A good indicator of CPU/Motherboard performance is version 4.2, by Xavier Gourdon. We used a computation of 10000000 digits of Pi, Chudnovsky method, 1024 K FFT, and no disk memory. Note that lower scores are better, and times are in seconds.
PiFast hits both the CPU and memory pretty hard with this test, and the K8T Neo2 falls a little behind the K8N Neo2 by just over half a second.
CDex Audio Conversion Wav to MP3
CDex was used to convert a 414MB Wav file to a 320kbs MP3.
Dead heat here as neither NVIDIA or VIA have an advantage over the other.
We used an Animatrix file, titled , and a WAV created from VirtualDub. The movie was then converted it into a DVD compliant MPEG-2 file with a bitrate of 5000. Times are in minutes, seconds, and lower is better.
The K8T Neo2 trails the K8N Neo2 by about three seconds in our video encoding tests.
Unreal Tournament 2003: Antalus, Min Detail @ 640
Quake 3: Arena, Min Detail @ 640
Much as we've seen in our Socket-754 motherboard reviews previously, the K8T800 Pro seems to be a bit stronger in gameplay, holding a decisive lead over the nForce 3 250Gb in both Unreal Tournament 2004 and Quake 3.
Subsystem Testing - Audio
For our UT2003 audio/framerate tests, we ran dm-Antalus benchmarks at 640x480, minimum detail with sound on and off. This was repeated at 1024x768, but with maximum detail. The reasoning is at low detail and resolution, the work will fall on the CPU and motherboard subsystem. Higher resolution is more representative of actual gameplay for most users
With minimum detail and low resolution, the onboard sound results in just under a 40fps loss in performance. At a higher resolution and detail levels, the onboard sound's CPU utilization will not be a factor at all. There is less than 0.05fps loss in speed when using the onboard sound at this resolution, therefore, I wouldn't hesitate in using the onboard sound for general use and gaming.
In terms of sound quality, I found gaming to be very acceptable, as was the case with movie and MP3 playback. There was some static while performing disk intensive tasks though, such as defragging the source MP3 drive, which is a problem we have not experienced with some other onboard sound solutions.
For recording tests, I used a small microphone that came with my Audigy Platinum, and recorded a few sentences. Recording quality was clear, albeit a bit on the quiet side. Our mic is not sound studio caliber, but based on our results, the onboard controller is not suitable for high quality recording.
Hard Drive Performance
We used HD Tach to gauge read performance with our Maxtor 120GB SATA drive. The disk was freshly imaged, and configured with only one partition.
The hard drive and controller maintained an even delta, with a slight dip at the 55GB mark. The drive's burst speed was about 117MB/sec, with a 48.6MB/sec average read, and about 4% CPU utilization.