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Comparison of Intel Chipset 975x & 965 w/ Duo 2 Core

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August 24, 2006 2:35:59 PM

After much research and hours of talking to tech reps, reading reviews, tech specs, articles and anything else I came to a semi reasonable and accurate assesment of the two Chipsets...

Turns out that the 975x is a less powerful (and older) chipset then the 965, when running Conroe Core 2 duo processors (X6800, E6700, E6600, E6500, E6400, E6300) chips, and that the 965 was built for the Conroe, while the 975 was built for the older processors.

Intel has adapted a method similar to AMD's implementation of memory management and the 965 unleashes the memory capabilities of the Core 2.

First the 965 and 975x chipset have an adjustable memory multiplier. I am assured that the 975x doesn’t handle memory like the 965. Both chipsets support DDR-2 memory speeds well bellow 800 MHz to a maximum of 1060 MHz.

Note: The Memory Multiplier is different then the CPU Multiplier. This is why there is two ways the clock speed and FSB is calculated.

For new comers FSB x Multiplier = CPU Clock Speed. Take the E6700 for example: 266 MHz FSB X 10 Multiplier = 2.66ghz!

The clock speed formula uses a FSB of 266, while the Conroe chip says it has a FSB of 1060. Honestly I am completely sure for the discrepancy except that it has to do with how the FSB and the North Bridge communicate.

Edit: 266 isnt the exact number... it is rounded off... thus the discrepancy of 266x4

With the 965 chipset you can step up your memory multiplier to 1060 MHz, and uses a “Burst” technology that also improves memory access. This is important if you want to spend money on the good memory. Be prepared, 1060 MHz memory goes for $400 for 2 Gigs.

Note: The performance gains of 1060 MHz Corsair memory have been reported to be slight (3%) compared to the top end 800 MHz Corsair memory. Last I heard the latest bios updates from Asus for the 965 chipsets don’t support changing in latencies from their defaults. Hopefully this will change. I recommend CORSAIR’s TWIN2X2048-8500C5! Can you say LIFETIME Warranty! CORSAIR also admits their memory was built to go well above 1060 and have heard of reports of above 1100 MHz. Corsair also states that you can drop the latency from 5-5-5-15 to 4-4-4-12! I sure hope Asus releases a BIOS update for this. The increase from 800 mhz to 1024 Mhz is definitely a higher performance bump then the lower costing and much lower latency memory.

With the 975x chipset you are limiting your Conroe to an older memory access mechanism. I would be interested in seeing a direct comparison between the two chipsets.

The 965 chipset unleashes the full potential of the Conroe’s power saving features and monitors the 5 thermostats on the Core 2 Duos. I hear it will temporally boost the performance of the chip based on these readings. These advanced power control features should result in overall lower power consumption (even under load) and should result in a better over clocking system.

If you increase the FSB settings, you will increase the speed of the memory based on the memory multiplier. Again, Intel’s Conroe chips also have been known to have other advanced memory features that will also speed up access. Unfortunately the 975x chipset does not support many of these features. Again you can look them up yourself, and hopefully someone can report on the differences.

I bought the x6800 with the Asus P5B, after cancelling my order for the Asus P5W-DH. I didn’t buy the Deluxe because I am saving my money to upgrade to a better motherboard as the future comes. BTW, the 965 does NOT support SLI or Crossfire, the 975x is reported to running some MoBo’s with duel PCI Express 8x Crossfire.

I also chose the 965 chipset because I bought a 1900xtx video card, and run a monitor with a maximum resolution of 1200x1024. This means that my FPS will be higher then the sky even on the newest games with max settings (FEAR, Ghost Recon, ETC) without SLI or Crossfire. In the future it may be cost effective for me to buy a new MoBo with the next gen chipset and another Video Card. Also I am running a complete water cooled system, though due to the extreme modification to the case and the complex wire solutions I am working on, I wont have it running until August 25, 2006 (tomorrow).

-------Added 9/25/06--------
When Buying a 965 or 975 MoBo for the Core 2 Duo, make sure you get the bios flashed to a version that supports your chip. I hear of people having problems with the 965 and the Extreme Processor, and they often need to purchase bios chips from Asus. Other problems exist with the 975. Go to your local no-name dealer who eaks out a living selling machines, and buy your MoBo from him. That way he can use a old intel processor to boot it up and flash it for you. And if you have any problems the guys are usually very willing to help you out.

