Articles: Mainboards

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Testbed and Methods

We decided to compare the performance of Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 mainboard against that of similar Asus solutions on Intel X38 and Intel P35 chipsets that also use DDR2 SDRAM. To be more exact Gigabyte board will be competing against Asus Maximus Formula and Asus P5K Premium.

The testbeds were built with the following equipment:

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme 6850 CPU ((LGA775, 3.0GHz, 1333MHz FSB, 8MB L2, Kentsfield).
  • Mainboards:
    • ASUS Maximus Formula (LGA775, Intel X38, DDR2 SDRAM) ;
    • ASUS P5K Premium (LGA775, Intel P35, DDR2 SDRAM);
    • Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 (LGA775, Intel X38, DDR2 SDRAM).
  • Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-10000C5D memory.
  • OCZ GeForce 8800GTX (PCI-E x16) graphics card.
  • Western Digital WD1500AHFD HDD (SATA150).
  • Microsoft Windows Vista x86 OS.

Performance in Nominal Mode

The first series of tests were performed with the processor working at its default speed of 3.0GHz set as 9 x 333MHz. The memory frequency in this case was set at 1066MHz with 4-4-4-12 timings.

As usual, we will first check out synthetic benchmarks testing the memory subsystem performance. This parameter is crucial for the performance of mainboards for Intel processors. For our tests we used Lavalys Everest 4.20 utility.

During the memory subsystem performance tests Intel X38 based mainboards run faster than one of the highest-performing Intel P35 solutions. Moreover, Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 wins in two most important practical subtests for read speed and latency.

But before we draw any conclusions let’s check out the results of complex benchmarks and real applications.

The results proved up to our expectations. Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 mainboard demonstrated very good performance having defeated both competitors in games and during video encoding. However, I have to stress that the performance difference between all three platforms is not significant enough for any of the solutions to claim indisputable leadership. The difference between Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 and Asus boards is not more than 1%-2% in most tests.

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