The Southbridge Battle: nforce 6 MCP vs. ICH7 vs. ICH8

Test Setup

System Hardware
Processor Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800 (Conroe 65 nm, 2.93 ghz, 4 MB L2 Cache)
Nforce MCP Motherboard EVGA nforce 680i SLI
Chipset : Nvidia nforce 680i SLI, BIOS : P20
Intel ICH7 Motherboard MSI 975X Platinum Powerup Edition
Chipset : Intel 975X, Intel 82801GR (ICH7R), BIOS : V7.2
Intel ICH8 Motherboard Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6
Chipset : Intel P965, 82801HR (ICH8), BIOS : F7
Common Hardware
RAM 2x 1024 MB DDR2-800 (CL 3.0-4-3-9)
Corsair CM2X1024-6400C3 XMS6403v1.1
Graphics Card HIS Radeon X1900XTX iceq3
GPU : ATI X1900XTX (650 mhz)
RAM : 512 MB GDDR3 (1550 mhz)
System Hard Drive 1x 150 GB 10.000 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/150
Western Digital WD1500ADFD
Hard Drives for RAID 4x 150 GB 10.000 RPM, 8 MB Cache, SATA/150
Western Digital WD1500ADFD
DVD-ROM Gigabyte GO-D1600C (16x)
Performance Measurements Simplisoftware hdtach 3.0.1
I/O-Performance Iometer 2003.05.10
File server benchmark
Web server benchmark
Database benchmark
Workstation benchmark
USB Performance Microsoft Robocopy XP010
ATI Graphics Catalyst Suite 6.11
Intel Chipset s Software Installation Utility
Nvidia nforce 680i Series Forceware 9.53
Directx Version : 9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
OS Windows XP, Build 2600 SP2
Storage Subsystem Test

We used four Western Digital Raptor WD1500 for all the storage subsystem tests, as these are extremely fast and also support Native Command Queuing. All Southbridges were equipped with these drives and went through our benchmarking session in RAID modes 0, 1+0 and RAID 5. We did throughput measurements with HD Tach 3.0.1 and I/O benchmarks with iometer 2003.05.10.

USB Controller Test

For the USB controller test we attached two external 3.5" hard drives, both capable of delivering almost 30 MB/s, and plugged them into two adjacent USB 2.0 ports and two independent USB 2.0 ports, so we could check performance when two devices operate on the same and on different controllers. We used different WD Raptor hard drives as data source/target to read and write data.

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