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X38 Comparison Part 2: DDR3 Motherboards

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  • Motherboards
  • DDR3
  • Performance
Last response: in Motherboards
November 26, 2007 10:32:29 AM

In our earlier DDR2 motherboard comparison, we found that features, not raw performance, mark the big improvements of Intel's X38 Express chipset compared to the previous P35. Can DDR3 further its improvements?

http://www.tomshardware.com/2007/11/26/x38_comparison_part2/index.html

More about : x38 comparison part ddr3 motherboards

November 26, 2007 2:04:19 PM


I just want to say that I feel lucky and vindicated that I have the editor's choice motherboard. I picked up the Maximus Extreme last week and built my system this thanksgiving weekend...and now that I see that the performance is ~1% better (something I'll never "feel") I feel like a tool for spending $400 on a motherboard.
November 26, 2007 4:44:42 PM

AAAAHHHHHHHH AHAAHAHAHAHAHHHAAA...yea

But at least I give the writer cudos for calling it for what it was, a miniscule performance lead. SOOOO many many articles I have read where the writer compares chipsets, or other things, and calls leads of 1 or 2 % a "huge lead", or 10 marks on 15,000 a major victory...phht. It would just make me sick and I ususally posted something about it.

This article makes one thing very clear, just go buy the lowest price X38 mobo that has the features you need and know that at worst, you are only loosing about 1% overall performance by not spending the extra $175. Take that extra money and put it into that 8800's or a better CPU where it belongs.
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November 26, 2007 4:58:32 PM

Con lo visto en éste artículo puedo decir: Que estupidez de chipset el X38 y ni hablar de la patética DDR3.

A donde hemos llegado con ésto de sacar nuevas tecnologias que no superan a sus predecesoras.

La único positivo que podría ver sería la disminución de consumo de energía.

Beh!
a b V Motherboard
November 26, 2007 8:14:47 PM

LaloFG said:
Con lo visto en éste artículo puedo decir: Que estupidez de chipset el X38 y ni hablar de la patética DDR3.

A donde hemos llegado con ésto de sacar nuevas tecnologias que no superan a sus predecesoras.

La único positivo que podría ver sería la disminución de consumo de energía.

Beh!


Actually the P35 is also more efficient than the X38, unless you were speaking of the energy saved by using DDR3.
November 26, 2007 11:11:22 PM

I wish they would use PCI-Express 2.0 cards with these boards. Somehow I feel that it's not a true evaluation of a board if you're not using everything that's presented to you. X38 boasts PCI-Express 2.0 and DDR3 memory, lets start using both. :) 
November 26, 2007 11:36:27 PM

This may sound a little bit oddball, but seeing that the Asus board is larger than the standard ATX spec has got me thinking - top end motherboards trying to pack every feature in should move to E-ATX format, similar to server boards.

Yes, the old BP6 was a dual socket ATX board, but it had no way near the features of todays boards and it didn't push the amps that these X38 boards use.

The upcoming Skulltrail and 4x4 are both dual CPU designs, making room for two CPU's plus all other regular mobo features AND allowing 2 or 4 dual-slot video cards to fit cannot, IMHO, go without some sort of redesign in either mobo layout or case size. I know EATX won't give any extra slots above 7, but it could allow mobo makers to play around with CPU, NB and ram slot placement.

I'm not suggesting that ATX be dumped or replaced overnight, but it is becoming ever more evident that increasing feature sets and multi-GPU requirements have reached the size limits of what an ATX board can physically accommodate.
November 27, 2007 4:39:11 AM

Crashman said:
Actually the P35 is also more efficient than the X38, unless you were speaking of the energy saved by using DDR3.


Actually, I talked about both technologies (Chipset & memory), but i did not know the efficiency of the P35. The Only benefit that remains is the energy savings in ddr3... and that is worse.

