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Performance

Before proceeding to the benchmarks, I have to mention the memory subsystem. I raised the matter in the ASUS A7V600 Review, but was not sure whether the mainboard or the chipset were to blame for that. Now, that I have the MSI KT6 Delta in my hands, I am inclined to think that it is the chipset problem (or peculiarity, if you like), as the MSI mainboard turned to be quite fastidious about the memory timings, too. I won’t reproduce the entire process of tracking the minimal timings and won’t enumerate them all, as this mainboard, as I have already mentioned above, is quite flexible at memory subsystem settings. I will just show you the DRAM Timing Control page from the BIOS with the timings I used in the tests:

As you see, I had to come to a compromise to maintain the stability of the mainboard. Moreover, like in case of ASUS A7V600, I observed this phenomenon with both: Corsair XMS3200C2 modules, which proved its ability to work with minimal timings at 200MHz numerous times, and OCZ PC3700 EL DDR.

The configuration of the testbed looked as follows:

CPU

Athlon XP 3200+

Mainboard

MSI KT6 Delta

Memory

2x256MB Corsair XMS3200C2

HDD

Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 40GB

Graphics card

ATI Radeon 9700 Pro

Chipset drivers

VIA Hyperion 4.48

Video drivers

ATI Catalyst 3.6

The testbed ran in Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 1 installed. The DirectX version was 9.0a.

Remember, I was displeased with the performance of ASUS A7V600. Usually, mainboards based on the same chipset differ little in speed (by less than 1%). ASUS’ mainboard was much slower than the reference KT600 mainboard. Now, let’s see what the MSI KT6 Delta has to show us:

 

MSI KT6 Delta

ASUS A7V600

VIA KT600 Reference board

DFI LAN PARTY (nForce2)

Business Winstone 2002, Score

33.8

32.5

36.1*

36.7

Content Creation Winstone 2003, Score

39.5

39.1

40.1*

40.9

3DMark2001 SE, Score

16342

15806

16031

16504

3DMark03, Score

5194

4937

4967

5033

3DMark03, CPU Score

567

549

605

641

PCMark2002, CPU Score

6734

6666

-

6826

PCMark2002, Memory Score

5654

5442

5768

6242

SiSoft Sandra Int RAM Buffered Bandwidth

2871

2739

3041

2897

UT2003, dm-antalus, 1024x768x32

68.58

66.52

68.64

72.26

Serious Sam SE, The Grand Cathedral, 1024x768x32

108.6

103.9

108

111.9

* - The results of these tests shouldn’t be compared as the testbed featuring the VIA KT600 reference board had a different hard disk drive.

As you see, the performance of the MSI mainboard is higher than that of ASUS one. Moreover, the MSI KT6 Delta is sometimes faster than the KT600 reference board. Seems like MSI spent a lot of effort developing this product, and succeeded. The only strange result was the one shown in 3DMark03. The MSI mainboard won this test and defeated KT600-based mainboards as well as the nForce2-based one! Considering that the performance in 3DMark03 mostly depends on the graphics card, I’m not sure how this high result could be achieved. I ran the test a number of times with the same outcome. Anyway, this strange benchmark result cannot spoil the impression from a product. :) 
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