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Test Settings

X58 To The Max: Three New Flagship LGA 1366 Motherboards
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Test System Configuration
CPUIntel Core i7-920 LGA 1366, 2.66 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache
RAMKingston KHX16000D3ULT1K3/6GX (6 GB), DDR3-2000 at DDR3-1333 CAS 7-7-7-20
GraphicsSapphire Radeon HD 5850 1 GB, 725 MHz GPU, GDDR5-4000
Hard DriveWestern Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300 GB, 10,000 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 16 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerCorsair CMPSU-850HX 850 W Modular
ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64
GraphicsAMD Catalyst 10.6
ChipsetIntel INF 9.1.1.1020


Kingston’s DDR3-2000 allows us to check each motherboard’s memory overclocking capability, though faster modules might have been in order had we used a newer processor. Stock-speed benchmarks are generated at an easier-to-replicate DDR3-1333 CAS 7.

Sapphire’s Radeon HD 5850 is powerful enough to reveal any PCIe shortcomings.

Rosewill’s FORT120 might have been retired as a product, but its high cooling capacity and small footprint have kept it on this bench.

High thermal performance, quick set-in, and slow evaporation make Zalman’s ZM-STG1 thermal grease a great solution for bench testing. The company supplied two bottles for each tester.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool
Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA
Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 4x AA
DiRT 2 DemoIn-game benchmark
Test Set 1: High Quality Preset, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Quality Preset, 4x AA
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2Campaign, Act III, Second Sun (45 sec. FRAPS)
Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA
Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version
Test Set 1: High Preset, DX11 EFDL, No AA
Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, 4x MSAA
Audio/Video Encoding
iTunesVersion:9.0.2.25 x64
Audio CD (Terminator II SE), 53 min
Default format AAC
Handbrake 0.9.4Version 0.9.4, convert first .vob file from The Last Samurai (1 GB) to .mp4, High Profile
TMPEGEnc 4.0 XPressVersion: 4.7.3.292
Import File: Terminator 2 SE DVD (5 Minutes)
Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9
DivX Codec 6.9.1Encoding mode: Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4
Quarter-pixel search
XviD 1.2.2Display encoding status = off
MainConcept Reference 1.6.1MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)
Productivity
Adobe Photoshop CS4Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7 MB TIF Image
Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010Version: 11.0 x64, Rendering Dragon Image at 1920x1080 (HDTV)
Grisoft AVG Anti-Virus 9.0Version: 9.0.663, Virus base: 270.14.1/2407, Benchmark: Scan 334 MB Folder of ZIP/RAR compressed files
WinRAR 3.90Version x64 3.90, Dictionary = 4,096 KB, Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
7-ZipVersion 4.65: Format=Zip, Compression=Ultra, Method=Deflate, Dictionary Size=32 KB, Word Size=128, Threads=8
Benchmark: THG-Workload (334 MB)
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1, GPU and CPU scores
PCMark VantageVersion: 1.0.1.0 x64, System, Productivity, Hard Disk Drive benchmarks
SiSoftware Sandra 2010Version 2010.1.16.11, CPU Test = CPU Arithmetic / MultiMedia, Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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  • 5 Hide
    one-shot , July 20, 2010 6:07 AM
    No EVGA SR-2? :( 

    Ok, Hold on. Three Flagship LGA 1366 Boards and no overclocked power consumption results? These boards are obviously made for overclocking and those results would be very interesting to see.
  • 3 Hide
    Tamz_msc , July 20, 2010 6:12 AM
    A good 250$ X58 board is enough for most people.
  • 9 Hide
    Lmeow , July 20, 2010 6:17 AM
    Quote:
    No EVGA SR-2? :( 


    The EVGA Classified SR-2 is based on the Intel 5520 chipset and uses Xeons, so it's not an X58 board technically speaking which is why it doesn't qualify. ;) 

    If I could spend that much on a motherboard I'd have chosen the Rampage III Extreme, not only does it have good features it also has the best colour scheme. ^^

    Does anyone know why I try to submit a comment it doesn't show up, and I have to use the forums instead to post a comment instead?
  • 3 Hide
    lashabane , July 20, 2010 6:41 AM
    I want more.
  • 6 Hide
    sudeshc , July 20, 2010 6:44 AM
    I am totally impressed by ASUS they always come up with best solution in every category, but the price is a killer for me :( 
  • 0 Hide
    rottingsheep , July 20, 2010 7:12 AM
    IMO, the only interesting part about motherboard reviews is the overclocking and power consumption portion.
  • 0 Hide
    avatar_raq , July 20, 2010 7:24 AM
    Nice article..I have only catch: Of all the mobos tested, Quad SLI is not possible on the ASUS R3E, courtesy of nVIDIA's drivers
    http://www.guru3d.com/news/quad-sli-on-asus-rampage-iii-extreme-is-not-possible/
  • 6 Hide
    dragonfang18 , July 20, 2010 7:28 AM
    Whats the point when Intel will come out with new processors with different sockets next year?
  • -1 Hide
    Crashman , July 20, 2010 7:29 AM
    avatar_raqNice article..I have only catch: Of all the mobos tested, Quad SLI is not possible on the ASUS R3E, courtesy of nVIDIA's drivershttp://www.guru3d.com/news/quad-sl [...] -possible/

