by Anand Lal Shimpi on February 5, 1998 8:20 AM EST
The Test

In recent times, choosing a motherboard cannot be completely determined by a Winstone score. Now, many boards come within one Winstone point of each other and therefore the need to benchmark boards against each other falls. Therefore you shouldn't base your decision entirely on the benchmarks you see here, but also on the technical features and advantages of this particular board, seeing as that will probably make the greatest difference in your overall experience.

How I Tested

  • Each benchmark was run a minimum of 2 times and a maximum of 5 times, if the motherboard failed to complete a single test within the 5 allocated test runs the OS/Software was re-installed on a freshly formatted Hard Drive and the BIOS settings were adjusted to prevent the test from failing again.  All such encounters were noted at the exact time of their occurrence.

  • Business Winstone 97 / Business Winstone 98 / Business Graphics Winmark 98 was run at each individually tested clock speed, if reliable scores were achieved with the first two test runs of the suite an average of the two was taken and recorded as the final score at that clock speed.  If the test system displayed erratic behavior while the tests were running or the results were incredibly low/high the tests were re-run up to 5 times and an average of all the test runs was taken and recorded at the final score at that clock speed

  • After each motherboard was tested a complete format of the test hard drive was initiated and the OS/benchmarking software was re-installed afterwards a defragment was initiated using Windows 95's Disk Defragmentation Utility

  • Tests using AGP Video cards were only run under Winstone 97, as the AGP Millennium II does not affect the Business Winstone 98 score when compared to the PCI Millennium II used in the tests.

  • No foreign drivers were present in the test system other than those required for the system to function to the best of its ability

  • All foreign installation files were moved to a separate partition during the test as to prevent them from effecting the test results

  • All tests were conducted at 800 x 600 x 256 colors

Test Configuration

Processor(s): AMD K6/233 ANR & Intel Pentium MMX 233 & Cyrix 6x86MX-PR2/200
RAM: 1 - 64MB Advanced Megatrends SDRAM DIMM
Hard Drive(s): Western Digital Caviar AC21600H
Video Card: Matrox Millennium II (4MB WRAM - AGP)
Matrox Millennium II (4MB WRAM - PCI)
Busmaster EIDE Drivers: VIA v2.13
Video Card Drivers: MGA Millennium
OS: Windows 95 Service Release 2


Windows 95 Performance of the FYI VP3 (PCI Video)
CPU Business Winstone 97 Business Winstone 98 Business Graphics Winmark 98
AMD K6-233 54.3 17.1 105
AMD K6-250 58.7 18.5 123
Cyrix 6x86MX-PR2/200 (166/66) Failed Failed Failed
Intel Pentium MMX - 233 50.4 15.9 103
Intel Pentium MMX - 250 54.7 17.4 118
Intel Pentium MMX - 262.5 53.8 17.1 114
Intel Pentium MMX - 291.5 56.7 18.3 126


Windows 95 Performance of the FYI VP3 (AGP Video)
CPU Business Winstone 97
AMD K6-233 54.8
AMD K6-250 59.2
Cyrix 6x86MX-PR2/200 (166/66) Failed
Intel Pentium MMX - 233 51.1
Intel Pentium MMX - 250 55.1
Intel Pentium MMX - 262.5 54.3
Intel Pentium MMX - 291.5 57.5


The Final Decision

There are two types of low cost items: pieces of junk, and cost effective products.  Which category does the FYI VP3 motherboard fall into?  If this is your first motherboard, you might as well save a few bucks with the FYI VP3 board as long as you plan to stay away from the Cyrix 6x86MX, it isn't an inherently bad motherboard...just a bit more "cost effective" than some of the more popular names out there.  If you're an ASUS advocate, or have been going through Tyan, AOpen, and other such boards like pancakes on a Sunday morning then I strongly suggest veering away from the FYI direction.  Playing on the name, for your information, the final decision for this product is quite simple, the FYI VP3 makes a great beginner's motherboard, perfect for a second system and its use of the VIA VP3 AGP Socket-7 Chipset make it ideal for a gaming station, however as a motherboard for your main system, you may want to shell out a few more bucks for something in a more attractive box ;)

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