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|Test System Configuration|
|CPU||Intel Core i7-870 (2.93 GHz, 8.0MB Cache)|
|CPU Cooler||Thermalright MUX-120|
|RAM||Kingston KHX2133C9D3T1K2/4GX (4.0GB) DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 8-8-8-24|
|Graphics||XFX GeForce GTX 285 XXX Edition 670 MHz GPU, GDDR3-2500|
|Hard Drive||Western Digital Velociraptor WD3000HLFS, 300GB, 10,000 RPM, SATA 3 Gb/s, 16MB cache|
|Sound||Integrated HD Audio|
|Network||Integrated Gigabit Networking|
|Power||Corsair CMPSU-850HX 850W Modular ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80-Plus Gold|
|OS||Microsoft Windows 7 Ultimate x64|
|Graphics||Nvidia Forceware 190.62 WHQL|
|Chipset||Intel INF 188.8.131.524|
Intel’s Core i7-870 processor allows us to reach clock speeds well beyond 4 GHz at a relatively-safe 1.45V setting.
Thermalright’s mid-capacity MUX-120 continues to provide enough cooling to keep up with our fully overclocked processor at full CPU load.
While the highest-speed memory isn’t needed at our basic benchmark speed, Kingston’s DDR3-2133 allows stability testing at each motherboard’s maximum DRAM data rate.
With its 80 PLUS Silver certification allowing for the lowest-possible global power measurements, the mighty modular Corsair CMPSU-850HX provides our test rig with superb stability under every conceivable load.
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|Crysis||Patch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Very High Quality, 8x AA|
|Far Cry 2||Patch 1.03, DirectX 10, in-game benchmark Test Set 1: High Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra High Quality, 8x AA|
|S.T.A.L.K.E.R. Clear Sky||Clear Sky Benchmark version Test Set 1: High Preset, DX10 EFDL, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX10 EFDL, 4x MSAA|
|World in Conflict||Patch 1009, DirectX 10, timedemo Test 1: High Details, No AA / No AF Test 2: Very High Details 4x AA / 16x AF|
|iTunes||Version: 184.108.40.206 x64 Audio CD ("Terminator II" SE), 53 min Default format AAC|
|Lame MP3||Version: 3.98.2, wave to MP3 Audio CD "Terminator II" SE, 53 min|
|TMPEGEnc 4.0 Express||Version: 220.127.116.112 Import File: "Terminator 2" SE DVD (5 Minutes) Resolution: 720x576 (PAL) 16:9|
|DivX 6.8.5||Encoding mode: Insane Quality Enhanced multithreading enabled using SSE4 Quarter-pixel search|
|XviD 1.2.2||Display encoding status = off|
|MainConcept Reference 1.6.1 Reference H.264 Plugin Pro 1.5.1||MPEG2 to MPEG2 (H.264), MainConcept H.264/AVC Codec, 28 sec HDTV 1920x1080 (MPEG2), Audio: MPEG2 (44.1 KHz, 2 Channel, 16-Bit, 224 Kb/s), Mode: PAL (25 FPS)|
|Adobe Photoshop CS4||Version: 11.0 x64, Filter 15.7MB TIF Image Radial Blur, Shape Blur, Median, Polar Coordinates|
|Autodesk 3ds Max 20|
Also for just $50 more one could get a reasonable X58 board and the core i7 920 would be a great buy. The only motherboard here that would be a "smart" buy with "long term" in mind would be the Gigabyte UD6 since it at least sports USB3.0 AND Sata 6.0. One would not need to purchase any expansion card for this feature as it will be used in the years to come. Also knowing that X58 will be used for 6core chips way ahead is comforting as these boards then will still be around and mainstream by the time those processors will even be relevant for avid/regular PC users.
I just have a few questions you may be able to answer, do you guys also choose motherboards from other countries? I have seen Foxconn and Emaxx in some reviews but I also know that they may not be the best quality boards but it would be great to compare those boards as well. Its also good that you placed a reference Intel P55 so people would know the standard in which to compare with. Also how come we still dont have a P55 or X58 XFX board? Has XFX stopped making mb's and only started to focus on GPU's?
In the article first page:" Can any LGA 1156 system truly be considered high-end? After all, there’s no practical way to supply two graphics cards with a full 16 lanes of bandwidth. However, only the most expensive graphics cards need more than eight PCIe 2.0 lanes, and not every high-end buyer wants a gaming system."
The reason for this is the GPU - CPU bridge on core i5 systems, which in previously intel boards was part of the southbridge chipset, is now integrated onto the CPU. Therefore it isn't the boards that limit GPU lanes to a maximum of x16 lanes total, but it is the p55 core i5 & i7 CPUs that do this.
Check this link for more on the CPU-motherboard layout:
Also see this artice on VR-Zone which explains the pitfalls of Gigabytes USB3/SATA3 implementation: http://vr-zone.com/articles/gigabyte-p55a-boards-usb3-sata3-issues-analysis/8158.html
Good point, perhaps the features comparison chart could be expanded a little.
who would buy a Phenom II rig to get 16 16? not comparing AMD but you would see better performance from a high model i5 with 8 8 lol good one
You can't enable USB 3.0 and SATA 6.0 Gb/s at the same time.
I'd rather have the ASUS or MSI (GD85) solution who use an additional PLX chip. The question was about being future proof and the Gigabyte solution is not as future proof as it seems.
Unfortunately Intel seems to be steering away from the X58 platform. There are more and more P55 motherboards coming out which have high end features. The top end Lynnfield CPUs have no problem outrunning the lower end Bloomfield CPUs. So saying a 1156 is midrange... that's giving it less credit than it deserves.
Btw, there are P55 mainboards from ASUS, MSI and EVGA with an NF200 chipset which do offer fullspeed dual CrossFire/SLI at 16/16. And those definitely don't have midrange prices. :o