De hecho hablaba de ambas tecnologias, pero no conocía la eficiencia del P35 frente al X38. Sólo queda entonces el ahorro de energía al usar DDR3, lo cual es peor aún!
November 27, 2007 11:29:29 AM

Any one else notice or compare the DDR2 boards with the DDR3 ones? There is very little difference. I would kicking myself in the cat tail if I bought a DDR3 board! I think that most builders are on some what of a restricted budget. With no gains from ram, the build money would be better spent on the cpu, lots more ram, or video card or something. Come to think of it, the monitor is really the only item that will probably last a few builds. If it were me, I would sink the aditional dough into the monitor. Just me though.
November 27, 2007 10:35:17 PM

Hi guys, following this closely cause I want to rebuild in December and would prefer to have the latest and greatest so I can keep it for about 3 years. What about that Foxconn X38A. That MB has the X38 chipset and is compatible with both DDR2 and DDR3. Maybe buy DDR2 for now then upgrade to DDR3 when the prices become more mainstream. I just hate to buy the P35 when we already have newer chipset available.

November 28, 2007 12:35:28 PM

panzer948 said:
Hi guys, following this closely cause I want to rebuild in December and would prefer to have the latest and greatest so I can keep it for about 3 years. What about that Foxconn X38A. That MB has the X38 chipset and is compatible with both DDR2 and DDR3. Maybe buy DDR2 for now then upgrade to DDR3 when the prices become more mainstream. I just hate to buy the P35 when we already have newer chipset available.



Why buy the DDR3 ram at all? Look at the benchmarks. They ran the exact same tests with both DDR3 and DDR2 boards. There is no noticable difference. You would never notice a second here or there on something that takes over a minute. My question is why not save that money until your next build or put it toward something that makes a noticable difference.
November 28, 2007 3:52:02 PM

guyz have you looked at the charts..DDR3 out-performed DDR2 by less than 0.5%...so could someone please enlighten us and tell us why should we buy DDR3? i mean could someone justify those hard-earned extra 200 bucks we put when we buy DDR3?
a b V Motherboard
November 28, 2007 4:32:59 PM

neocortex said:
guyz have you looked at the charts..DDR3 out-performed DDR2 by less than 0.5%...so could someone please enlighten us and tell us why should we buy DDR3? i mean could someone justify those hard-earned extra 200 bucks we put when we buy DDR3?


You should buy DDR3 so that it will become "mainstream" faster. That way the price will come down sooner, and the rest of us will be able to get it cheaply when we want to overclock our front-side-bus beyond, say, 600MHz :p 
November 28, 2007 6:01:02 PM

Crashman said:
You should buy DDR3 so that it will become "mainstream" faster. That way the price will come down sooner, and the rest of us will be able to get it cheaply when we want to overclock our front-side-bus beyond, say, 600MHz :p 


That could be one of the dumbest arguments ever put forward. It still doesn't address the issue; DDR3 (insofar as it has been implemented to date) holds no significant advantage over DDR2. I suppose that you could argue that DDR3 makes someone more money... hardly the advantage that anyone is looking for though.
a b V Motherboard
November 28, 2007 6:10:32 PM

hairycat101 said:
That could be one of the dumbest arguments ever put forward. It still doesn't address the issue; DDR3 (insofar as it has been implemented to date) holds no significant advantage over DDR2. I suppose that you could argue that DDR3 makes someone more money... hardly the advantage that anyone is looking for though.


I don't think it's such a bad argument: If you buy 10,000 modules this month, 20,000 next month, and 40,000 the following month, the rest of us might see mainstream prices by mid 2008.
November 29, 2007 2:21:53 AM

Crashman said:
I don't think it's such a bad argument: If you buy 10,000 modules this month, 20,000 next month, and 40,000 the following month, the rest of us might see mainstream prices by mid 2008.



Please explain how increased demand is going to lower the price. I would love to see that. Now, assuming that prices are similar or not relavent, what's the advantage in DDR3 again? Did you look at the benchmarks? Its the same #$%^ing thing! It makes no difference at all. Ok, there might be less then one percent difference.
November 29, 2007 3:34:27 AM

PCI 2.0 & DDR2!!!!!!
a b V Motherboard
November 29, 2007 5:42:29 AM

hairycat101 said:
Please explain how increased demand is going to lower the price. I would love to see that. Now, assuming that prices are similar or not relavent, what's the advantage in DDR3 again? Did you look at the benchmarks? Its the same #$%^ing thing! It makes no difference at all. Ok, there might be less then one percent difference.



