Articles: Mainboards

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The ASUS P5N-E SLI mainboard we’ve been talking about is based on the Nvidia nForce 650i SLI chipset we haven’t met with before, so it is interesting to know how this mainboard performs in its regular mode. We will compare its performance with that of other popular mainboards on widespread chipsets from AMD, Intel and Nvidia.

We will use the following hardware for the test:

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (LGA775, 2.93GHz, 4MB L2 cache)
  • Mainboards:
    • DFI LANParty UT ICFX3200-T2R/G (AMD CrossFire Xpress 3200)
    • DFI Infinity 975X/G (Intel 975X Express)
    • ASUS P5B Deluxe (Intel P965 Express)
    • ASUS P5N-E SLI (Nvidia nForce 650i SLI)
    • ASUS Striker Extreme (Nvidia nForce 680i SLI)
  • Memory: 2GB DDR2-800 SDRAM (Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5D)
  • Graphics card: PowerColor X1900 XTX 512MB (PCI Express x16)
  • Disk subsystem: Western Digital WD1500AHFD (Serial ATA-150)
  • Operating system: Microsoft Windows XP SP2 with DirectX 9.0c

We try to put the mainboards under identical conditions, so system memory works at 400MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings in every case. The memory controller settings differ in one parameter, though, which is the Command Rate. Mainboards on Intel’s chipsets do not allow changing this setting due to chipset limitations. That’s why the i975X- and iP965-based platforms work at 2T Command Rate.

The tests show that the ASUS P5N-E SLI is just a little slower than the ASUS Striker Extreme, a product from a higher class. So, we have no complaints about performance of the reviewed mainboard. On the other hand, you shouldn’t forget that the ASUS P5N-E SLI implements SLI mode in a cut-down variant, using PCI Express x8 buses. It means that this mainboard is going to be slower in SLI mode than the ASUS Striker Extreme which supports full-featured SLI. The difference in performance may amount to 20% in the most advanced of today’s gaming applications.

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