-------------------

Lastly, expect NVidia and others to come out with purpose built Conroe 2 duo chipsets.

Thanks
Mike

P.S. I will monitor this thread and update my original post with any confirmed information that users can provide. Hopefully we will have a complete resource for thoose people who are shopping for a MoBo.
Edited for corrections bellow!
August 24, 2006 3:41:06 PM

Hi Matey,

Since you want a direct comparison here it is:

A direct comparison of the best boards for the Conroes, and The 975x P5W DH Deluxe wins hands down. It OCs by a much greater margin even though the bios has still much room for improvements.

http://www.anandtech.com/mb/showdoc.aspx?i=2797

As far as the FSB limitations, I think the combination of ram and motherboard is very important, as well as cooling and power supply off course. And as far as the overall OC is concerned it helps to have some luck and get a good chip. I don't believe any two cpu's manufactured is exactly the same which is important to remember.

Kind regards
August 24, 2006 4:24:18 PM

Wow! No offense but reading that made my head want to explode. Yes the 965 has a slightly enhanced memory controller over the 975. Yes the 965 is a newer chipset designed around conroe. Intel limited this chipset in features to be the mainstream chipset. The 975 series boards are more feature rich, scale better and unlike the 965 can support more than 4GB ram at DDR2-800 or higher. Yes is some benchmarks the 965 has marginal gains over the 975 but the 975 has been out for much longer, has all the bugs worked out of it and is the enthusiasts chipset on the Intel side. On a side note the P5B is not a bad board, it works great in the workstation I'm typing this on right now.
Related resources
August 24, 2006 4:50:49 PM

The 975 is also the more mature platform. I like the 965's new southbridge, especially since I think PATA and UDMA and all other forms of non-SATA should just die, but I the 975 still offers more stability for me. It could also be because the P5W-DH deluxe is such a great mobo, with features that the P5B deluxe doesn't have (Especially the remote. I love the remote).
August 24, 2006 5:01:38 PM

Hi,

the truth is that no chipset is going to "limit" Core2Duo in any way,
even the Via PT880, Nvidia's new NForce 5xx Intel Edition and older Intel chipsets like 945G/P aren't limiting Core2Duo.

When you want to reach the hightest overclocks 975 currently has the most potential, probably because Bios's for these (second revision to support Core2Duo) boards have matured over the time.
965 is brand new and has little flaws like almost everything thats new in IT.

Some overclocking math:

The FSB of Core2Duo is 266Mhz not 233Mhz.
The bus is quad-pumped resulting into an effective FSB of 1066Mhz.

When you ran DDR 533 the multiplier is 1x.
Why this? It's DDR (Double Data Rate) memory, meaning it's in reality only running at 266 Mhz (266 * 2 = 533).

DDR553 -> Ratio 1:1 (RAM Speed = FSB * 1 / 1)
DRR667 -> Ratio 5:4
DRR800 -> Ratio 3:1
DDR1066 -> Ratio 4:1

There is actually no reason to shell out much money on high end RAM for Core2Duo, the differences between DDR533 and DDR800 and higher are insignificant.
Spending money on other more crucial parts (processor, graphics card) makes more sense and has a real performance boost.

When you want to overclock those "little" Core2Duo's getting DDR800 memory at least makes sense, since these CPU's have a lower Multiplier
and you have to push the FSB really high (near or over 400) to reach high clock speeds near 3Ghz.
But since the smallest multiplier one can select is 1x, at a FSB 400 the memory will at least run @ 400 Mhz (DDR800).

Core2Duo Multipliers
Core2Duo E6300 -> 7x
Core2Duo E6400 -> 8x
Core2Duo E6600 -> 9x
Core2Duo E6700 -> 10x

Christian
August 24, 2006 7:14:10 PM

Great info in here guys. I was confused at first, but after reading through all the posts there's a lot of interesting stuff here.
August 26, 2006 1:16:06 AM

A few comments, that dont fit as corrections... I beleive I made all the errors in my statements fixed... I also added a section that is important due to the problems with different bios versions sold on both the 975x and the 965. I also beleive some people did a GREAT job of filling in the boxes. And everyones opinions are both right and wrong for many reasons... Heres why...

