Articles: Mainboards

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Performance during Overclocking

Besides the tests in nominal mode, we would also like to compare the mainboards’ performance in overclocked systems. The thing is that relative performance of overclocker platforms is very often different from what we see in nominal mode.

For the second round of tests we decided to set the FSB frequency at 450MHz. We used the same Core 2 Extreme X6850 processor overclocked to 3.6GHz set as 8 x 450MHz. The processor Vcore was increased to 1.45V to ensure better stability. DDR2 memory was running at 1080MHz and the timings were set at 4-4-4-12.

Let’s start with results of synthetic benchmarks:

The situation changes dramatically during overclocking. The memory controller of our Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 mainboard didn’t perform very well with the non-nominal FSB frequency. In fact, there is nothing to be surprised with here, as Gigabyte mainboards have always been not very fast in overclocked systems having deserved a few complaints from overclocking fans.

The reasons for this slowness are pretty simple: during overclocking the mainboard BIOS increases the Performance Level latency. As we have already said Asus mainboards set this parameter at 6-7 in the same situation.

However, let’s see how the low memory controller performance will affect the results in real applications and complex benchmarks:

As we have expected, Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 yields to its competitors in this case. And the performance difference is no longer that small: in some applications Gigabyte is more than 3% slower than Asus Maximus Formula. This pretty sad result may disappoint some overclocking fans considering Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 as their next platform.

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