Asus PC-DL Deluxe: 875 with Dual Xeonsby Wesley Fink on September 6, 2003 12:06 AM EST
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During Intel’s launch of the 875 chipset, there was mention that the Canterwood chipset had the ability to support Dual processors. Many who saw that news and heard about the development of a Canterwood dually believed it might be all part of an elaborate hoax. Well, we’re here to tell you it is not a hoax, and the proof is coming from Asus, one of the world’s largest motherboard makers. When Asus first asked AnandTech if we would be interested in taking a look at their new Dual Xeon 875, we jumped at the opportunity.
The PC-DL is unique in more that just the capability of its 875 to run two Xeon chips. It is also one of the most affordable dual-processor boards on the market. We are told it will sell for below $300 – somewhere in the $240 to $300 range. Asus believes this relatively low price also will make the board attractive to gamers and Performance Enthusiasts, in addition to the natural target of the Workstation and Small Server Market.
So, is this the same 875 chipset that is currently dominating the high end of the Pentium 4 market? In general the answer is, “yes, it is.” Intel’s 875 and earlier E7205 share almost the same architecture, but they have different memory speed capabilities. It is expected that the 875 will eventually replace the E7205, Intel’s first Dual-Channel workstation/server design. What is unique about the new Asus is that it is almost a step backwards in terms of processor support. Intel has been expected to update Xeon with the latest 875 features like 800FSB, but it has not happened yet. So, Asus has introduced PC-DL with support for dual 533FSB Xeons. This is likely the first step on the road to the new 800FSB Xeons, because many have recently complained that Xeons are falling behind in the performance area to the latest in the Pentium 4 family.
While the PC-DL appears quite unique right now, this is the beginning, not the end, of the many variations we will likely be seeing with the new dual processor boards based on the 875 chipset. When you’re looking at results with the Dual Xeon 3.06 Processors, keep in mind that Xeons with 800FSB capabilities will undoubtedly make their appearance in the near future. As we saw with the move of Pentium 4 from 533 to 800FSB, this change alone will bring a significant boost in performance. The 875 chipset, of course, is already 800FSB capable, so the move to 800FSB Processors should be an easy one.
However excited we may be about the prospect of new higher FSB Xeons, what we have to evaluate right now is a Dual 3.06 Xeon 875 with two 533FSB CPUs. Since Asus is touting this dually as a potential gaming platform and a board for Computer Enthusiasts, we decided to evaluate it from that perspective. The features such as Serial ATA Raid, Firewire, 8X AGP 3.0, onboard CSA LAN, and Promise RAID will remind you more of the Asus P4C800-E than they will of other Xeon boards. We will do some workstation comparisons later in the review, but we are reviewing the PC-DL, and comparing it to the performance from the current top Pentium 4, Barton, and Opteron/Athlon64 boards that we have tested.