Articles: Mainboards

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We continue a series of LGA1156 mainboards, but this time we are going to focus on the new Intel H57 Express and Intel H55 Express chipsets. For that purpose we have slightly modified our testbed and changed the applications set, but we are going to dwell on these changes a little later. Now, however, we feel like talking a little bit about the new Clarkdale processors. Overall, they have undoubtedly turned out quite successful, although there are a few not quite clear and even disappointing things that come to mind. Just a reminder: we have a detailed article on our site dedicated to these processors that is called Dual-Core LGA1156 Processors: Core i5-661, Core i3-540 and Pentium G6950 CPUs Review that you can also check out.

The biggest disappointment about the new Clarkdale CPUs is obviously their memory controller that was removed from the processor core and is now located on a separate die. As a result, Clarkdale processors work with the memory slower than not only LGA1366 Bloomfield processor featuring a triple-channel on-die memory controller. Even LGA1156 Lynnfield CPUs are unattainably ahead, although their memory controller is a dual-channel one and works at lower frequency than the one in Bloomfield CPUS. The new processor work with the memory pretty much as fast as LGA775 solutions, which memory controller is located in an individual North Bridge chip, which means that Intel made a significant step back with their new Clarkdale design.

Things are also not quite clear when it comes to graphics integrated into the new CPUs. We have another special review called Clarkdale’s Second Half: Intel HD Graphics Review, which talks about this matter in detail. Of course, graphics has improved, but the price of the integrated graphics platform has also increased significantly. Before, you could find a $30 processor and pair it with a simple $50 mainboard featuring integrated graphics onboard. Just add some memory and a hard drive to get a decent entry-level PC. Now the best you can get for this money would be only the most primitive Pentium G6950 processor, which means that the minimal cost of an entry-level platform ahs in fact become a few times higher.

Some limitations have also stepped in on the other front, when we in fact care more about the maximum performance rather than minimal price, but at the same time are quite OK with the potential of the integrated graphics core. Until now the users had freedom of choice, meaning that they could install any processor into a board with an integrated graphics core. Right now we are limited to dual-core CPUs only. What if you need high performance? What if you would really want to go for a contemporary quad-core CPU? There are no solutions like that with integrated graphics, so you will have to purchase a discrete graphics card as well.

However, despite these drawbacks, the new CPUs turned out quite successful. Of course, we would still prefer if that were the case due to advantages rather than despite the drawbacks. These CPus are quite economical and perform well. They are dual-core solutions, but they outperform their predecessors and competitors due to Hyper-Threading technology. And even though they aren’t always capable of competing successfully against real quad-core CPUs, many users don’t really care about that. Since the new processors promise to become very popular in the market, it is really important to make sure that you find the perfect mainboard for them. Our goal is to help you make the right choice, so please enjoy our new review series that will hopefully make it easy for you. We are going to start with a truly extraordinary mainboard – Asus P7H57D-V EVO.

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