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Reviewed by: Trevor Flynn [03.12.03]
Edited by: Carl Nelson

Manufactured by: Soltek
Est. Street Price: $99

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The Performance

In order to see how the FRN-L performs we’ve tested it alongside a Soltek SL-75DRV-5 motherboard based on Via’s KT333a chipset as well as the Asus A7N8X deluxe (thanks to that masta modda TSGK) which is also based on the nForce2 SPP chipset, and considered by many to be THE nForce2 motherboard.

For testing purposes each motherboard was setup with an AIUGA Athlon XP 1700+, 2 sticks of 256MB Samsung PC2700 RAM (synched with CPU FSB), a Soltek SL-GF4Ti4200 (41.09) a WD 20GB Caviar ATA100, 7200rpm, 2MB HDD and a clean install of Windows XP SP1.  The latest nForce, detonator, and Via 4in1 drivers were used for each respective motherboard. 

On to the benches!

First things first.  One of the new features of the nForce chipset is Dual DDR support.  How big of an performance increase does this result in?  Let's have a look at the Sandra memory bench results for a clue.

Both Nfoce2 boards beat the KT333a soundly with the FRN coming up a little bit on top.  Sticking with Sandra let's check out the CPU Multimedia scores

These scores are very close as expected since all three boards are running the same processor.

To further check out the performance increase from dual DDR, we've used a program called Aida32.  A suite much like Sandra, Aida32 contains a memory benchmark which test both memory read and write times.

Notice the big jump in memory write time, over a 30% improvement.   Although not as great a jump as some might have expected from a dual DDR setup, it's a nice little performance boost nonetheless.

Next we'll move on to the real world gaming benchmarks to see how these boards compete where it counts.

Since GF4Ti4200 being used in testing is not DX9 compliant, our scores are a little on the low side.  There is a nice little jump up from the DRV-5 to the two nFoce2 boards, with the FRN once again comfortable on top.

The trend continues through DX8 testing.  The nForce2 chipsets are able to bring out scores over the 10,000 mark with everything running at stock settings.  With a little overclocking these numbers can easily jump into the 12,000 range.

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