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Intel vs AMD MOBO discussion

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June 18, 2010 8:48:55 PM

I'd like to start a discussion about the merits of Intel vs AMD motherboard chipsets. I haven't seen any discussions relating to certain aspects, such as disk access speed, TRIM, and the ICH10R vs the SB850.

I'm building a new computer, and trying to decide between an i7 920 and a Phenom II X4 955. From what I've read, the intel chipset has several advantages over the AMD:

Specifically, I'm looking at the Gigabyte GA-X58A-UDR3 for Intel, and the Gigabyte GA-890GPA-UD3H for AMD.

Intel advantages:
1. ICH10R south bridge chipset appears to be faster than the SB850 for drive access, especially for SSD.
2. Intel SATA drivers will pass TRIM to the SSD, whereas AMD will not (you have to use the Win 7 drivers instead if you want to pass TRIM - would using the Win 7 drivers decrease SSD performance?
3. The X58 MOBO has 3 separate SATA controllers, allowing for 3 separate RAID/AHCI configurations? The AMD MOBO has 2. May be better for expandability? Not sure about this one. (also note that the 6gbs/3gbs is arranged differently - AMD has 6gbs built into the SB850, whereas Intel puts it on the Marvell chip. Not very important at this point but may become important as drives improve).
4. Intel MOBO uses triple-channel memory, AMD uses dual. Not sure if this will result in any practical performance increase, but 6gb DDR3 sounds more attractive than 4gb.

AMD advantages:
1. $200 cheaper for my CPU/MOBO/RAM combo.

Any advice or comments would be greatly appreciated.

This is my first build in a long time, and I'm focusing mainly on SSD performance. I plan to get an X-25 M 80gb. Trim is apparently very important, so the Intel MOBO with Trim support would seem like the better option. Of course, I could always use the manual TRIM built into the SSD Toolbox if I picked the AMD rig, right?

The ultimate question is: Do these advantages for the Intel chipset really exist, and if so, are they worth the extra $200?

Also, let's try not to discuss which CPU is better - that's not important for this discussion.
a c 1127 V Motherboard
a c 142 å Intel
a c 343 À AMD
June 18, 2010 10:34:13 PM

You get what you pay for! Intel more features more money, AMD more budget minded (pretty much explains the price difference).
On a side note most computer users have 1 or 2 HDD, so what is the use of 3 raid controllers over 2?
June 19, 2010 12:22:03 AM

True. But it seems like AMD has become less competitive lately. I've always been an AMD fan, and I REALLY want to go with the AMD rig. I just have a hard time getting past the compatibility and performance issues. I don't think it used to be this complicated - AMD used to be a viable alternative. Now it seems like you're really penalized for going with it.

As far as the 3 controllers, I was thinking about my specific setup. My plan is to have 1 SSD by itself in AHCI mode as the OS drive, and then have 2-3 HDD in RAID for data. The configuration of the AMD board has the SB850 south bridge with 6 X SATA 6gb/s connections. They also have a SATA2 chip with 2 X SATA 3gb/s. If I put the SSD on the SB850 for the 6 gb/s, then I can only have at most 2 HD in RAID on the SATA2 chip. If I wanted more than 2 HD in my RAID, I would have to put the SSD on the slower (potentially) SATA 3gb/s chip, and the RAID on the 6 gb/s chip.

Of course this is assuming that the 6gb/s chip is actually faster. From many benchmarks that I've seen, the AMD boards have some problems with disk speeds in general. There's no guarantee that the 6gb/s connection would actually be faster than the 3gb/s connection.

I'm not saying that I would ever use a 3rd SATA controller, but the X58 board has the following:
ICH10R with 6 X SATA 3gb/s
Marvell with 2 X SATA 6gb/s
SATA2 with 2 X SATA 3g/s
Now in this case I could put the SSD on the Marvell controller, and still have up to 6 HDD in RAID on the ICH10R. And I'd still have 2 additional on the SATA2 controller if I wanted. Probably overkill, but it certainly would give you more options.

If anyone has actually configured something like this with any of these MOBOs, I'd be greatful to hear your advice and experiences. I've done a lot of research, by my experience is very limited.

I'd also be interested to hear if any recent driver updates by AMD have done anything to help their originally poor disk performance.

Am I wrong about all of this?
a c 1127 V Motherboard
a c 142 å Intel
a c 343 À AMD
June 19, 2010 2:56:43 AM

Your reasoning is confirming the market strategies of both companies. AMD is providing budget essentials on their products aimed at the average Joe that needs a computer, not to complex at a cheaper price than Intel is doing it. You are looking at it from the high end of the spectrum where Intel has the lead. At the other end where are the cheap motherboards for the I3,I5 and I7 that do not have all these fancy thing that average Joe does not need.
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