Anyone who limits their idea of price to the old "supply and demand" idea is completely lost because they're forgetting "the economies of volume". You increase demand to cause companies to shift production, tricking them into believing the increase is a trend. Then when the market levels off, the prices fall through the floor.
November 29, 2007 7:10:23 AM

i dont get why you're avoiding the question...why DDR3 is better than DDR2? instead of teaching us how economy works and how supply and demand is gonna affect my sorry a$$, just repeat after me: I..DONT...KNOW
November 29, 2007 8:54:04 AM

Wouldn't it be false economy to buy an X38 board that only supported DDR2?

I'm about to build a new system, and I'm thinking of getting an Asus P5E3.

I want to get a Q6600 CPU and overclock it to at least 3GHz so I also plan to get DDR3 1800MHz, as I hear that is the only speed that will allow a 1:1 ratio. Is that correct?

I've also read that the X38 and new CPUs appreciate the high bandwidths of DDR3, and that latency is not so important ?
November 29, 2007 9:13:06 AM

400x8 = 3.2ghz 800mhz DDR2 1:1
November 29, 2007 11:55:53 AM

Crashman said:
Anyone who limits their idea of price to the old "supply and demand" idea is completely lost because they're forgetting "the economies of volume". You increase demand to cause companies to shift production, tricking them into believing the increase is a trend. Then when the market levels off, the prices fall through the floor.


Clearly Crashman is a raving idiot. Supply and demand isn’t some old notion. It is the way things work. What you are referring to is the idea that supply follows demand. What will level the prices isn’t some trickery but the fact that the companies are trying to be the first to recapture their “sunk costs”. This is a cost separate from the production costs. Example: Brand X retools to make DDR3. They spend $ 1,000,000 to do so. (This is just an example, don’t give me @$@$ about the figures used) The cost to produce each unit is $ 1.00. That means that after they produce 2,000,000 units, they have recaptured their sunk costs and now they try to reduce prices so that their competitors will be caught selling cheaper then they want to thus dragging out when they can recapture their sunk costs. The economics of volume or economy of scale plays in to this by producing as many units as possible to reduce costs for each unit. The reduction in costs you see is a product of the supply finally catching up with demand. When the suppliers have recaptured their sunk costs, they can try to undercut each other. Further more, neocortex has it right when he states that you are avoiding the whole point about why you believe DDR3 to be better then DDR2. My advice to Crashman is to get on the right meds.

Opps. Forgot to put in that this example assumes a $2 selling cost for each unit. ;) 
a b V Motherboard
November 29, 2007 12:49:06 PM

hairycat101 said:
Clearly Crashman is a raving idiot... .The reduction in costs you see is a product of the supply finally catching up with demand. When the suppliers have recaptured their sunk costs, they can try to undercut each other. Further more, neocortex has it right when he states that you are avoiding the whole point about why you believe DDR3 to be better then DDR2.


You can't have it both ways. You clearly agree that when supply catches up with demand the price goes down. You know that production cost sink when more units are produced as manufacturers find ways to undercut each other. Therefore, any "idiot" could see that increasing demand over time sets the stage for companies to do just that, and that when the demand levels off there will be a slight oversupply which brings prices down.

And the question wasn't "why is DDR3 better", it was "why should I buy DDR3". The answer is simple: People must buy DDR3 in relatively large quantities in order for this to happen.

You just proved my notions about underlying forces that manipulate supply and demand...making me look brilliant! Thanks!
November 29, 2007 2:28:08 PM

Hairycat,

I'll tell you why I purchased DDR3...I wanted it and it wasn't that much different in price from good DDR2. At the time I bought 2gb of DDR3-1800 it was on sale for $400, there was still DDR2 2gb for $540.

The last time I built a computer was when DDR2 was just coming out. Everyone said the same things about DDR2. So I skipped it and got DDR-400. After all, there wasn't much of a real world performance boost from going with DDR2 at that time either. However, when DDR2 prices did drop, I couldn't jump on the bandwagon at that point because of motherboard compatability. Something I regretted. So once every 3-4 years I get to build a computer financially, so I wanted to have a little future proofing...so I got DDR3.

