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Gigabyte GA-P31-DS3L
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by Rob Williams on January 29, 2008 in Intel Motherboards

There are few P31-based motherboards on the market, but as we find out, they are well-deserving of some attention. The board we are taking a look at today hovers around $100, but despite it’s value status, it’s a great offering.

Testing Methodology, SYSmark 2007, PCMark Vantage

Throughout all of our benchmarks regardless of what we are reviewing, testing is done in a clean and stand-alone version of Windows XP Professional with SP2. The exception is PCMark Vantage, which is tested under Windows Vista. Prior to testing, these conditions are met:

  • Desktop and scrap files are cleaned up, including emptying of recycle bin.
  • No virus scanner or firewall is installed in the stand-alone installation.
  • Computer has proper airflow and room ambient temp is >80°F.

The testing rig used for today’s benchmarking is as follows:

Please note that for our DDR3 motherboards, we use DDR3-1333 speeds with 7-7-7-20 timings, and for our DDR2 boards we use DDR2-1066 5-5-5-15. Lastly, all tests are run twice, with the results averaged between the two.

 

SYSmark 2007 Preview

 

SYSmark is an industry leading system benchmarking tool, which is completely automated but utilizes real-world tests. It installs common applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, Photoshop CS2, 3DS Max, SketchUp! among others.

SYSmark grades the performance of the system by how well it could handle different operations. Systems with more than one core will benefit in the tests, since there is a lot of multi-tasking throughout. Once the test is completed, it will provide you with an overall score, in addition to showing areas where the computer excelled.

 

 

 

 

When comparing a “value” board to high-end boards, it has little chance of beating any of them. However, even though the board did prove to be the slowest of the bunch, it’s results were not far behind the others.

PCMark Vantage

Futuremark has long offered benchmarking tools to enthusiasts that allow them to gage their systems worth. There is a lot of skepticism revolving around the importance of the overall scores, but we enjoy running them because it’s a quick fix to see differences between platforms. Real world benchmarks are by far more important, and we will cover those on the next few pages.

They launched their latest PCMark version late last year, called Vantage. It’s not a simple upgrade, but rather a completely revamped benchmark that competes with the likes of SYSmark 2007. The good thing about Vantage though, is that it’s easier on the nerves, since SYSmark 2007 has the tendency to error out often.

PCMark Vantage consists of eight different scores, with PCMark Suite being the primary. All of the secondary results are included here as well, though, to get a better idea of which board excels where.

 

 

Now here’s a spin on things – the P31-DS3L had top honors here. Let’s see if that keeps up. We’ll continue with our multi-media tests, up next.