|Socket 775 Processor||Intel Core 2 Duo E6850|
|(Conroe 65 nm, 3.00 GHz, 4 MB L2 Cache)|
|DDR3 System Memory||Crucial Ballistix BL12864BA1608.8SFB DDR3-1600|
|2x 1024 MB at DDR3-1066, CL 5.0-5-5-15|
|DDR2 System Memory||Crucial Ballistix BL12864AA804.16FD3 DDR2-800|
|2x 1024 MB at DDR2-1066, CL 5.0-5-5-15|
|Hard Drive (System)||Western Digital WD1500ADFD-00NLR1, Firmware : 20.07P20|
|150 GB, 10,000 RPM, 16 MB cache, SATA/150|
|Hard Drives (Empty)||2x Gigabyte I-RAM BOX (4 GB SATA150)|
|Graphics Card||Gigabyte GV-RX385512H (Radeon HD 3850)|
|670MHz GPU, 512MB GDDR3-1660|
|Sound Card||Asus Xonar D2X (PCI-Express)|
|Power Supply||Coolermaster RS850-EMBA (850W, ATX12V v2.2)|
|System Software & Drivers|
|OS||Windows Vista Ultimate 6.0.6000 (Vista Retail)|
|DirectX Version||DirectX 10.0|
|Platform Drivers||Intel INF 126.96.36.1996|
|Graphics Driver||ATI Catalyst 8.4|
Once again we started with the CPU, RAM and graphics from our most recent reference system.
Two of today’s test platforms are DDR2-only, and one supports both DDR2 and DDR3. For DDR2 testing we used Crucial’s highly-overclockable Ballistix PC2-6400. In order to make this a fair fight between DDR2 and DDR3 motherboards, we set both the DDR2 and DDR3 memory to 1066 MHz data rate and CAS 5-5-5-15 timings during performance tests.
One motherboard that would not accept DDR2 at 1066 MHz data rate was the ASRock X48TurboTwins-WiFi. The setting simply wasn’t available. We tested it at DDR3-1066 for comparison to other platforms, plus DDR2-800 CAS 4-4-4-12 for comparison to itself.
In order to achieve our highest-possible “ambient air” overclock, we chose an enormous liquid cooling kit to keep our CPU near ambient temperatures. Swiftech’s Apogee GTX water block, MCP-655b high-flow pump and 120-mm x3 fan radiator have been keeping our systems on top for three consecutive LGA775 motherboard shootouts.
Weary from waiting hours for each hard drive controller test to complete, we sped things up with two Gigabyte I-RAM units, each filled with Crucial PC-3200 CAS 3.
Once again we had to make one exception in testing : While most motherboards supported RAID 0 through the third-party controller, the ECS X48T-A’s JMB361 controller supported only a single SATA drive, and was tested as such.
With a superb signal-to-noise ratio on its line input, the Asus Xonar D2X served as the input device for audio testing.
Because some testers don’t have access to some of the company’s software licenses, we ran today’s benchmarks on Windows Vista Ultimate.