X38 Comparison Part 2: DDR3 Motherboards

Test Configuration

We retained the same P35 comparison motherboard from our previous DDR2 motherboard comparison, but updated our DDR3 memory to a pair of Corsair’s DDR3-1800 Dominator modules.

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System Hardware
Socket 775 ProcessorIntel Core 2 Duo E6750(Conroe 65 nm, 2.67 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)
RAMCorsair Dominator TWIN3X2048-1800C7DF G DDR3-18002x 1024 MB at DDR3-1333, CL 5.0-5-5-15
Hard DriveWestern Digital WD1500ADFD-00NLR1, Firmware : 20.07P20150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/150
Graphics CardFoxconn GeForce 8800GTX, P/N : FV-N88XMAD2-ODNVIDIA GeForce 8800GTX - 768 MB
Power SupplyOCZ GameXStream OCZ700GXSSLI - 700W
System Software & Drivers
OSWindows XP Professional 5.10.2600, Service Pack 2
DirectX Version9.0c (4.09.0000.0904)
Platform DriversIntel INF
Graphics DriverNVIDIA Forceware 163.71

A note about memory settings : every attempt was made to run each system at 1333 CAS 5-5-5-20, but the 1333 MHz data rate wasn’t stable on the X38 Diamond, and CAS 5 was likewise unstable on the GA-X38T-DQ6. In the overclocked configuration we tried to run the memory clock at 1.60 times the CPU FSB clock (8:5 DRAM :CPU ratio) and CAS 7-7-7-20, but this had to be "backed down" to 1.20x on the X38 Diamond and Foxconn X38A. Details for these settings can be found in each motherboard’s overclocking description.

Our excellent CPU overclocking results are mostly due to great cooling. We’ve been getting a bunch of test time out of Swiftech’s triple 120 mm radiator, Apogee GTX CPU water block, and MCP-655b high-flow pump.

Benchmark Settings

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Benchmarks and Settings
3D Games
Call of Duty 2Version : 1.03Video Mode : 1024x768Anti-aliasing : offShadows : noTimedemo demo2
F.E.A.RVersion : 1.0 RetailVideo Mode : 1024x768Computer : MediumGraphics : MediumTest Path : Options/Performance/Test Settings
Quake 4Version : 1.2 (Dual-Core Patch)Video Mode : 1024x768Video Quality : defaultTHG Timedemo waste.mapTimedemo demo8.demo 1 (1 = load textures)
Lame MP3Version 3.97 Beta 2 (12-22-2005)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minwave to mp3160 kbps
OGGVersion 1.1.2 (Intel P4 MOD)Version 1.1.2 (Intel AMD MOD)Audio CD "Terminator II SE", 53 minwave to oggQuality : 5
TMPEG 3.0 ExpressVersion : (no Audio)fist 5 Minutes DVD Terminator 2 SE (704x576) 16:9Multithreading by rendering
DivX 6.6Version : 6.6Profile : High Definition Profile1-pass, 3000 kbit/sEncoding mode : Insane QualityEnhanced multithreadingno Audio
XviD 1.1.3Version : 1.1.3Target quantizer : 1.00
Autodesk 3D Studio MaxVersion : 8.0Characters "Dragon_Charater_rig"Rendering HTDV 1920x1080
PCMark05 ProVersion : 1.1.0System, CPU and Memory TestsWindows Media Player Media Encoder
SiSoftware Sandra 2005Version 2005.7.10.60CPU Test = Arithmetic, Multimedia BenchmarksMemory Test = Bandwidth Benchmark
Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.