A question of value.
What is the best use of your money... DDR-800, DDR-1060, Better Videocard, Soundblaster X-Fi (see bellow), better processor, water cooling, etc...

Well honestly no one here can give you a best solution for your money. If you want a perfect PC, then I can tell you how to build it... But expect to spend well over $10,000-$100,000 (can you say SCSI RAID-5 Seagate CHEETAH!) http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1682...

Overclocking confuses things further. Will the NorthBridge be the barrier, or the memory. Maybe the Chipset. How much should I spend? Water Cooling? Etc... all change the parameters... and honestly I tried hard to answer these questions and only came up with more questions. The problem is that some E6700 Chips will OC better then other E6700. Others may have one Core Slower then the other. The ambient temperature in the case may change slightly. Or the user may have farted, and the resulting gas created a hostile electrical solution that slowed the chip down. God knows...

Me I went the expensive route. Brand new Water Cooling... 1900XTX (yeah I know Geforce is a bit better performance but the cost was right), DDR2-1060, with a X6800! Also have the SoundBlaster X-Fi, a Flowgaudge, A huge Pump with a Huge Radiator, in a prefab $400 case. 550 wat powersupply with the addition of a 5" drive bay powersupply coming (to power my Peltier) and a lowly P5B (no not the Deluxe). Dont want to fry my EXPENSIVE Mobo with a mistaken frost!) I dont recommend doing it my way... Maybe I should go Cheetah too

The fun is in the details, do the research and pick what you think will meet your needs. With a New chip out, there are very few sure things...

As a Reply to the P5W-DH
The P5W-DH really looks cool... Nice remote... But if you want to use the MoBo as a real Home Audio/Theater station forget on board sound and use the Sound Blaster X-Fi. Which at under $100 (on sale) I have noticed an improvement of over 3 fps on my old pc, when playing FEAR! Much better then spending $400 on DDR 1066. Also, check out the remote for it... http://us.creative.com/products/product.asp?category=1&...

Also, this is the most amazing sounding card I have ever heard. Probably wont notice it on your normal cpu speakers (due to their low quality) but throw on some good headphones and the quality is amazing. 109 Noise to DB ratio... HOLY CRAP! BTW, the reason I like this card is cause of the processor on it. It unloads the weight of sound and the effects onto the card and unburdens the CPU! I also love turning down in game music and playing MP3's. On my old CPU (single core) this could lead to major drops in FPS. When I added the X-Fi, the drop all but disapeared.

Since I will probably be buying the next gen chipsets when they come out, I would rather save the $80 cost difference. I also hate buying items that come packaged together. Like a Remote. If I ever decide to use another computer as a home theater system, and keep this computer as my gaming machine, then I would have to buy another solution. Also, Frost sucks!

Mike
September 2, 2006 4:16:30 AM

My Intel DG965SS motherboard and E6300 runs great together. I wanted to
get into the Conroe era as cheaply as possible and stay Intel, that's why
I went with the SS. It offers practically no options for OC outside of changing
the memory timings and no RAID, but it is quick and very, very quiet. I have
4 fans not counting the power supply (ThermalTake 430) and you can barely
hear the system running! The mainboard monitors all the board fans and
controls their speed depending on workload, etc. Also my cheap X1300 has
a fanless heatpipe. Anyway, just for the folks who,when they turn their
systems on and the cat runs out of the room, the new 965 and Core combos
work very well together.... :D 
September 5, 2006 7:32:05 AM

Quote:
There is actually no reason to shell out much money on high end RAM for Core2Duo, the differences between DDR533 and DDR800 and higher are insignificant.
Spending money on other more crucial parts (processor, graphics card) makes more sense and has a real performance boost.


There's a test which showed DDR2-800 to DDR2-1066 on the 1066MHz FSB has bigger gap than DDR2-533 to DDR2-800.

http://www.hardware.fr/articles/623-10/intel-core-2-duo...

You can see DDR2-1066 using 5-5-5-15 timings are having greater gap from DDR2-800 than it does at any other speed comparison. I suspect there's something in the memory controller and DDR2 that makes being synchronous+exceed FSB bandwidth is the best combination. Meaning DDR2-533 dual channel for 1066MHz isn't a good idea, but DDR2-1066 dual channel is, and DDR2-667 isn't best for 1333MHz FSB but DDR2-1333 will.
September 5, 2006 2:20:10 PM

Wusy, whats true today isnt true tomorrow. With Vista coming out (some year) and as companies start programming to meet and optimize new standards, then the gap between synthetic tests and real world tests will close. (hopefully)

As it turns out, there is little to NO difference in FPS in Fear from the old top end AMD's and the new Intel Core 2 Duo. The game developers realized that their was a break in Mores Law and so they developed a game that full utilized the current chips available. The developers of Fear obviously did a REALLY good job because they maximized out the technologies that CURRENTLY existed. My hats go off to you FEAR guys...

