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EZ Watcher 3060 in Action: Performance Benchmarks

We ran our benchmarks on the following testbed built inside the EZ Watcher 3060 barebone system:

  • Elitegroup S4-2 mainboard;
  • Pentium 4 2.4GHz CPU (533MHz FSB);
  • 512MB PC3200 Kingston Value RAM;
  • SiS 315 integrated graphics core and RADEON 9800 Pro 128MB graphics card;
  • IBM HDD 15GB, 7200rpm, ATA-100;
  • AC’97 ver.2.2 integrated six-channel audio;
  • Windows XP SP1, DirectX 9.0b, Catalyst 3.7 (for the RADEON 9800 Pro card).

The first thing you learn about a new computer, right after you turn it on, is how loud it is. The EZ Watcher is practically noiseless due to its external PSU and low-speed case fans. It’s like the good old days of the first Pentium returned…

BIOS. The BIOS Setup is based on the Phoenix Award microcode, is not really informative and cannot please us with any fine-tuning or tweaking options. From the memory timings, we are only allowed to play with CAS Latency, while the CPU Vcore and FSB frequency controls are missing altogether. Otherwise, it’s all quite routine, just an ordinary Award BIOS.

Sound. The next thing to mention here is the quality of the integrated audio. Of course, our verdict here is quite subjective, because we evaluate the sound quality by ear. However, there is not much I could tell you about the integrated audio of the EZW-3060. It does exist, and that’s it. Yeah, it may be better than other AC’97 solutions. Yeah, it is six-channel and supports EAX 2.0. But the representation of high frequencies is hard to describe in words. Just a lot of squeaking and frenzy shrieks. :) Low frequencies, on the contrary, are too dull and incomplete. You can make up for it somewhat by enabling the low frequency amplification mode… that inevitably leads to misbalance in the entire composition scene. I think you won’t be too pleased to listen to music on this platform. At the same time, this integrated audio suits quite well for movies and games. Background and static noises are absent. They have probably implemented Spread Spectrum correctly enough.

Graphics. As for graphics, the integrated chip provided a good 2D picture up to 1280x1024@100Hz resolution, which is definitely a plus. The chip slices off 32MB of the system memory to use it for its own graphics needs, so we are only left with 480MB in our case. I couldn’t run OpenGL applications. It seems to be the driver problem, and a rather annoying one. Although the solution itself doesn’t boast a high level of performance in 3D applications, it is sad we are devoid of Quake 3: Arena anyway. :)

Overclocking. Now let’s discuss the key feature of the EZ Watcher system: overclocking. If you want to use the “on-the-fly” FSB overclocking feature, you should go to the BIOS Setup first and enable the “EZ Watcher clock adjust” option. Every turn of the wheel increases or decreases the FSB frequency by 1MHz. That’s all. The voltages of the CPU and memory always remain the same, nominal ones. The system cannot use a divider for the memory frequency to avoid over-overclocking the memory.  
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