Does Chipset-to-GPU Matching Matter?

Test Setup

System Hardware
Socket 775 Processor Intel Core 2 Duo E6700
(Conroe 65 nm, 2.67 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)
Intel Chipset Motherboard MSI P965 Platinum (Intel P965 Express Chipset)
BIOS 1.3 (1-18-2007)
ATI Chipset Motherboard DFI ICFX3200-T2R/G (ATI CrossFire Xpress 3200)
BIOS 212 (2-12-2007)
Nvidia Chipset Motherboard ECS PN2 SLI2+ (nForce 680i SLI)
BIOS P25 (02/08/2007)
ATI Graphics Card Sapphire X1950XTX 512M PCI-E D-DVI/VIVO
ATI Radeon X1950XTX (650 MHz), 512 MB GDDR4 (1550 MHz)
Nvidia Graphics Card Foxconn GeForce 8800GTX, P/N : FV-N88XMAD2-OD
NVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX (575 MHz), 768 MB GDDR3 (1800 MHz)
RAM Corsair Dominator TWIN2X2048-8888C4DF
2x 1024 MB DDR2-1111 (CL 4.0-4-4-12)
Hard Drive Western Digital WD1500ADFD-00NLR1, Firmware : 20.07P20
150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/150
Power Supply OCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI - 700W
System Software & Drivers
OS Windows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform Drivers Intel Platform : INF
NVIDIA Platform : nForce 9.53
Graphics Driver ATI Catalyst 7.2
Nvidia Forceware 97.92

Corsair Dominator 8888 was chosen for its ability to run 1066 MHz at CAS4, in hopes that all three motherboards would support this speed. EPP allowed automatic timing and voltage optimization using the "Expert" setting at a 1066 MHz data rate on the nForce 680i SLI platform. Because the Intel and ATI chipset motherboards do not support EPP, these settings were manually copied to the P965 Express and Radeon Xpress 3200 motherboards for the closest performance match.

In a perfect world this all would have been well, but part of the MSI P965 Platinum’s "class leading" performance appears to be that the company secretly changes any CAS 4 setting to CAS 3, at least according to CPU-Z. Before anyone becomes enraged about this form of "cheating," I’d like to commend MSI on producing the only board I’ve used that’s actually stable using this lower latency with the majority of CAS 4.0 DDR2 800 modules. MSI did not likely predict the quick development of DDR2-1066 CAS 4, a speed at which the CAS 3 "cheat" couldn’t be 100% stable. The board was "penalized" by using the easiest fix, setting latency to 5-4-4-12 rather than 4-4-4-12, and CPU-Z reported it running as set.

The DFI ICFX3200-T2R/G also had trouble running DDR2-1066, but trial and error found an eventual solution by raising the Northbridge PLL and Core voltages. Many other users have either succeeded or failed in their attempts to make this board’s performance stable at this memory speed, so your results may vary.

Benchmarks and Settings
Call of Duty 2 Version : 1.03
Video Mode : 1024x768
Anti-aliasing : off
Shadows : no
timedemo demo2
F.E.A.R Version : 1.0 Retail
Video Mode : 1024x768
Computer : Medium
Graphics : Medium
Test Path : Options/Performance/Test Settings
Quake 4 Version : 1.2 (Dual-Core Patch)
Video Mode : 1024x768
Video Quality : default
THG Timedemo
timedemo demo8.demo 1 (1 = load textures)
Lame MP3 Version 3.97 Beta 2 (12-22-2005)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
wave to mp3
160 kbps
OGG Version 1.1.2 (Intel P4 MOD)
Version 1.1.2 (Intel AMD MOD)
Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 min
wave to ogg
Quality : 5
TMPEG 3.0 Express Version : (no Audio)
fist 5 Minutes DVD Terminator 2 SE (704x576) 16:9
Multithreading by rendering
DivX 6.2 Version : 6.2.2 (4 Logical CPUs)
Profile : High Definition Profile
1-pass, 3000 kb/s
Encoding mode : Insane Quality
Enhanced multithreading
no Audio
XviD 1.1.0 Version : 1.1.0 Beta 2
Target qantizer : 1.00
Autodesk 3D Studio Max Version : 8.0
Characters "Dragon_Charater_rig"
rendering HTDV 1920x1080
PCMark05 Pro Version : 1.1.0
System, CPU and Memory Tests
Windows Media Player
Windows Media Encoder
SiSoftware Sandra 2005 Version 2005.7.10.60
CPU Test = Arithmetic, Multimedia Benchmarks
Memory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
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