Anyways, I must express a real change in heart. Currently (as of 9/5/06) the 975 chipset seems to be allot better chipset then the 965. The problems and lack of a good Bios really does lower my opinion of what is available today. Then Again, what is true today wont be true tomorrow.

Mike
September 5, 2006 11:54:47 PM

I heard that 965 supports the upcoming QuadCore but the 975x doesn't :?
September 6, 2006 2:00:12 AM

Quote:
I heard that 965 supports the upcoming QuadCore but the 975x doesn't :?


It is actually the otherway around. The upcoming quadcore will be supported on the 975X and not on the 965
September 9, 2006 11:42:44 PM

Quote:
The Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 has already been confirmed to support Kentsfield by Gigabyte.

It's a matter of VRM not chipset.


sorry .. but what is VRM? something about voltage?
September 10, 2006 7:07:10 AM

Quote:
The Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 has already been confirmed to support Kentsfield by Gigabyte.

It's a matter of VRM not chipset.


wusy does the following mean the kentsfield will be supported on the 975 chipset like P5W DH?

"Since the CPU combines two Conroe dual-core chips, the chip will carry 2 x 4 MB L2 cache; Kentsfield will be a Conroe "drop-in" chip and work with the 965 and 975 series chipsets on today's Core 2 Duo motherboards."

the above is the preview of the Quad Core article.
September 10, 2006 11:00:26 AM

Great info. here guys, nicely done by all of you
September 10, 2006 2:35:10 PM

Your answer is in your question. The chipset is the nforce chipset. I cant tell you personally if any of these chipsets support the Conroe. Chances are they dont, or only some of them do... Giga-byte was suppose to have there nForce 590 for intel out by now (at least that is what I was told, by a Giga-Byte representative). I do know that it is NOT out yet. The nforce 590 chipset is available to Motherboard manufacturers, and are in production, but the MoBo makers must be working out the design, development and construction of these boards. When they are released they should be awsome motherboards, though it will take some time to realize which is the best. Obviously if you want SLI then you got to wait for this chipset. For all we know it may be released around the time the quad chips are out.

We will see speed benchmarks for these boards as soon as they come out, if there are not some out right now from pre-release boards. As long as the are not HUGE differences in speeds, the result of these tests will be temporary.

I beleive we will see the 965 beat out the 975 in speed as the chipset progresses. What I have yet to hear about (and I would like too, HINT HINT HINT...) is a ATI based Intel chipset. I know AMD now owns ATI, but that wont, and shouldnt prevent the chipset manufacturer from producing valid and strong Intel Core 2 Duo chipsets. Without them, ATI videocards could be in jeopardy.
September 10, 2006 2:57:49 PM

Quote:
Your answer is in your question. The chipset is the nforce chipset. I cant tell you personally if any of these chipsets support the Conroe. Chances are they dont, or only some of them do... Giga-byte was suppose to have there nForce 590 for intel out by now (at least that is what I was told, by a Giga-Byte representative). I do know that it is NOT out yet. The nforce 590 chipset is available to Motherboard manufacturers, and are in production, but the MoBo makers must be working out the design, development and construction of these boards. When they are released they should be awsome motherboards, though it will take some time to realize which is the best. Obviously if you want SLI then you got to wait for this chipset. For all we know it may be released around the time the quad chips are out.

We will see speed benchmarks for these boards as soon as they come out, if there are not some out right now from pre-release boards. As long as the are not HUGE differences in speeds, the result of these tests will be temporary.

I beleive we will see the 965 beat out the 975 in speed as the chipset progresses. What I have yet to hear about (and I would like too, HINT HINT HINT...) is a ATI based Intel chipset. I know AMD now owns ATI, but that wont, and shouldnt prevent the chipset manufacturer from producing valid and strong Intel Core 2 Duo chipsets. Without them, ATI videocards could be in jeopardy.