I think crashman has a point. next summer when DDR3 prices drop and everyone is marvelling at (reasonably priced) DDR3-2200...remember if nobody bought DDR3 in the first place (like me) they never would have pressed the advance. DDR3 has to be economically viable for anyone to invest, research, market and sell modules. If nobody bought DDR3 until prices dropped...I think many companies wouldn't go down that road in the first place. Put another way: if you space out the investment and reward too far...say that we the public won't buy DDR3 until prices are 1/4 of today...then it might be too much for companies to take the risk and carry the financial burden for 2 years before they can sell chips. So it is people like me who get suckered into buying DDR3 that keep the wheels greased so that prices can come down in the future.
November 29, 2007 2:40:25 PM

Sunk cost refers not to lowering costs but to initial costs. It’s a business/economic term. It’s the cost just to get started. The thing that would decrease the cost of these chips is supply outpacing demand. But I will concede that supply will try to follow demand. That’s why they are in business. BTW http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunk_cost worth a look so that you can learn what the term means. I didn’t read the whole thing, so I hope no one on wickipedia screwed up the definition. Buy it if you want to. My initial point was that the delta could be better spent some place else.
November 29, 2007 5:07:26 PM

Yes, but I would also say that if you don't have enough people purchasing DDR3 along the way, then the return to make the sunk cost worth it might not pencil out for memory manufacturers. And the sunk costs are incremental. As DDR3-1067 modules get sold, more research is done and DDr3-1333 modules are produced.

I'll agree that on a tight budget, I would shift funds to something else. I was originally looking at low latency DDR2, but the costs were higher than better performing DDR3. Although I didn't factor in motherboard cost. But with my system (QX6850, Maxcimus Extreme, DDr3, 8800gtx superclocked) you can argue, quite successfully, that I had more money than brains. But on the otherhand I won't get another build sanctioned by the wife until 2012...so I wanted the best I could get today. And DDR3-1800 performs much better than DDR2 in Sandra, but in the real world everyone knows RAM is not the bottleneck. But, in late 2009, what if I squeeze in a new 45nm CPU and a new 9800gtx card...I didn't want a P35 board with DDR2 to be limiting me.
November 29, 2007 5:20:38 PM

japps2 said:
Yes, but I would also say that if you don't have enough people purchasing DDR3 along the way, then the return to make the sunk cost worth it might not pencil out for memory manufacturers. And the sunk costs are incremental. As DDR3-1067 modules get sold, more research is done and DDr3-1333 modules are produced.

I'll agree that on a tight budget, I would shift funds to something else. I was originally looking at low latency DDR2, but the costs were higher than better performing DDR3. Although I didn't factor in motherboard cost. But with my system (QX6850, Maxcimus Extreme, DDr3, 8800gtx superclocked) you can argue, quite successfully, that I had more money than brains. But on the otherhand I won't get another build sanctioned by the wife until 2012...so I wanted the best I could get today. And DDR3-1800 performs much better than DDR2 in Sandra, but in the real world everyone knows RAM is not the bottleneck. But, in late 2009, what if I squeeze in a new 45nm CPU and a new 9800gtx card...I didn't want a P35 board with DDR2 to be limiting me.



Fair enough. Buy what you want. Back to economics... SUNK COSTS ARE NOT INCREMENTAL. The R and D for each type of unit would be a factor in each type's initial/startup/"sunk" cost. The fact that there may be a benefit from not having to retool as much to go from one type of DDR3 to another does not change the initial cost of tooling for the initial type of DDR3. This incremental cost is a part of the manufacturing cost. This is part of the economy of scale. This isn't even a @%#@$%ing econ forum.
November 29, 2007 6:41:15 PM

While I would agree that the sunk costs are not incremental for a given technology, I would argue that DDR3 is not all the same technology. Micron has many different chips. The D9-GTH chips are great DDR3 chips up to DDR3-2000 speeds, but while the older D9-GKX chips are good DDR2 they can't hit the higher rates. And DDR3-1067 chips are different than DDR3-1800. I would think that Micron has sunk costs for almost each new chip. enthusiasts push the envelope (and pay premiums)...but it keeps new technology coming to a degree.
November 29, 2007 7:25:00 PM

japps2 said:
While I would agree that the sunk costs are not incremental for a given technology, I would argue that DDR3 is not all the same technology. Micron has many different chips. The D9-GTH chips are great DDR3 chips up to DDR3-2000 speeds, but while the older D9-GKX chips are good DDR2 they can't hit the higher rates. And DDR3-1067 chips are different than DDR3-1800. I would think that Micron has sunk costs for almost each new chip. enthusiasts push the envelope (and pay premiums)...but it keeps new technology coming to a degree.


