Review Index:

NVIDIA nForce2 and VIA KT400 Chipset Gaming Comparison

Author: Ryan Shrout
Subject: Chipsets
Manufacturer: General

Quake III: Arena

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The Quake III benchmark shows a pretty interesting picture on the topic of the nForce2 and the KT400 chipsets. First, we can see that the nF2 and the KT400 running the 2700+ processor and the Radeon 9700 Pro video card give differing results: the KT400 is slower by about 12%. That is a pretty hefty margin. On the same 2700+ processor, but using the 4x AGP Ti 4400 card, the difference between the two platforms is much closer at only 3%.

So, why is the KT400 slower with the Radeon 9700 Pro card? Is it the 8x AGP support that is flawed in the VIA chipset? Looking at the rest of the results will show us that that is not necessarily the case. When running each system with a 2600+ processor with a 133 MHz bus, the difference between the nForce2 and KT400 boards is only about 4%. To make the comparison more complete, comparing the frame rate of the nForce2 board on a 2700+/166 MHz processor and the 2600+/133 MHz processor shows a 12% gain in score from 2600+ to 2700+. However, on the KT400 board, the increase in performance from 2600+ to 2700+ is only 4.6%.

We can only derive that the current stepping of KT400 chipset is not able to fully optimize the system for the newer 333 MHz system bus. But, this only happens when an 8x AGP video card is used: when using the Ti 4400 the two platforms show a 12% and 15% difference in frame rate going from 2600+ to the 2700+.