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Test Configuration

PCI Express And CrossFire Scaling: Is P55 Good Enough?
Test System Configuration
LGA 1156 CPUIntel Core i7-870 (2.93 GHz, 8MB Cache)
O/C to 4.00 GHz (20x 200 MHz), 1.388V
LGA 1156 MotherboardEVGA P55 SLI E655, P55 Express PCH
BIOS A39 (10/23/2009)
LGA 1366 CPUIntel Core i7-920 (2.66 GHz, 8MB Cache)
O/C to 4.00 GHz (20x 200 MHz), 1.434V
LGA 1366 MotherboardEVGA X58 SLI E758, X58 Express IOH
ICH10R, BIOS SZ2Z (11/30/2009)
CPU CoolerThermalright MUX-120 w/2,500 RPM Fan
RAMKingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4GB)
DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24
Graphics3 x Diamond Radeon HD 5870 1GB
850 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4800
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300GB
10,000 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCorsair CMPSU-850HX 850W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsATI Catalyst 9.11
ChipsetIntel INF

We performance-matched our LGA 1156 Core i7-870 and our LGA 1366 Core i7-920 exactly, using a 20x multiplier, a 200 MHz base clock, and no Turbo Mode or C-State manipulations that might have otherwise altered our test results.

Thanks to the similarity between it and the Cogage True Sprit, Thermalright’s MUX-120 required only a bracket change to go from our i7-870 to our i7-920 platform. However, a faster fan was required to support the i7-920’s higher-voltage overclock.

We used one of our two sets of Kingston overclocking RAM to put both platforms in dual-channel mode. Having both systems configured equally is essential when attempting to narrow performance differences to slot configuration.

Diamond Multimedia supplied the three cards needed to perform all of today’s tests.

With 36 lanes on the northbridge, X58-based motherboards typically offer either x16/x16/x4 or x16/x8/x8 pathway sets, depending mostly on price. Cheaper boards lack either the needed lane switches to support x8 mode or x16 capability on the second slot, while more expensive boards typically don’t have a x4 slot in the proper location for installing a video card. Measuring x4 bandwidth on our x16/x8/x8 motherboard required the addition of an insulator, as previously discussed here.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: Very High Details, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Details, 4x AA
Far Cry 2Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: Ultra High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 4x AA
Tom Clancy's H.A.W.XPatch 1.02, DirectX 10.1, in-game benchmark
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear SkyClear Sky Benchmark version
Test Set 1: Ultra Preset, DX10 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX10 EFDL, 4x MSAA
World in ConflictPatch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo
Test 1: Very High Details, No AA / No AF
Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF
Synthetic Benchmarks
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
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