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P67, X58, And NF200: The Best Platform For CrossFire And SLI

Test Settings And Benchmarks

Test System Configuration
LGA 1155 CPUIntel Core i7-2600K (Sandy Bridge) LGA 1155: 3.40-3.80 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache, Overclocked to 4 GHz at 1.25 V
LGA 1366 CPUIntel Core i7-920 (Bloomfield) LGA 1366: 2.66-2.93 GHz, 8 MB L3 Cache, Overclocked to 4 GHz at 1.40 V
P67 MotherboardAsus P8P67 Pro: Intel P67 Express, LGA 1155, BIOS 1204 (01/27/2011)
P67+NF200 MotherboardAsus P8P67 WS Revolution: Intel P67 Express, Nvidia NF200 PCIe Bridge, LGA 1155, BIOS 1007 (01/24/2011)
X58 MotherboardAsus P6X58D-E: Intel X58 Express, LGA 1366, BIOS 0502 (01/17/2011)
X58+NF200 MotherboardAsus P6X58-E WS: Intel X58 Express, Nvidia NF200 PCIe Bridge, LGA 1366, BIOS 05301 (02/22/2011)
RAMKingston HyperX T1 DDR3-2133 at DDR3-1600 CAS 7-7-7-21, 1.60 V 2 x 2 GB for Dual-Channel (LGA 1155), 3 x 2 GB for Triple-Channel (LGA 1366)
GeForce GraphicsAsus ENGTX570/2DI/1280MD5: 742 MHz GeForce GTX 570 GPU, 1.25 GB GDDR5-3800
Radeon GraphicsXFX HD-695A-CNFC: 800 MHz Radeon HD 6950 GPU, 2 GB GDDR5-5000
Hard DriveWestern Digital WD1002FBYS: 1 TB, 7200 RPM, SATA 3Gb/s, 32 MB cache
SoundIntegrated HD Audio
NetworkIntegrated Gigabit Networking
PowerOCZ-Z1000M: 1000W Modular, ATX12V v2.2, EPS12V, 80 PLUS Gold
Software
OSMicrosoft Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
GeForce GraphicsGeForce/Ion 266.58
Radeon GraphicsAMD Catalyst 11.1
ChipsetIntel INF 9.2.0.1019

While most of the above motherboards can be found in our previous reviews, Asus’ P6X58-E WS is new. The primary feature that differentiates it from the P6X58D-E is the addition of Nvidia’s NF200 PCIe bridge, which expands three-way CrossFire and SLI slot configurations from x16-x8-x8 to x16-x16-x16. Other important upgrades include the ability to support a total of five single-slot graphics cards, though single-slot cards will not be part of today’s tests.

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By relying on a single brand of motherboard for all four samples, we reduce the risk that performance differences will be the result of BIOS or clock speed differences. Asus helped us keep the spotlight on its brand a little longer by sending along three of its GeForce GTX 570 graphics cards as well.

Of course we couldn’t let Nvidia’s cards stand alone. We borrowed our AMD Radeon HD 6950s from another project.

Benchmark Configuration
3D Games
Aliens Vs. Predator BenchmarkAlien vs Predator Benchmark Tool Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
CrysisPatch 1.2.1, DirectX 10, 64-bit executable, benchmark tool Test Set 1: Highest Quality, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Quality, 4x AA
F1 2010v1.01, Run with -benchmark example_benchmark.xml Test Set 1: Highest Settings, No AA Test Set 2: Highest Settings, 4x AA
Just Cause 2Version 1.0.0.2, Built-In Benchmark "Concrete Jungle" Test Set 1: Highest Details, No AA, 16x AF Test Set 2: Highest Details, 4x AA, 16x AF
S.T.A.L.K.E.R.: Call Of PripyatCall Of Pripyat Benchmark version, all options, HDAO Test Set 1: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, Ultra SSAO, No AA Test Set 2: Ultra Preset, DX11 EFDL, Ultra SSAO, 4x MSAA
Synthetic Benchmarks and Settings
3DMark 11Version: 1.0.1.0, Benchmark Only
  • jsowoc
    Very nice, thorough analysis. It is articles like these that keep me reading Tom's Hardware.
    Reply
  • aznguy0028
    Great job on this article toms. Here's another article with X58 vs 1155. Using the 990x and 2500/2600k

    http://www.xbitlabs.com/articles/cpu/display/core-i7-2600k-990x.html

    same conclusions. the S.B slows the 1366 out of the water when it comes to gaming, good read too :)



    Reply
  • jprahman
    LGA1366 is officially dead, at least for gaming. Ever since Sandy Bridge was released (honestly ever since LGA1156) the only justification for people buying LGA1366 systems was the notion that somehow LGA1155 (or LGA1156) would "bottleneck" SLI or Crossfire, which this clearly shows to be false. Only point for LGA1366 now is for workstation builds which need 6 cores or for $3000+ bragging rights builds with quad-SLI/quad-Crossfire. Even then, anyone in the market for such systems know that LGA2011 is still going to come out later this year and will want to wait for that, instead of buying into LGA1366.
    Reply
  • amk09
    There will be an astronomical number of people who will butthurt after seeing the conclusion.
    Reply
  • gracefully
    Part 4 should be triple monitor, triple GPU scaling test. Let's see what happens when the bottleneck is returned to the GPU. Then we can raise the clocks of the processors to lessen the chance of CPU bottlenecking.
    Reply
  • BarackMcBush
    With the biggest difference being 10% and the average only being 2% , I hardly see "LGA1366 is officially dead, at least for gaming." This is a great article but LGA1366 is still a Very Fast Platform.
    Reply
  • BarackMcBush
    With the biggest difference being 10% and the average only being 2% , I hardly see "LGA1366 is officially dead, at least for gaming." This is a great article but LGA1366 is still a Very Fast Platform.
    Reply
  • BarackMcBush
    P67 definitely wins on Price Performance , You can get a 2600k ,a nice Motherboard and Ram for the same price as just the i7 990x cpu!
    Reply
  • rolli59
    Great article but I come to a different conclusion. If your plan is to build a rig with 1 or 2 GPU's, then there is no reason to spend extra money on a NF200 equipped board, the performance difference between the 2 cards at x16/x16 and x8/x8 is next to nothing. If you are going with 3 GPU setup is when the NF200 comes in and is worth the expense.
    Reply
  • andrewcutter
    thank you for the review. however i do think that you made a decision without taking into account all situations. it is clear that for one monitor what you said is true. however will you guys be doing the same tests on a multi monitor setup of say 3 1200 monitors, crank settings high to m put these dual cards on sever stress and then see if the same holds true. i feel this is a major part that you haven't looked at. if you are going to do this then i take back my word and will wait eagerly for that article. In case you are not planning to , lease consider doing it.
    Reply