MSI K9N Platinum nForce 570 Ultra - Test Setup, Network Performance and More

Article Index
MSI K9N Platinum nForce 570 Ultra
Board Layout - Up Close
A Pretty Standard BIOS
Test Setup, Network Performance and More
Applications Benchmarks
Application Benchmarks - Continued...
Game Performance and Benchmarking

Test Setup & Info:

This is the first AM2 motherboard we have tested and will not be comparing results to cross platform Socket 939 or Intel LGA775 hardware.  The performance of this board will become a baseline for other AM2 motherboards we will be reviewing in the future.  Below are our first AM2 test system specs.

  • AMD Athlon 64 4200+ X2 AM2 Processor 2.2GHz - MemoryExpress
  • MSI K9N Platinum Motherboard - MemoryExpress
  • 2GB Kit - Crucial Ballistix PC2-8000 (DDR2-1000) - Crucial
  • LG GSA-H10L DVDRW
  • Seagate 250GB 7200.9 SATA HDD
  • eVGA 7600GT 256MB 
  • Windows XP Professional with all available updates.
  • nForce 9.16 Platform Drivers
  • Forceware 91.47 Graphics Drivers

We ran a series of real world tests to see how well the K9N Platinum coupled with an excellent priced 4200+ X2 handles daily tasks.  We also ran a few synthetic benchmarks to get some baseline numbers for comparison with different boards later on.  Some of our application benchmarks were timed using a stopwatch and when it came to gaming - we ran through actual game levels to allow audio, AI and in-game physics to load down the system.  Framerates were recorded using FRAPS and after many runs we averaged the results and graphed them as you'll see in a few moments.

We ran applications both at stock and overclocked speeds, but the gaming benchmarks displayed are only at stock speeds.  We are currently graphically limited in our test setup and overclocking the CPU 20% only netted us 2% performance increase in games.

Network & Audio:

Whether your gaming online or sharing files and printers across your local network, most of us live by a network.  We use iperf to test network bandwidth capability and CPU usage.  Although some network cards boast blazing speeds, many cannot come close and if they do, they use copious CPU usage.  We'll take a look at the nForce 570 Ultra based GB ethernet below.

Net Speed
Throughput
Efficiency
CPU Load
100Mb/Sec
94.5
94.5%
10%
1000Mb/Sec
478
47.8%
20%

As you can see above, the nVidia network controller scores very well when running a 100base network.  It manages over 94% efficient and uses 10% CPU load.  When we bump up the speed to a full 1000base network we get a little less than half of the rated throughput.  CPU load doubles as well, but we've seen higher CPU load with different network controllers.

This board uses a Realtek High Definition Audio controller which is capable of 48kHz, 96kHz, and even 192kHz audio sampling.  We used RightMark's Audio Analyzer to test the quality of the audio.  Just because an audio chipset is capable of high sampling rates doesn't mean that it is good quality.  Take a look at the screenshot below to find out how good the quality on this High Definition chipset really is.

RightMark Audio Analyzer
 RightMark Audio Analyzer

As you can see by clicking the above thumbnail, the audio range, THD and noise level are nothing really amazing.  It's not bad for onboard audio, but it's no X-Fi.

Overclocking:

Before we jump into the benchmarks we need to see what kind of stable overclocks we can achieve with this system.  We used a Zalman CNPS9500 AM2 on the CPU and kept the nForce 570 Ultra chipset passively cooled.  We spent more time than usual trying to overclock this board as I've seen many other websites claims some incredible numbers with this board.  Our results were somewhat different.  We managed a top HTT speed of 295 MHz, but only with a very low CPU multiplier.  If we bumped this up to the point where we ran slightly above stock CPU speed, we were not stable.  We did manage to pull 2.8+GHz out of our 2.2GHz 4200+ X2, but it wasn't stable throughout testing.  We dropped the Memory speed ad HTT multiplier and still no love.

At the end we settled for a 2.64GHz clock speed using a 10x multiplier and 264MHz HTT (or FSB).  This gave us the most bang for our buck in terms of added performance.  We could run faster, but internal errors actually caused our scores to be lower.

SiSoft Benchmarks:

We begin our first AM2 benchmarks with a little run through some SiSoft Sandra 2007 benchmarks.  These numbers are purely for reference only and are not to be used to determine overall system performance.  We'll cover that on the following pages.

SiSoft CPU Arithmetic
 SiSoft CPU Arithmetic

SiSoft CPU Multimedia
SiSoft CPU Multimedia

SiSoft Memory
 SiSoft Memory

This dual core AM2 processor scores pretty well on these tests and memory bandwidth is pretty decent.  Overclocking the motherboard yields a nice performance boost in these synthetic benchmark series.

We also ran SuperPi on this system to see how fast we can crunch Pi to 1M decimal places.  The results are very impressive when compared to my Centrino 1.8GHz laptop, but not so much when compared to a Core 2 Duo system.  The results below are not compared cross-platform though - just straight up AM2 goodness.

Super Pi
Super Pi

On the next page we'll jump into real application benchmarks and see how well this system performs in many daily activities.