I'm done! I don't care anymore. One last time though, on the idea of startup costs... Why the @%$@ wouldn't they have a startup cost for each new chip? Forget the rest of any of the other off-topic discussions here. Why wouldn't they have startup (sunk) costs for each new chip? I was never arguing that enthusiasts don't push the envelope and thus pave the way for new tech. I just said it was a wast of @%%$ing money. I am one of the only fools I know who bought Rambus. I paid for it like my life depended on it. I proved not much better then regular ddr ram. I just said it was a wast of money. That's it. Buy it anyways. Thanks for paving the way.
November 29, 2007 7:44:29 PM

easy there hairycat...just a discussion. And you know I can't fully take you serious while I'm looking at you icon.

I don't disagree with you at all on any of your points. Like you I also got coned into Rambus. Now DDR3...the only issue I had was that you were offensively attacking people for spending money on cutting edge tech...which is the same tech that will be affordable to the masses in 6 months. But without stupid people with spare money, it would never trickle down to you.
November 30, 2007 1:39:16 AM

my icon... That is a real picture of me. ;) 
November 30, 2007 4:17:34 AM

Ok, here's a question.

They used Corsair Dominator memory for the test. P/N TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF.

I started searching around for prices and came across this very memory but also a variant, TWIN3X2048-1800C7DFIN.

According to Corsairs website this second memory is identical with the exception of "* Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profiles". I couldn't find much information on this so I was wondering if anyone knew what this difference means?
November 30, 2007 11:48:23 AM

Eclipse1024 said:
Ok, here's a question.

They used Corsair Dominator memory for the test. P/N TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF.

I started searching around for prices and came across this very memory but also a variant, TWIN3X2048-1800C7DFIN.

According to Corsairs website this second memory is identical with the exception of "* Supports Intel Extreme Memory Profiles". I couldn't find much information on this so I was wondering if anyone knew what this difference means?


Isn't that the same (similar) technology for the Nvidia boards? I think it is.
December 1, 2007 1:10:27 PM

japps2: Thank you, thank you. Finally someone around here that understands what I was asking and why I wanted a DDR3 X38 board. Some of you guys here fail to realize that some of us don't live for rebuilding computers every year. As I stated above, I (like Japps2) only rebuild about every 3 years, so I want what is good now. I could give a rats a$$ about what is coming out next year, because when I'm ready to rebuild in 3 years, that technology will be so forgotten that you guys will have to use the archieves to look it up. Geez.

And I would be kicking myself too (like Japps2 said) if I limited myself to DDR2 for the next 3 years. In addition, as i understand it, the performance of DDR3 will only improve as the bios, drivers, other hardware etc. catches up/gets updated.

However, because I too hate buying something that will come down 60% in a few months, I was thinking of picking up this cheaper brand of DDR3 for my new X38 MB: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682... Then in a few months swapping it for a higher performance module when the prices become more resonable.

I don't care if my MB costs me $300 (I'm looking at the GA-X38T-DQ6). The MB price is what it is and it's an investment for 3 years so I don't feel that price is to out there. But... DDR3 is. I just worry if I will be able to do some mild OC'ing with this cheaper DDR3 ram. Japps2 did you look into this too?
a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2007 1:22:28 PM

The only problem with your idea is that DDR3 will NEVER become a better option for X38 chipset boards than it already is. If you're keeping your board 3 years, you could buy faster DDR3 later and get nowhere. Top DDR3 isn't noticeably faster than DDR2. So unless you think you'll be able to keep your RAM and put it into the NEXT system you build 3-years from now, keep dreaming.
December 1, 2007 1:39:13 PM

Okay okay, maybe I'm wrong on the DDR3 improvements. I only jump in these boards when I want to rebuild, so lets just say I have a lot to catch up on. I still want X38 for other futureproofing abilities, so if it is true the DDR3 will not come out with better or more reasonable modules say in the next 6 months or so, maybe my best bet would be to get the GA-X38-DG6 (DDR2 version) and a good set of DDR2 ram like this: http://www.newegg.com/product/product.asp?item=N82E1682...

