Intel's Xeon Shows Its Stuff in 7 Motherboards


After a vast number of benchmarks and several tests, there were winners and losers. The devil is in the detail of each candidate's strengths and weaknesses.

The Asus NCT-D is one of the first boards equipped with a SATA-II controller. On top of that, it offers many additional components. Altogether the price for the board is still a bit too high. However, if you are willing to pay the price, you will get the fastest board of this review.

The second Asus board, the NCCH-DL, is an enhanced version of PC-DL. Hence, it offers all of the advantages of its predecessor, such as excellent memory bandwidth or the fact that registered memory is not required. But it also inherits the disadvantages: PCI Express or more than 4 GB RAM are not available. It is the accessories, the equipment and the price that make the board interesting for high end desktops as well. However, one flaw remains: This board will not turn off automatically in case the CPUs overheat.

Gigabyte does not offer a lot of features with its 9ITDW. Due to the unfortunate fact that the fan control was still under development, it was almost impossible to do the test without using some ear muffs. Also, the monitoring tools for the operating system where not fully developed yet. Apparently, Gigabyte picked up on that by now. Lastly, users that still have some PCI-X cards can make a good deal GA-9ITDW. Finally, Gigabyte offers the better cost-performance ratio.

Thanks to the onboard graphics, Intel's SE7525GP2 is equally useful for servers and workstations. Being the only E7525 board using DDR400 memory, it makes deploying large amounts of RAM a pretty affordable affair. Unfortunately, it is not possible to control the fans via the latest 4-pin headers, even though this is highly propagated by Intel.

IWill offers a Xeon motherboard based on Canterwood for a price that is hard to beat. At the same time, this board offers very good overclocking options. With a mounting plate for the CPU cooler that comes included; this product could also be used in desktop chassis. Regrettably, it is not as easy to get the board everywhere as is the case with better-known manufacturers.

With its unbeaten feature set, Supermicro's X6DA8-G2 is definitely meant for professional usage and therefore eclipses all other boards that we tested. It's a unique combination of eight controllable fans, LSI RAID Zero option, Dual Gigabit LAN, IPMI option, SM bus PSU monitoring and the theoretical possibility of extending the memory up to 16 GB. While this board is the most expensive out of the bunch, it truly deserves our recommendation thanks to its flawless performance.

The S2676 fits into the same price range as the Supermicro board, but misses several of its goals. We missed the 4-pin fan headers; while a maximum of 8 GB RAM is not above average. Also, the CPU temperature monitoring did not work properly.