A few days ago, we reported in our news that there is a new "feature" of the ASUS P5AD2 Premium which overclocks the PCI Express VGA card by overclocking the PCI-Express Bus of the motherboard. Many websites stated that Gigabyte said, ASUS would be cheating and we could verify that there is a performance improvement beyond other boards. We also reported this in our first Socket 775 Roundup. ASUS switched that cheat into a feature - and there is nothing bad about it, because you can switch it off. It would be the best for the customers, if this feature would be switched off by default and we think, that ASUS will likely implement this in their next Bios version. We saw in our tests, that the new feature was active, when the PEG Link Mode was set to "Auto" (Bios Rev. 1005.002).
Now, we are testing the MSI 925X Neo Platinum and we were looking for a new bios revision because with the first release 1.0, the board was pretty slow because it did not yet recognize the B1-stepping of the Intel i925x-chipset in the bios. Because of this issue, we tried to get a new Bios version, but we just found one "hidden" bios version on the MSI website. By changing the download link of the Bios version 1.0 to 1.1, you are able to download the new version 1.1. We flashed the new bios revision, which is beta as we suppose, and now the B1-fix was implemented and the performance was alright.
But : Beneath that the FSB is pretty high with 202.7 Mhz by default, it has the same characteristics in the 3D-Benchmarks like the ASUS P5AD2 Premium. We think that MSI tries to implement the same feature ASUS uses to overclock the VGA card.
Here are a few of our Benchmarks :
As you can see, in many benchmarks, the MSI 925X Platinum Edition behaves like the ASUS P5AD2 Premium with enabled PEG Link overclocking : It scores even better then the ASUS board, which might result in a more aggressive way in overcocking the VGA card. ASUS offeres some different modes (Turbo, Ultra etc.), but in the MSI 925X Bios Version 1.1, nothing is said about the PEG Link Mode. In benchmarks like Serious Sam, Unreal Tounrmant 2003, 3DMark 2001 and 2003, some SpecViewPerf-Benches, Comanche und X2, you will see exactly the same. The ASUS und MSI motherboards score much in front of the rest.
In 2D benchmarks, the board is quite fast as well, but the results are normal for a motherboard, which has an FSB around 202.7 Mhz. So we can exclude that this advantage is because of MSI´s dynamic overclocking. In some 3D benchmarks the board is even slower than most of the other boards - for example in Quake 3 Arena, Return to Caste Wolfenstein, UT 2004 and DroneZ. Is seems to be due to an instability of the system, because the VGA card is overclocked to much. You often get these results when you overclock your VGA card to frequencies, if the card is not really stable any more.
We contacted MSI Germany two days ago, but did not get any reply considering this yet, but MSI promised us to examine this - they did not seem to know that something like that would be implemented. Let´s wait and see if MSI is also trying to "cheat", as some companies said. And in the Bios Version 1.1 we found and is supposed to be beta, there was no option of turning it of yet...
Any comments ? You are welcome to tell us your thoughts in this thread of your forums.