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Before we move on to test onboard accessories, a brief summary of the software benchmarks, which will help to determine how each X48 Express motherboard stands in comparison to the others, and in contrast to the X38 Express model we selected as a reference. Gaming is the primary focus of enthusiast-class parts, so let's begin there.
The X38 Express takes top gaming honors in this X48 Express shootout, beating the X48 Express version of the same design by the smallest of margins. We didn't expect a large performance difference, since the two chipsets use the same core, but there was always a possibility that better stability could have allowed slightly more aggressive "automatic" chipset timings for X48 models.
The X48 Express shined in our applications benchmarks, but notice that the top performer is Gigabyte's DDR2 model. We're fairly certain that this isn't the kind of result Intel was hoping to see when it introduced DDR3 memory support for P35 and X38 Express chipsets.
The combined applications results chart is nearly inverse to that of our gaming tests, with the "slowest" and "second slowest" boards finishing "fastest" and "second fastest". This sets us up for an interesting race in encoding benchmarks.
Our X38 Express equipped reference motherboard led slightly in video encoding, but the margins were too small to notice in actual use.
Averaging out all the benchmarks will help to determine each motherboard's suitability for multiple use systems, giving us a generalized profile of the "best performing" part.
Our X38 Express equipped P5E3 Deluxe reference board takes the overall performance lead, edging out the P5E3 Premium of the same design. The entire field is so tight that we'd consider onboard features and overclocking capability as better criteria than performance when selecting the most suitable model.
What else do these flagship models have to offer?