Articles: Mainboards

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Testbed Configuration

We ran all the benchmarks on a testbed made of the following components:

  • Mainboards: ECS P67H2-A v1.1 and P67H2-A2 v1.0 (LGA1155, Intel P67 Express, BIOS version from 04/08/2011);
  • CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K (3.3 GHz, Sandy Bridge, LGA1155);
  • Memory: 2 x 2048 MB DDR3 SDRAM Patriot Extreme Performance Viper II Sector 5 Series PC3-16000, PVV34G2000LLKB (2000 MHz, 8-8-8-24 timings, 1.65 V voltage);
  • Graphics card: MSI N570GTX-M2D12D5/OC (Nvidia GeForce GTX 570, GF110, 40 nm, 786/4200 MHz, 320-bit GDDR5 1280 MB);
  • Disk sub-system: Kingston SSD Now V+ Series (SNVP325-S2, 128 GB);
  • Cooling: Scythe Mugen 2 Revision B (SCMG-2100) CPU cooler and an additional 80x80 mm fan for cooling of the area around the CPU socket during overclocking experiments;
  • Thermal interface: ARCTIC MX-2;
  • Power supply unit: CoolerMaster RealPower M850 (RS-850-ESBA);
  • System case: open testbed built inside Antec Skeleton.

We used Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 64 bit (Microsoft Windows, Version 6.1, Build 7601: Service Pack 1) operating system, Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility version, Nvidia GeForce/ION Driver 266.58 graphics card driver.

Operational and Overclocking Specifics

Both Elitegroup mainboards discussed in this review didn’t cause any serious problems in nominal mode. The only thing I would want to bring up one more time is the fact that we didn’t see working dynamic adjustment of the active phases in the CPU voltage regulator circuitry on ECS P67H2-A. However, overclocking on this mainboard was quite fruitful and we managed to push our processor to 4.8 GHz frequency – the same as on most other mainboards we tested so far.

At the same time all processor power-saving technologies stayed up and running, lowering the processor clock frequency multiplier as well as core voltage in idle mode.

However, ECS P67H2-A2 failed to maintain stability at 4.8 GHz CPU clock rate, sow e had to stop at 4.7 GHz.

But even in this case all processor power-saving technologies remained intact.

Speaking of memory, we have to say that like on majority of other manufacturers’ boards, it worked at 1600 MHz with 6-6-6-18-1T timings on both Elitegroup mainboards. However, the boards took different ways to get to this point. For a while we believed that ECS P67H2-A mainboard would be able to repeat the achievement of MSI P67A-GD80 (B3) mainboard and get the memory to work at 1867 MHz. For example, it successfully passed a one-and-a-half hour test in Prime95. Unfortunately, we soon discovered that in this mode it is unable to run SuperPi test even for as little as three minutes, so we had to lower the memory clock. As for ECS P67H2-A2 mainboard, it started reporting errors at 1867 MHz memory clock right after we started the tests, so we were forced to drop the memory clock down to 1600 MHz.

Here we should also mention an error we uncovered in the mainboards BIOS. It turned out that if you modified the base clock, memory frequency or memory timings in any way, you would have to bring them back to default values manually: booting the system with all defaults didn’t affect these parameters in any way.

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