Intel X38 Chipset: A Porsche with the Handbrake On

Speed Of The X38 Chipset? Unchanged

Intel promises a performance increase of up to 60 percent compared to the 975X chipset in its presentations. However, our tests, which we conducted with the fastest quad-core processor available today (the QX6850) showed no performance difference whatsoever in any of the applications in our benchmark suite.

We are not sure how Intel arrived at its literally fantastic numbers. While it may be possible that the X38 North Bridge contains an optimized memory controller, we also know that the Conroe microarchitecture was developed to minimize memory access, since Intel - unlike AMD - does not use an on-die memory controller in the CPU. Instead, memory accesses always go through North Bridge, incurring a performance penalty.

We were only able to measure minor performance differences between the P35 and the X38 chipsets. As a result, we can state confidently that the X38 offers no performance advantage compared to the P35, or even the 975X.

Our synthetic benchmarks, such as SiSoft Sandra and PCMark, failed to turn up any performance advantages. We can't say how the X38 would behave with DDR3 memory at present, since there aren't any press samples available for this interface right now.

Asus said it would have a sample for us next week, while MSI was unable to give us any information about when we could expect a review board from them.

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