|Socket 775 Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E6850|
|Row 1 - Cell 0||(Conroe 65 nm, 3.00 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)|
|DDR3 System Memory||Crucial Ballistix BL12864BA1608.8SFB DDR3-1600|
|Row 3 - Cell 0||2x 1024 MB at DDR3-1066, CL 5.0-5-5-15|
|DDR2 System Memory||Crucial Ballistix BL12864AA804.16FD3 DDR2-800|
|Row 5 - Cell 0||2x 1024 MB at DDR2-1066, CL 5.0-5-5-15|
|Hard Drive (System)||Western Digital WD1500ADFD-00NLR1, Firmware: 20.07P20|
|Row 7 - Cell 0||150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/150|
|Hard Drives (Empty)||2x Gigabyte I-RAM BOX (4 GB SATA150)|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte GV-RX385512H (Radeon HD 3850)|
|Row 10 - Cell 0||670MHz GPU, 512MB GDDR3-1660|
|Sound Card||Asus Xonar D2X (PCI-Express)|
|Power Supply||Coolermaster RS850-EMBA (850W, ATX12V v2.2)|
|System Software & Drivers||Row 13 - Cell 1|
|OS||Windows Vista Ultimate 6.0.6000 (Vista Retail)|
|DirectX Version||DirectX 10.0|
|Platform Drivers||Nvidia nForce Version 9.64|
|Graphics Driver||ATI Catalyst 8.4|
We used the CPU, RAM and graphics from our most recent reference system.
The biggest challenge for Nvidia’s 790i Ultra SLI will be to match or exceed the performance and overclocking capability of Intel’s X48 Express. Representing Intel’s finest chipset is the most consistent performer from our X48 comparisons: Gigabyte’s GA-X48-DQ6.
The X48-DQ6’s high standing among X48 contenders seemed surprising since it’s a DDR2 motherboard. To make today’s benchmarks results compare accurately with prior shootouts, we set both the DDR2-equiped X48-DQ6 and DDR3-equiped 790i Ultra SLI motherboards to the same 1066 MHz data rate, at 5.0-5-5-15 latencies.
Overclock testing is an important part of today’s article, so we used Swiftech’s Apogee GTX water block, MCP-655b high-flow pump and 120 mm x3 fan radiator to keep temperatures near ambient conditions. This Swiftech kit has worked so well for us that it’s been used in four consecutive LGA775 motherboard shootouts.
Weary from waiting hours for each hard drive controller test to complete, we sped things up with two Gigabyte I-RAM units, each filled with Crucial PC-3200 CAS 3 modules.
With a superb signal-to-noise ratio on its line input, the Asus Xonar D2X served as the input device for audio testing.
Some testers don’t have access to some of the company’s software licenses, so we ran today’s benchmarks on Windows Vista Ultimate, Retail Boxed.