Socket A DDR Chipset Shootout

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Business Performance

First lets take a look at Winstone 2001 from ZD Labs, which will give an idea of overall system performance using popular business (Business Winstone) or internet creation (Content Creation) applications, while running with multiple windows open at the same time.

It is interesting to note that VIA wins with the Business Winstone, ALi second and AMD last, but with Content Creation Winstone the order is reversed! If anything, it just goes to show how close in performance all three chipsets are, and that you can expect to see advantages with one over another depending on the type of program is used.

Now let’s look at SYSmark 2000, which is similar to Winstone, but uses a different mix of programs and they are run with only one window open at a time.

This time VIA is in last place, ALi in second and AMD the winner. Just goes to show that you can’t judge a systems performance by one test alone.

The winner thus far? Well, since the ALi came second in both tests and AMD along with VIA came in first in one and last in the other I’d say ALi is the winner, but its really too close to call.

Sub-System performance

Now let’s take a look at individual component performance using Winbench 99 from ZD Labs. Unlike some benchmarks, the disk and video tests are not synthetic but based on the same applications used in Winstone.

First we’ll look at CPUMark 99, which is not only a test of CPU speed, but also of cache and memory performance.

Pretty darn close, but again the order goes (from best to worse) AMD, ALi and then VIA. That graph may look impressive, but note that the VIA is less than 1% slower than the ALi, and the AMD is less than 1% faster than the ALi. If there were a significant difference in memory performance you would see it here.

Now let’s look at the disk performance.

A very slight edge goes to VIA in the High End test, while in the Business the ALi wins, but not enough in either test to really consider.

Next I tested video performance – not 3D or games – but actual video performance for ‘normal’ office type applications.

Like the disk test, not really much of a difference, but this time the AMD comes in first and VIA last, with ALi again in the middle.

What trend do we see? All three chipsets are very close, with ALi almost always coming in second. With the other two chipsets alternating between first and last, depending upon the test, ALi seems to be giving a consistent and well-rounded performance.

It is too close to name a clear winner, but I’m impressed with the consistency and overall performance of the ALi.

Memory Performance

This is a new benchmark for me, and time will tell how good a judge of memory performance it really is. It is called MemTach, and you can read more about it at

This chart doesn’t show any real trends or deficiencies with any of the chipsets, as the results are quite close and mixed. But just look at the ALi – again very consistently good scores.

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