Lets for one moment consider teh the 965 and 975 chipsets from a business perspective, afterall these items are made by companies to make them money and then some more money. IF you were a company that produced both 965 and 975 chipsets, would you want such a margin of difference that consumers can easily distinguish and choose one over the other? As a business person I definately would not like that, I would risk losing on one of those products. But what if I released products and marketed them differently with slightly different names, with very few major comparitive differences and then sold both? AHHH, now that might just work out well, I will have people buying and selling either one for personal choice and perhaps some modest technical reasons, and in turn the users will protect their investment by arguing for it, and I will make a lot more money. Perhaps down the track with more fine tuning the 965 might out-clock 975 chipsets that are more established, but by then the differences will be very grey.

An example. The 975 chipset, mainly the P5W DH is Crossfire Ready but not SLI. But for those of you wanting to have SLI you can certainly do it.

SLI does work with 975X boards with hacked drivers. Here is the link to the guys are doing it as we speak:

http://www.nvnews.net/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=76134

and this link will provide you with further links to the neccessary files.

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=11...

There are many who have done this and will attest to it at nV forums. Seems to work very well.

Kind regards
September 10, 2006 3:29:07 PM

Hm I dont agree totally with the OP.

Yeah, the 965 has a slightly optimised memory controller, but C2D has been shown to not be very fussy about memory anyway.

975 on the other hand has proven itself a much better overclocker.

As for ther thermal/power saving features? I really dont give a damn how well a CPU does at idle, I always disable all these features. I plan my rigs to function best at 100% load, not on how well they function at idle.

nVidia are bringing out the nForce 590 Intel edition, and it looks to be a very poor overclocker, so I'm unconvinced about that too.
September 10, 2006 3:53:23 PM

Quote:
The 975 is also the more mature platform. I like the 965's new southbridge, especially since I think PATA and UDMA and all other forms of non-SATA should just die, but I the 975 still offers more stability for me. It could also be because the P5W-DH deluxe is such a great mobo, with features that the P5B deluxe doesn't have (Especially the remote. I love the remote).


A while back I mentioned here that I have an friend that is C2D wealthy. I checked back in with him last week. He's been putting all of his energy lately into maximizing his 6600 OC on air. He's at 3.6GHz and is having better luck with 965 boards (he has three different ones) than 975 (he has four). He's got the CPU multiplier at 7x and is running a FSB a little over 500MHz. This setup has proven more stable than a higher multiplier and lower FSB and he's getting better app performance with the 7x multiplier. The 975 boards did not run stable for him over 3.2 if I remember correctly. He's got aftermarket cooling but at 3.6GHz, that 6600 is running pretty hot. Time to WC or more for that rig.
September 10, 2006 7:34:33 PM

Quote:
...He's got aftermarket cooling..


What HSF is he using ?
September 10, 2006 11:01:35 PM

I care about energy when I am paying the electric bill, and when our world is quickly getting Hotter and Hotter. I guess I shouldnt worry about Global Warming since I get my power from nice clean nuclear power:) Only problem is where to put the rods:( 

Anyways, off point. From what I understand, is that 965 enables power saving features WHILE the board is running MAX. This means it helps enable the chip to shut down areas that are not beign used. The core 2 duo does this all the time, and its not only instantanous, but its one of the reasons the chip is able to run so cool (and hence so fast).

As far as economics go, the winner of the race is the one who sells the most. And well there are more then one person competing.

As for air cooling verse water cooling, I have a strong suspicion that the air coolers will work better then the watercoolers on the chips that are multiplier locked. Just look at the heat sink configuration on these boards... Please Read http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/start-Guide-Wat... for it explains the problems with allot of these designs.
September 11, 2006 12:21:57 AM

Meh, the cost of a few watts will be saved many times over due to the fact that playing games on my computer distracts me from putting the kettle on :p 

Power saving features are just hassle when you are trying to overclock imho.

I also prefer the older southbridge, as, like many people, I still have lots of PATA devices! (although my DVD-RW drive is no longer one of them :D  )
September 11, 2006 1:59:05 AM

Quote:
...He's got aftermarket cooling..


What HSF is he using ?

You name it, he's got it. Scythe Mine was on last time I was in the house. You gotta realize there's no toy this guy doesn't have two or three of. It's his hobby and he can afford to play hard at it.
!