Articles: Mainboards

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Performance in Nominal Mode

As usual, we didn’t discover any problems with Intel DX58SO mainboard’s performance in nominal mode. No wonder, since the problems usually occur only if the board is defective, and if it is well put together, there should be no issues. By default the memory works at 1066 MHz frequency with 8-8-8-19-1T timings. The clock multiplier and core voltage of our Intel Core i7-920 processor lower in idle mode.

If the CPU utilization is pretty high, its clock multiplier increases to 21 due to Intel Turbo Boost technology.

In those cases when the CPU utilization is relatively low and only one processor core of the four is loaded, its clock frequency multiplier may increase even to 22.

I have to point out that I noticed the clock multiplier go to 22 much more often on Intel DX58SO mainboard than on most other board we tested in our labs. Looks like only Asus P6T could easily push the multiplier to 22 under relatively low workload, which helped it to outperform the competitor – Gigabyte GA-EX58-Extreme in synthetic Everest benchmarks. It was then that we even brought back the single-threaded SuperPI utility into our benchmarking suite in order to see how big this advantage was. But strange as it might seem, Asus mainboard lost to Gigabyte in this test and the advantage proved to be virtual after all. This time, as we will see from our performance comparison charts, Intel DX58SO mainboard has a pretty real advantage in SuperPI due to frequently used maximum processor clock frequency multiplier.

Today Intel DX58SO will compete against the recently reviewed MSI Eclipse Plus. Both these boards set the processor and memory parameters to defaults. The only exception was the power-saving technologies that we enabled manually on both boards.

We don’t see any significant performance differences between the two boards, besides the considerably higher memory read and write speeds on Intel DX58SO, which might be explained by more frequent use of maximum processor clock frequency multiplier.

All mainboards set the memory frequency at 1067 MHz in nominal mode. Only sometimes the manufacturers cheat and increase the frequency to 1333 MHz to get a small advantage over the competitors. However, it is very low frequency for DDR3 SDRAM. For instance, our Kingston HyperX DDR3-1866 KHX14900D3T1K3/3GX memory modules can work at 1867 MHz frequency and support X.M.P. (Extended Memory Profile) technology, which allows to easily get the desired settings. Advanced memory settings, such as frequency, timings and voltages, are recorded in the modules SPD. So, all you need to do is select the corresponding profile in the mainboard BIOS and you will easily get the desired result without any effort and manual adjustment of the parameters.

Unfortunately, not all mainboards work with X.M.P. technology correctly, but Intel DX58SO is not one of them. When we selected the first profile, the board set 1867 MHz frequency, increased the memory voltage to 1.66 V and Uncore voltage – to 1.5 V. By selecting the second profile we increased the memory frequency to 1600 MHz and Uncore voltage – to 1.45 V. Both these settings are high enough, especially keeping in mind that the default Uncore voltage on Intel DX58SO mainboard way lower than on most mainboards: only 1.15 V. As a rule, lower values will do just fine without threatening the system stability. And this is exactly what we saw: our memory worked at 1867 MHz frequency with “QPI/Uncore Voltage Override” set to 1.275 V.

In conclusion I would only like to repeat once more time that when the CPU was working in its nominal mode, Intel DX58SO mainboard didn’t reveal any issues or specific operational peculiarities. However, all the interesting things started happening during overclocking, which is exactly what we will discuss next.

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