The Dilemma

Now it's time to put all those theories to test, in August of 1997, the Intel 440LX chipset was the thing to get. Not even a year later, that 440LX was replaced by the 440BX which offered a few improvements that were absolutely "necessary" to have an up-to-date system (as to why the 440BX couldn't have been released instead of the 440LX, that's a different question). There were many users that for one reason or another, purchased a dual processor LX motherboard, in hopes of continuing their investment into the next year as a high end, performance system. However with the Pentium II 350, 400, and 450s requiring the 100MHz Front Side Bus, many users were left out in the cold as far as possible upgrades were concerned. The only option seemed to be, a new BX motherboard + Pentium II upgrade, an admittedly costly expense, with often times, not too great of a performance increase just to support the latest technology. Fortunately, if you had the foresight of purchasing a dual processor LX motherboard, or if you currently have an older Pentium II chip and don't feel comfortable ditching a $300 chip for a new motherboard and a $500 CPU, you still may have some hope left.

AnandTech put together a cost efficient dual processor system, made out of an older Dual Processor LX Motherboard (the Soyo SY-6KD) and two Pentium II processors running at 300MHz a piece, as well as an upgraded single processor BX system consisting of an affordable Shuttle HOT-661P BX Motherboard and a single Pentium II processor running at 450MHz, and put them both to the test. In the past, testing the efficiency of multiprocessor systems required either, benchmarks that were primarily raw CPU power and didn't reflect actual performance differences in real world applications, or customizing your own benchmarks, which could potentially be difficult to replicate by other users interested in comparing their systems. Luckily, the people over at the Ziff Davis Benchmark Operations included a new test in their Winstone 99 Benchmark Suite designed specifically for multiprocessor systems. Using the three programs which make up the Dual Processor Test Suite of Winstone 99, Adobe. Photoshop. 4.01, Bentley System's MicroStation. SE, and Microsoft. Visual C++. 5.0, AnandTech was able to pit the two identically configured systems head to head, in a battle where only one could emerge victoriously. The results were quite varied greatly, depending on the application run, however you can take a look for yourself at the benchmark results from the tests.

The rest of the system, other than the motherboards/processors mentioned above, was configured as follows:

  • Memory Man PC100 SDRAM
  • 9GB IBM Ultrastar Ultra Wide SCSI-3 HDD
  • Adaptec 2940 Ultra Wide SCSI PCI Controller Card
  • Matrox Millennium G200 (16MB) AGP Video Card
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 with Service Pack 3 Installed
  • The latest device drivers as of January 3, 1999 were installed
  • All tests were run at 1024 x 768 x 16-bit color at a 75Hz refresh rate
Necessity is the Mother of Invention The Test

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