Anyone have a different opinion on the future performance of DDR3?
a b V Motherboard
December 1, 2007 5:51:30 PM

Heheh, it gets "worse" for anyone looking to spend great wads of cash: You don't even NEED expensive DDR2 to match top-end DDR3, you can do it with Crucial Ballistix PC2-6400 (DDR2-800). All of these I've gotten over the last year have overclocked to DDR2-1200.

There's just not enought "room" left in the current FSB technology to take advantage of the extra bandwidth. Remember that DDR2-667 in dual channel mode has the same theoretical bandwidth as FSB-1333, I'm actually seeing performance drop by setting the memory higher than 1.5x CPU clock.
December 2, 2007 6:49:51 PM

so after all of this, crashman is finnaly agreeing with me that DDR3 makes no since?
a b V Motherboard
December 2, 2007 7:04:25 PM

Wait: Someone asked why they should buy DDR3. I told them why they should. Then someone suggested another reason they might buy DDR3, I told them that they weren't making sense. You see, the only reason to buy DDR3 is to speed up market adoption of the newer technology.

So then, you're agreeing with me?
December 3, 2007 2:22:55 AM

the point is this. Ram, at least in terms of the cpu, does not seem to be a bottleneck as it is in the current stream of things. At this point, the faster ram, ddr3, makes no since. That was my point. Adoption of ddr3 wont make things go faster... at least not right now.
a b V Motherboard
December 3, 2007 3:27:17 AM

Right, I just want to see DDR3 enter the market faster so I can overclock the FSB to insane speeds without dropping the multiplier very low.
December 3, 2007 4:22:36 AM

but what would happen if the next motherboard release wont support ddr2?
a b V Motherboard
December 3, 2007 2:19:48 PM

I already mentioned that you could buy DDR3 in hopes of using it in your next system, but the guy is talking about building his system to last 3 years, putting in the cheapest DDR3, then upgrading to high-end DDR3 when the price comes down. The problem with that strategy is that high-end DDR3 won't provide a noticeable performance benefit over DDR2 using current technology chipsets.

In 3 years, we could be discussing DDR4!
December 3, 2007 2:59:48 PM

Panzer...if I had to do it over again, I would have purchased a good 680i board and 4gb of DDR2. Then save the extra money to get a second videocard for sli in the 6 month-1 year future. However, running the FSB at 400, RAM at 1600 (7-6-6-18, 1T) and CPU at 9x400...the system feels faster in windows than running the RAM at 1333. In games...no difference.

the painful truth is that RAM or the motherboard are not the bottleneck at this point. I paid through the a$$ for ~1% on the motherboard and ~2% on the RAM...somehting that I'll never truely be able to tell. But given my infrequent builds...and that I was burned on the whole "aviod DDR2" issue 3 years ago, I wanted to adopt the DDR3 format for future upgrades.

I'll probably pick up another 2 sticks of DDR3-1800 in a year when it will be 25% of what I paid...and maybe a better videocard. Unfortunately I have an nVidia videocard and a x38 board...I wish AMD would produce a top end performer.
a b V Motherboard
December 3, 2007 6:29:54 PM

japps2 said:


the painful truth is that RAM or the motherboard are not the bottleneck at this point.


Right, the CPU FSB is only half as wide as a dual-channel bus, so you only really "need" DDR2-800 for a new FSB1600 processor.
December 3, 2007 7:10:25 PM

are we really still having this conversation? Everyone here is agreeing that DDR2 ram is in no way shape or form a bottleneck issue. Me, Japps, Crashman and probably most of the readers who are driven mad by reading this repeditive thread. Can we all let this one die? Please!
December 3, 2007 9:54:57 PM

Yea, I'll let it die too. Thanks to all the good info supplied here. I have decided to go the DDR2 route and get 8 GBs to boot at a cost still less than 2 GBs or DDR3. Appreciate the advice.