During the test session I didn’t intend to test the performance of AMD Athlon 64 3200+ processor from all possible standpoints, because this is not a CPU review (the CPU review will follow soon :) but a system review. Besides, the mainboard doesn’t allow changing the memory timings, that is why the system performance will anyway be lower than the maximum possible in this configuration, because the default timings are usually quite conservative, which we see from the CPU-Z results:
So, let’s have a look at what Athlon 64 3200+ is capable of in a selected number of tests in the following testbed:
Athlon 64 3200+
2x256MB Corsair XMS3200C2
Seagate Barracuda ATA IV 40GB
ATI Radeon 9700 Pro
nForce3 drivers 3.43 (beta)
Graphics card drivers
ATI Catalyst 3.6
We used Windows XP Professional with the installed Service Pack 1. The Direct X version was 9.0a. The memory frequency equaled 200MHz.
When we installed the drivers for nForce3 we revealed a very unpleasant peculiarity of the drivers supplied on a CD with the system. After the drivers had been installed, the system “lost” the CD-ROM drive and wouldn’t believe that it was still installed into the system. Having tried various tricks I discovered that the problem lies with the IDE drivers. If you do not install this part of the integrated driver for nForce3, everything will work just fine. It was probably the bug in the driver (the accompanying release notes claimed though that it “passed the minimum testing successfully”).
The results of Shuttle SN85G4 system were compared with those obtained on a system with AMD Athlon 64 3200+ and NVIDIA nForce2 chipset (the systems were absolutely identical except the processor, mainboard and the chipset drivers, of course):
Shuttle SN85G4 (nForce3 150) + Athlon 64 3200+
DFI LAN PARTY NFII ULTRA (nForce2) + Athlon XP 3200+
3DMark2001 SE, Score
3DMark03, CPU Score
PCMark2002, CPU Score
PCMark2002, Memory Score
SiSoft Sandra Int RAM Buffered Bandwidth
UT2003, dm-antalus, 1024x768x32
Serious Sam SE, The Grand Cathedral, 1024x768x32
As you can notice the Shuttle barebone system is an indisputable leader, which once again proves that SFF PCs do not yield to any of their bigger analogues. The only drawback that a SFF PC might have is the absence of memory subsystem fine-tuning options, which slightly reduces the overall system performance, as I have already said. However, even a slightly “slowed down” Athlon 64 is faster than its predecessor with the same performance rating in these benchmarks (mostly gaming ones). It is definitely not for nothing that AMD positions the new CPU as a gaming solution.