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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [09.16.06]
Manufactured by: Foxconn



For many people, the most important thing is gaming performance. But how does the motherboard affect performance? Let's find out, using 3 recent video games. In all tests, we used Medium quality settings, and a resolution of 1024x768. In F.E.A.R., the game was set to Medium video quality and Maximum CPU. Also, a standard 3DMark 05 test was thrown in for good measure.

Nothing to see here. The video card is by far a more important factor in gaming, with the CPU being the second. Seeing that we're using the same video card and CPU in all these tests, we should expect nothing other than identical results, unless one of the boards has something very wrong going on.

Video Encoding

Another very popular function of desktop PC's is video encoding. Whether you're making "backups" of "your" DVD movies, or encoding your own videos, encoding performance can really range depending on hardware (although it's mostly CPU based, of course). For this test, we used DivX 6.2.5, which supports SMP processing:

Foxconn's P9657AA is right in the middle of the pack here, and all 3 boards are within 2 seconds of each other.

Video Rendering

Finally, we're looking at video rendering. Although professionals will almost certainly be using specialized hardware, more and more hobbyists are getting into 3D art on their desktop systems. For this, we use CineBench 9.5, which is based on Maxon's popular Cinema4D rendering engine. All tests are CPU based here:

Once again, identical performance in video rendering and shading.

As you can see, the motherboard actually has very little to do with system performance when most of the influence falls on other components like CPU speed and video card being used.

However places where motherboards do differentiate is in their subsystems, like audio quality, performance, and data transfer busses. Let's check those out.

Next Page: (Audio Quality)