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Reviewed by: Carl Nelson [04.14.08]
Manufactured by: Universal Abit


The Real World Rules!

While it's great to use software like PCMark and SYSMark to get an idea of how a PC performs in various scenarios (and they are getting even better, benchmarking within real-world applications), but nothing beats doing the tests yourself to see exactly where each CPU model excels and falls behind in performance.

The one thing our readers are most interested in, after gaming, is probably video and audio transcoding. After all, who wants to keep music on annoying discs? The same can often be said for video, as today's huge hard drives allow us to store a lot of movies. With both the XBOX 360 and Playstation 3 having the ability to stream AVI files off Windows PC's, this is even more significant than ever.

Audio Encoding

For our audio encoding tests, we use the latest version of dBpoweramp Music Converter (at this time, R12.4). This program has the slickest interface I've seen for an audio converter, as it integrates into the Windows Explorer shell (right click > convert to). It also supports a ton of codecs, although we're only going to look at the two main ones - MP3 and WMA.

Both codecs were run in Constant Bit Rate, converting an entire CD to 128 kbps. The CD is stored as an uncompressed WAV file.

Video Encoding

As usual, we are converting a portion of Groundhog Day DVD to MPEG-4 Part 2 using VirtualDub. The codecs we're using are DivX, which is multithreaded and getting better with every version, and XviD, which "the scene" still prefers for some reason.

With software performance out of the way, we know that the AX78 performs exactly as it should. In other words, the chipset works, and allows the CPU and video card to run properly.

Now it's time to move on to the onboard components. This is where we can really see a wide variety in benchmark scores.

Next Page: (Ethernet Performance, USB, PATA performance)