Still on top, but for how long?
With all the commotion concerning Intel’s upcoming “mainstream” chipset, it’s easy to forget that the X48 Express continues to be the company’s top pick. With full support for PCI-Express 2.0 graphics, the X48 already has the most significant “new technology” trumpeted for its “next release.” But the future look even brighter for today’s high-end buyers, as the X48 offers twice the number of PCI-Express 2.0 lanes as the upcoming mainstream part. Furthermore, product maturity assures that builders can expect fewer bugs with the current range of X48 boards than they would from the initial release of next-generation parts.
The X48 Express has been around for a few months and even longer if we include the previous X38 incarnation, but that isn’t keeping manufacturers from updating their product lines. Several companies are now producing updated revisions of previously released models, while a few took extra time to “perfect” their product. Today’s new models come from both expected and unexpected high-end motherboard manufacturers, including ASRock, DFI, ECS and Intel itself.
We’ve already covered the basic features of the X48 Express in our first X48 Motherboard Comparison, so let’s see what makes the new models different.
Buying an overly expensive high end motherboard but installing a 65 nm dual core processor and just 2 GB of RAM seems a very odd combination to me.
Not so odd if you want to get the base foundation set up and then wait for lower prices on higher performance parts later on down the road.
A quad core (3.0 GHz x 4) chip is coming down the pike by years end and DDR3 prices are on the slide. Building an E8400 / 2 GB base machine is exactly what I did to finally migrate from my 5 year old P4 Extreme Edition / Intel 875 based rig.
That's the beauty of the X48 platform; longevity.
For the record I'm using my first Gigabyte board (X38-DQ6) and overall I'm pretty happy with it, but having said that I haven't used Asus in at least 5 years. With these comparisons it often comes down to features since performance is pretty near (although the low memory speeds achieved by the Gigabyte surprised me!).