Articles: Mainboards

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Chipsets in contemporary systems have very little effect on performance. It is so because the contemporary chipset is nothing more but a South Bridge with numerous controllers for external devices inside. The components that play integral part in performance, such as computational cores, graphics bus controller and memory controller, are currently inside the CPU. Therefore, no one expected that the launch of the new Intel Z68 would bring any performance improvement to the LGA1155 platform.

Nevertheless, we decided to compare the performance of similar systems built on the same type of mainboards with Z68 and P67. They are Asus P8Z68-V PRO and Asus P8P67 PRO. The tests were run twice: with a CPU working at its nominal frequency and with the CPU overclocked to 4.7 GHz by raising the multiplier. In nominal mode we kept Turbo Boost and Intel Enhanced SpeedStep technologies up and running 9these are the technologies allowing interactive adjustment of the processor frequency). During overclocking Turbo Boost was off, but Intel Enhanced SpeedStep kept working as usual.

To estimate the average platform performance PCMark 7 measures the speed of typical real-life algorithms that are very popular in every-day tasks.

The additional Computation index shows how fast systems can cope with resource-hungry video and image processing tasks.

3DMark 11 test focuses on the graphics sub-system performance in the first place.

However, besides the total score, 3DMark 11 also generates another interesting score – Physics rating. This score is obtained in a special physics test that emulates the work of complex gaming mechanics with a large number of objects.

To test the performance during data archiving we took WinRAR archiving utility. Using maximum compression rate we archived a folder with multiple files 1.1 GB in total size.

We measured the performance in Adobe Photoshop using our own benchmark made from Retouch Artists Photoshop Speed Test that has been creatively modified. It includes typical editing of four 10-megapixel images from a digital photo camera.

In order to measure how fast our testing participants can transcode a video into H.264 format we used x264 HD benchmark. It works with an original MPEG-2 video recorded in 720p resolution with 4 Mbps bitrate. I have to say that the results of this test are of great practical value, because the x264 codec is also part of numerous popular transcoding utilities, such as HandBrake, MeGUI, VirtualDub, etc.

We use special Cinebench test to measure the final rendering speed in Maxon Cinema 4D.

In addition to that, we tested mainboards on different chipsets in popular 3D games.

All obtained results indicate unanimously that there is no performance difference between mainboards for Sandy Bridge processors built on different chipsets. All differences lie within the acceptable measuring error margin.

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