Battle of the Boards
Athlons Dominate Our Gaming Tests
Today's games are typically played at resolutions of 1024 by 768 pixels and higher, but at those resolutions, the graphics board's processor does the bulk of the work. We ran our frame-rate tests at 640 by 480 and at 800 by 600 in order to keep the workload on the motherboard, CPU, and RAM.
Thanks to a slightly faster CPU, the average for Athlon 64 motherboards was higher than the average for our tested Pentium 4 boards, by a significant 8 percent. The standout Athlon 64 board was the MSI K8N Neo4 Platinum/SLI which bested the average Athlon 64 board by nearly 7 percent.
The spread was narrower among Pentium 4 boards, where the slowest, Abit's Fatal1ty AA8XE (named after a successful pro gamer), finished a scant 4 percent behind the leader. But then, that board was meant to be overclocked, and we don't test overclockability since results can vary between different samples of a given board, and finding stable settings can be a time-consuming endeavor.