Replacement Craze, Continued
Our diagnosis: the fixed voltage regulator was defective and could not handle the load from a dual-core processor. The resulting discoloration of the contacts gave us a clue; this means that high power levels were generated. Yet the handbook explicitly states that dual-core Intel Pentium chips are supported.
The cause for the complete breakdown of the Epox EP-5NVA+SLI: Because of the high heat levels generated, the contacts on the fixed voltage regulator were discolored.
The Epox handbook explicitly states that dual-core-CPUs can be used.
After 10 minutes it shut itself down: Epox EP-5NVA+SLI
We needed a quick substitute for the Epox board, and realized that we have had an Asus P5ND2-SLI available to us for quite a while. It is still in the beta phase, and because of this it had not yet been used for a test drive. This motherboard was used overnight in the Intel system and ran without difficulties. But in the morning, at 7 am Europe time, the Intel system collapsed yet again.
After our many misadventures with these three motherboards - starting with the Gigabyte, then going to the Epox and ending up with Asus - we arrived at the conclusion that the nForce4-SLI chipset is simply not yet ready to be used with the Intel platform. We therefore decided that we can no longer use this type of Intel-based motherboard for stress tests.
At this point the only solution left was to use a board with an Intel 955X chipset, which, although it is sold only individually, is supposed to run without problems. However, the use of an Intel component involves a clear limitation: the current Nvidia driver deactivates the SLI mode of the graphic card on all Intel boards.
Despite this, in order to continue to guarantee a fair comparison between AMD and Intel systems, we are now determined to use a complete Intel platform based on the 955X chipset. So we established new conditions: all benchmarks will be restarted and the counters simultaneously set back. The SLI mode in the AMD system will also be disabled.
The initial testing of an appropriate motherboard with this chipset had strange results: two of our very own boards, identical ones of the D955XBK type, were unable to work with the processors provided by Intel. The Asus P5WD2 Premium with 955X chipset is now being used.
And after all that, finally, the Intel platform is running again - after the replacement of a total of five motherboards within a single day!