    Awesome, thanks. Manufacturers don't actually discuss this stuff.
    dragonfang18Whats the point when Intel will come out with new processors with different sockets next year?
    That's what people like you were saying months before LGA 1156 was released. We see which direction that went.
  • 0 Hide
    dragonfang18 , July 20, 2010 7:54 AM
    Quote:
    That's what people like you were saying months before LGA 1156 was released. We see which direction that went.


    Yeah... they are changing 1366 to some socket R... Well... At least I can look forward to these motherboards going down in price by next year when they go to Socket R's for performance than 1366's. I guess ill be happy with 1366's. Hopefully they go down by at least $100.
  • 0 Hide
    lenoxlv , July 20, 2010 8:02 AM
    2 FPS difference in games. They should have shown what would be the difference if the boards would be OCed.
  • 5 Hide
    digitalrazoe , July 20, 2010 8:43 AM
    What irritates me is the fact that you have a 6+ PCIe 16 board ( with the exception of the ASUS ) and you still cant get full 16 all the way through with out either a bunch of glue chips or "lopping it off" at the legs - 16x/8x ok .. but 16/8/4 ? c'mon .. can someone develop a chipset that will give the USER the option of lopping off legs reassigning resources where needed ? Granted for TRUE quad SLI 72 lanes is desirable (48 is ok in a 16/8/16/8 fashion .. ) but enough is enough .. Intel, nVida, AMD make a chipset that when we plug in .. we get what we want how we want it .. it would mean return customers and money in your pocket and a smile on a system builders face .. (96 lane board should do it ... )
  • 5 Hide
    falchard , July 20, 2010 11:45 AM
    I think MSI won here not ASUS. More features on less power with cooler temperatures at a negligible performance hit of half a percent that can be attributed to the error with Vantage.

    I don't like any of the motherboards PCI-e layouts. Its a top range board but only assumes to run 2 cards well. Then confuses the user by placing a bunch of half/quarter speed PCI-e slots. X8 on x16 lane is fine, but x4 is not.
  • 0 Hide
    Emperus , July 20, 2010 12:48 PM
    MSI is the winner in this clearly though i personally would end up getting the R3E.. I've always felt two video cards as the max needed in the real world (never mind the synthetics and folding@home) so on that account, both the MSI and the Asus boards scope a homerun whereas the Gigabyte model may just end up as the company's trojan horse to showcase their engineering strengths at overclock events.. I feel the EVGA 4X SLI classified should've been included in the showdown.. The absence of USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps should not be the criteria to leave out such a lovely board (oh! May be the price and absence of crossfire support disqualify it)..
  • -1 Hide
    mrhoshos96 , July 20, 2010 12:59 PM
    why get a x58a ud9 and you can get the evga sr2 for less
  • -2 Hide
    anamaniac , July 20, 2010 1:19 PM
    mrhoshos96why get a x58a ud9 and you can get the evga sr2 for less

    While the SR2 is nice, I have no need for dual socket. As nice as it would be.

    The only thing the UD9 is missing is three more DIMMs (9 total). I know some server boards have 9 DIMMs per CPU, why not any enthusiast boards?

    I want the UD9, put 12GB RAM in it, two 5870's, a nice sound card and a nice NIC (when going extreme, may as well go the full way right?).
    Too bad I quit my job and can't afford it now. :/ 

    Can we ever expect 7/8 way SLI/CF drivers? I, for one, would love to use 7 single slot 5770's.
  • -1 Hide
    Hupiscratch , July 20, 2010 1:35 PM
    I'd rather wait for PCI-E 3.0
  • 1 Hide
    voicu83 , July 20, 2010 1:36 PM
    what's the use of testing ultra expensive motherboards without the best processor it could fit on it and with a 4 or more array of the most powerfull video cards on earth? this review is like reading the features on the mb's box ... nothing exceptional
  • 1 Hide
    scook9 , July 20, 2010 1:58 PM
    An EVGA board should have been included (and they DO support crossfire)

    Also, no mention was made of the superior Intel Ethernet adapter in the R3E vs the crappy realtek ones in the other boards
  • -4 Hide
    squallypie , July 20, 2010 2:52 PM
    gosh, why are there no amd chipset mobos :-(! i really want something that compares the chipsets atleast
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