with the new system want to drive at least 3 monitors and possibly a TV.

    So my question is can I drive two video boards but not in SLI mode, since it is my understanding that SLI will only drive one monitor.

    I understand that I could get away with a board like the DFI Ultra and have 16 lanes to one card and 4 lanes to another and that would probably meet my needs but I'd like stretch the envelope where ever possible because the future keeps coming despite my best efforts.

    Terry Clark
  • GliderPilot - Monday, January 09, 2006 - link

    unless you are gaming on both cards (which probably wont) having 4 lanes is more than sufficient. The bandwidth would be comparable to AGP4 in the downstream. This solution is about as future proof as it gets. To answer your question, yes this board basically has 2 full bandwidth X16 slots, what you do with them is up to you. Buying this board soley for the extra 16 lanes is really a waste of money, unless there is some other reason you like it Reply
  • BibbidyBobidyBoo - Wednesday, December 07, 2005 - link

    I recently purchased this motherboard and an Antec NeoHe 550W PS and the combo worked great for about 5 to 10 min and then the computer spontaneously shuts down. The issue is with the PS not the MB. The Antec TruePowerII 550W PS works just fine. I believe the incompatibility is from the amount of current supplied on the 12V and 5V lines, it may match the ATX2.2 spec however it is not completely backwards compatible with this Asus MB.

    Beware this issue has also been noted on other Asus MB’s.">Newegg Customer Reviews">

  • JNo - Thursday, November 10, 2005 - link

    Can someone confirm to me that no single x16 video slot version of this Asus motherboard exists? I get the impression that none does. Also, anyone know if the latest zalman CPU coolers fit? Finally, I know most here wouldn't care for the Asus automatic overclocking results but for someone like me, can you please inform me, Wesley, as to how much of a boost does the inbuilt Asus overclocking facility provide please?
    Many thanks
  • Capt Caveman - Monday, November 14, 2005 - link

    Umm, this new chipset is for SLI, thus the chipset name x16 SLI. The pci-e video slot is already x16 on every single video slot socket 939 pci-e motherboard. Up til now, SLI motherboards had to split the x16 into two x8 pci-e graphic slots. Thus, you will never see a single slot video care motherboard using this chipset.

    And yes, it has been confirmed by current users that the Zalman coolers fit.

    Due to the fact that Asus's Overclocking Utilities lack a number of settings that are available in the bios, ie. memory settings, you'll only be able to get a small overclock before the system becomes instable. Overclocking via the bios is the only way to go to ensure a stable overclock.
  • qquizz - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    Whatever happened to BF2 benchies? Reply
  • huges84 - Monday, November 07, 2005 - link


    We will be adding Battlefield 2 and Call of Duty 2 benchmarks in future reviews. The benchmarks that we have been testing for these two games are not completely reliable for both single-video and SLI testing, so they were not usable in a review that compares SLI performance. As we find solutions to these issues, we will benchmark with these new games.

    Quoted from page 7
  • DieLate - Sunday, November 06, 2005 - link

    Wesley, any chance of a measurement of northbridge & "stack cool" heatsinks? If you or someone else with one could measure how high off the motherboard they rise, that would be great.

    I'm hoping the Thermaltake Big Typhoon or Thermalright SI-120 would fit, as they have somewhere around 2" raised off the board (though the heatpipes might still hit the northbridge heatsink :( ).
  • DieLate - Tuesday, November 08, 2005 - link

    I have confirmed elsewhere the TT BT fits without any issues.

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