Game Performance Comparison, Continued




In our two games that tend to be GPU limited we see the i865 AGP/DDR solution scoring a win in Prey and coming in second in Serious Sam II where the Intel 945P pulls out a close victory at DDR2-667 settings. The VIA PT880 Pro performance trails the other solutions in SS2, similar to its Quake 4 performance. The difference is only 3-5%, though, so if the features offered (DDR and DDR2 support, AGP and PCIe support) interest you, it's still not a bad choice.

The sweet spot for gaming with this particular video card seems to be at low latency DDR2-667 settings as DDR2-800 provides negligible benefits. We are sure with lower latencies at DDR2-800 and a more powerful GPU solution that we would see further scaling increases in performance. However, for a value based system having DDR2 memory capable of 3-4-3 operation at DDR2-667 or DDR memory that does 2-2-2 at DDR400 is more than sufficient. Your money is best spent on a higher end GPU solution backed by a stable motherboard and a processor like the E6300/6400 Core 2 Duo for Intel systems or a AMD 3800+ X2 for the S939 or AM2 platforms.

Quick Take

Our conclusion from the first article still holds true. A user's choice of memory on our tested platforms is not going to make a huge difference considering the components and benchmarks utilized. The only difference in our expectations was just how close each chipset performed to the other during testing. We also ran our entire benchmark test suite and had the same overall results between chipsets. We came to a sudden and abrupt realization that features have increased dramatically in recent years but chipset performance has not for most users, certainly not to the degree of CPU or GPU improvements.

We did have a couple of surprises during testing and it caused us to retest the boards involved and also verify the results with different memory. One of these surprises centered on our choice for the Intel P965 and 975X chipsets. Our Biostar and DFI boards were the least expensive in their respective categories. We found out that except for the gaming performance of the Biostar board at DDR2-533, the P965 chipset is very competitive if not better performing than the 975X chipset when utilized with mid-range components. In our lab testing of overclocked boards with high end components we generally find the 975X based boards to be better performers in all areas. Unless you are matching high end components and plan on serious overclocking then a solid P965 or for that matter a 945P motherboard is sufficient for the low-end Core 2 Duo processors. In fact, we highly recommend the ASRock ConRoeXFire-eSATA2 and 775Dual-VSTA at this time for their unbeatable combination of price and performance in the budget sector for Core 2 Duo capable boards.

However, the biggest surprise was the overall performance of the ASRock 775i65G board as it was just as competitive with the other chipsets in our testing and proved to be extremely stable with every benchmark or application we threw at it. Who knew that AGP 8x and DDR would still be this competitive after a myriad of chipset, memory, CPU, and GPU enhancements over the last three years? [Ed:sarcastic reflection] While both technologies have come to their end we find it comforting to know that if you own either then you can still upgrade to the fastest processor series currently available and not worry about general system performance. That is unless you want to play the latest games at 1600x1200; in that case we will grudgingly have to advise you to go buy that PCI Express 7950 GX2 or X1900 XT along with the required components to support it. Until you reach the point where you're ready to make such an expenditure, these value based motherboards from ASRock are a wise purchase to extend the life of your current investment.

Game Performance Comparison
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  • Kiijibari - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    Hi,

    first I have to say, that it is a nice review, I liked it. I only have one minor critic with the following piece of text:
    quote:

    The sweet spot for gaming with this particular video card seems to be at low latency DDR2-667 settings as DDR2-800 provides negligible benefits. We are sure with lower latencies at DDR2-800 and a more powerful GPU solution that we would see further scaling increases in performance.


    I strongly doubt, that you'll see any benefits with DDR2-800 modules, regardless of the GPU, because you forgot that the FSB1066 is limiting factor. Furthermore I assume, that the DDR2-667 scores are just better because of the better absolut memory latency.

    Well, as you stated, your scores may be better again with DDR2-800 RAMs @CL3, but I think that such expensive oc modules are out of question in the low cost context of the article.

    cheers

    Kiijibari
    Reply
  • giantpandaman2 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Is there any way that you guys not use red and orange on the same graph? It's difficult to discern between the two. I mean, it's definitely possible, but it's a pain. Reply
  • Paradox999 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive. What I want to know is:

    what are the overclocking / voltage options and do they work with the Conroe?
    I was seriously considering buying the 775DUAL-VSTA ... but since I'm running an overclocked D820 / 2 gig Mushkin DDR500 / AGP Radeon x850 XTPE.

    Why bother with DDR2 as an upgrade path on the 775DUAL-VSTA when it doesn't make all that much difference and if I have to buy a new PCI card it'll have to be a very good one to best my overclocked x850 .... and that means I would want to stick it into a better motherboard than the 775DUAL-VSTA.

    All I would need is the ASRock 775i65G and the Conroe for an upgrade that seems the best deal around. Who's with me ????
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    775i65G?
    Exactly what i've been trying to find for the last week! :-)
    But no luck getting any U.S. vendor too specify that they will ship me an R2 board.
    Try googling 775i65G R2 and you'll find as many as you want...in Australia, U.K., Europe, etc...what's the deal with U.S. resellers?
    I'm going to try emailing the article's author...
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...">http://www.mwave.com/mwave/skusearch.hmx?SCriteria...

    In stock at the above link, called them and they have a few of the rev. 2 boards in stock. The other board to have if you want the i865 chipset is the ConRoe865PE which should be released in a couple of weeks.
    Reply
  • Paradox999 - Tuesday, August 15, 2006 - link

    I would love if Anandtech would get Asrock to supply one of these ConRoe865PE boards for comparison testing. I saw that board at the Asrock site a while ago but couldn't find anyone in North America selling it.

    Asrock seems to slowly be creeping up from the back into the enthousiiast (on a buget) market. The first thing I would fix if I were them is add solid voltage control for the CPU and memory.

    I'm an enthusiast but I hate dropping tons of cash for top drawer hardware when I can have very respectable performance by carefully selecting less expensive hardware.

    Go Asrock!
    Reply
  • hibachirat - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Thanks, i guess i should have called them. This was their email response:

    "Dear Valued Customer,
    Unfortuantely, we are unable to guarantee what version of this motherboard we have. We do apologize for the inconvenience.
    Mwave.com"
    Reply
  • Gary Key - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    quote:

    You guys need to seriously have a deeper look at the ASRock 775i65G sisnce it obviously is extremely competitive.


    We will have a comparison article with it and the other value boards in the near future.
    Reply
  • Optimummind - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    I'm thinking about purchasing this board along with a Conroe CPU until the prices come down on the higher-model mobos such as the Asus P5W-DH. My most pressing question is how much of a bottleneck in gaming performance will be introduced as a result of ASRock including only PCIe x4 for the GPU.

    I believe that in order to answer that question, a higher performing GPU needs to be used rather than a 7600GS. Could you guys also include an extra table/graph including a comparison between a 7800GS AGP 8x and 7800GS PCIe?

    The reason I want to know is because I want to whether or not putting a DX10 card in the ASRock PCIe x4 slot will bottleneck the GPU.

    Or, could you guys compare the performance of a 7900GT in the ASRock board with a 7900GT GPU in a P965, P975, or other mobos that has the full PCIe x16 connection? I don't to know what difference in performance there will be and to see if it's worth putting a 7900GT PCIe in the ASRock board.

    Reply
  • Paladin165 - Monday, August 14, 2006 - link

    Do you think adding better cooling on the chipset would improve FSB overclocking on this board? Reply

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