KT7A vs. KA266 – Reprised

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The Rematch

Anyway, on with the show. How did this new methodology affect the scores? As you will see, not by much at all. But what I also did, was measure the scores with many different driver setups, so that we could see if I/O drivers have an impact on overall scores. I also managed to find out more about the partitioning problem I was having with the KA266 (more on that later).

Unfortunately, this time around, I could not get a meaningful score out of the KT7A using the default Windows 2000 Gold code – so these have been omitted. The drivers that I benchmarked are:

  • Windows 2000 Gold default driver (KA266 only),
  • Windows 2000 with pre SP2, ATA5 hot fix,
  • Windows 2000 Service Pack 2 default driver,
  • Windows 2000 Gold with ALi IDE/ATAPI driver v 1.02 (KA266 only)
  • Windows 2000 Gold with VIA IDE/ATAPI driver v 4.31 (KT7A only)

Enough talk, here’s the results:

As you can see from the BWS scores, the ALi IDE drivers do provide a benefit to Business Winstone scores – as I discovered in the original article. Significantly so. Unfortunately, ALi recommends that you do not use this driver with Windows 2000 because of compatibility problems with CD ROM’s, CD RW’s and CD burning software. When comparing apples to apples, we see that for all intents and purposes, the KT7A and the KA266 scored evenly in these benchmarks (with the ATA5 hot-fix or the vendor provided drivers). Service Pack two adds another dimension, as clearly, the VIA optimisations are better than the ALi ones. In the original article, I had the score as one draw and one convincing win to the KA266. Well now we know that “win” came from the drivers. With the new methodology, the “score” would be one point apiece.

Lets look at the Winbench 99 disk scores.

Again we see that for some reason, the ALi I/O scores perform much worse under Service Pack 2, otherwise, it is line ball. ALi clearly were on to something with their driver though, as evidenced by the ALi Business Disk performance. It would be nice if they could get it to be totally reliable under Windows 2000. But while the score might look impressive here, remember that this translates into only small gains and losses in a working environment – don’t read too much into these scores.

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