X48 Motherboard Comparison, Part 2

Conclusion

Once again we have no clear winner in a motherboard comparison, as most models were good in at least one area. Gigabyte had the highest FSB overclocking stability; DFI provided the best CPU overclocking; Asus supported the highest memory speeds; and Intel had the best overall performance. So which motherboard would we buy? It really depends on how we planned to use it.

Two models stood out, and both used DDR2 rather than DDR3 memory. DFI and Gigabyte had the best onboard feature set, but while Gigabyte also had the most complete set of rear panel ports, DFI had the highest stable DDR2 memory speed. The Lanparty LT X48-T2R also pushed our Core 2 Duo E6850 the farthest, but higher achievable FSB for the X48-DQ6 speed might put it ahead if we’d used a different processor.

If we had our hearts set on DDR3 memory, the battle would be between Asus and Intel. The DX48BT2 had the best overall performance, and placed second only to the DDR2-equiped DFI X48-T2R in maximum CPU clock. The P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n Edition supported higher memory and bus speeds, and the actual performance difference between the two was negligible. The DX48BT2 is a few features short of direct competition with the P5E3 Premium, but it’s also around $100 cheaper. How much are a few extra onboard components worth to you?

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  • nihility
    I thought the major concern with overclocking was doing it with 4 GB or 8 GB of memory installed and with quad cores.
    Buying an overly expensive high end motherboard but installing a 65 nm dual core processor and just 2 GB of RAM seems a very odd combination to me.
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  • Anonymous
    @ni

    Not so odd if you want to get the base foundation set up and then wait for lower prices on higher performance parts later on down the road.
    A quad core (3.0 GHz x 4) chip is coming down the pike by years end and DDR3 prices are on the slide. Building an E8400 / 2 GB base machine is exactly what I did to finally migrate from my 5 year old P4 Extreme Edition / Intel 875 based rig.

    That's the beauty of the X48 platform; longevity.
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  • Anonymous
    The ECS offering has supposedly been out for around a month, but I can't find it for sale ANYWHERE!! can't even find a price. I used to turn my nose up at ECS products. Our company used Asus boards exclusively thinking they were a higher quality product. Evey one of our Asus boards failed within 4 years. This may be because the Chinese have studied the American business model... Make a product that is designed to either fail or need parts within a calculated period of time. ECS are much cheaper, and so far seem more stable than the Maximus Formula board we purchased recently. The Asus BIOS is for people who like to toy with settings. Unfortunately their BIOS has become complicated beyond their programmers ability too write stable code.
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  • Anonymous
    Glad to see that gigabyte's board was so much more energy efficient than Asus', or any other board for that matter... especially while overclocking
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  • Fedor
    Arcolyte - lol. Did you fall asleep and dream up another page of the review which had power consumption whilst overclocking? :p

    For the record I'm using my first Gigabyte board (X38-DQ6) and overall I'm pretty happy with it, but having said that I haven't used Asus in at least 5 years. With these comparisons it often comes down to features since performance is pretty near (although the low memory speeds achieved by the Gigabyte surprised me!).
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  • Anonymous
    " Intel covers all of its CPU VRM MOSFET?s with sinks. Our apologies for the alphabet soup that made up the last comment. " -> You could've gone with " Central Processing Unit Voltage Regulator Module Metal?Oxide?Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor's " , so it's ok =)
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  • frodbonzi
    I wonder how the Asus' Rampage Formula stacks up here? It supports DDR2 or DDR3 and is part of the RoG line... X48 as well...
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  • xanxaz
    asrock rocks....lol...although i'll keep my gigabyte... as i dont know where to say this, it's better say it here... your main page is eating my cpu cycles... between 25% up to 50% cpu utilization while viewing your site? please cut down in animated ads... running a c2d at 3.6 and still lags while surfing... dah... it's just your site... os is it me? i think it's the ad on the top right corner that is causing that...
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  • wozeus
    I see that Newegg has ECS X48T-A for under $200. Looks like it's a great deal...going to get one.
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