Test Setup

Gigabyte GA-X38-DQ6 / abit IP-35 Pro Testbed
Processor Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600
Quad Core, 2.4GHz, 2x4MB Unified Cache, 9x266 1066FSB
CPU Voltage 1.2V
Cooling Tuniq Tower 120
Power Supply Cooler Master Real Power Pro 1000W
Memory OCZ Flex PC2-9600 (4x1GB)
Memory Settings 4-4-4-12 (1066, 2.25V), 5-5-5-18 (1200 2.30V)
Video Cards MSI 8800GTX
Video Drivers NVIDIA 163.44
Hard Drive Seagate DB35.3 7200RPM 750GB SATA 3/Gbps 16MB Buffer
Optical Drives Plextor PX-B900A, Toshiba SD-H802A
Audio Card ASUS Xonar D2
Audio Drivers ASUS 5.12.01.0008.17.19
Case Cooler Master Stacker 830 Evo
BIOS Gigabyte D19 (engineering BIOS), abit M629B12.B02
Operating System Windows Vista Home Premium 32-bit
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Test conditions were maintained the same, as much as possible, over the platforms tested. Our game tests were run at settings of 1280x1024 HQ to ensure our MSI 8800GTX is not the bottleneck during testing. We utilized our MTRON MSD-S25032 32GB solid state drive for our PCMark05 and media encoding tests as we are trying to isolate any differences between the chipsets. All results are reported in our charts and color-coded for easier identification of results.

We selected the Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 as our processor of choice since it represents one of the better price to performance values in the midrange processor market, and it is also the CPU we will focus on in future reviews. We are utilizing Microsoft Vista Home Premium 32-bit as our operating system along with a 4GB memory configuration. Even though Vista 32-bit cannot take advantage of the entire 4GB of memory address space (3.326GB), we found the additional 1.278GB of memory available provided improved performance during multitasking events and gaming. We would not recommend anything less than 2GB with Vista Home Premium. We will also provide select Vista 64-bit results in our full review.

We utilize new drive images on each board in order to minimize any potential driver conflicts. Our 3DMark results are generated utilizing the standard benchmark resolution for each program. We run each benchmark five times, throw out the two low and high scores, and report the remaining score. All results at stock speeds for this article are with memory timings at 4-4-4-12 (DDR2-1066) and at 5-5-5-18 (DDR2-1200) for our overclocking tests. Where possible, memory sub-timings were set exactly the same to ensure consistency between the two chipsets.

Our choice of software applications to test is based on programs that enjoy widespread use and produce repeatable and consistent results during testing. Microsoft Vista has thrown a monkey wrench into testing as the aggressive nature of the operating system to constantly optimize application loading and retrieval from memory or the storage system presents some interesting obstacles. This along with the lack of driver maturity or features will continue to present problems in the near future with benchmark selections.

Our normal process is to change our power settings to performance, delete the contents of the prefetch folder, and then reboot after each benchmark run. This is a lengthy process, but it results in consistency over the course of benchmark testing. All applications are run with administer privileges.

Index Memory Testing
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  • BLHealthy4life - Thursday, September 13, 2007 - link

    According to the INQ, this mobo will be available on the 14th, tommorrow.

    I've only found retailers for this board in the UK.

    Anyone been able to find a USA retailer(s) that have this board for preorder?

    Thanks
    Reply
  • TokyoFerret - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Are such powerful PSUs utilised in overclocking articles? I am thinking of buying this board and running it with an E6850, 4Gb RAM and a 8800GTX, 2 SATA drives and 3D Galaxy2 water cooling but my PSU is only rated at 500W (Enermax Liberty).

    Should I be buying a new PSU as well? Or try out my current one and upgrade if its voltage seems too unstable...
    Reply
  • TokyoFerret - Tuesday, January 22, 2008 - link

    Correction...

    Are such -> Why are such...
    Reply
  • bigphil1974 - Tuesday, September 11, 2007 - link

    Hi thanks for a great preview

    Would this motherboard pose any problems installing a large heatsink with backplate such as a thermalright ultra 120 extreme as I have seen similar gigabyte products where you cannot install bolt through coolers due to copper blocks on the back of the motherboard.

    Thanks

    Bigphil
    Reply
  • larciel - Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - link

    so not neglectible difference between P35 and X38, just like P965 and x975 weren't that much different.

    Upgrade bug is so addictive but I've learned to avoid it after spending $$$$$$$ just to satisfy my desire that dies the first day I get a new toy, or CPU, or motherboard in this case.
    Reply
  • 457R4LDR34DKN07 - Wednesday, September 05, 2007 - link

    What I want to see is the ASUS ROG Maximus Formula SE. Reply
  • Lord Evermore - Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - link

    Does having more PCIe lanes automatically mean higher power consumption? If they're unused, if you just have the same hardware installed, does power consumption go up significantly just because the lanes are available? I'd assume a small amount but not so much that you'd really notice it unless you actually were taking advantage of the increase. Reply
  • Dawgneck - Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - link

    Gary, can you confirm if the X38 chipset will only support Crossfire, or will it also support SLI? Reply
  • JarredWalton - Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - link

    This is an NVIDIA issue. NVIDIA needs to allow it in their drivers, or the only way to make it work will be hacking drivers. There have been various custom driver releases in the past to get SLI working on certain chipsets - i.e. the Alienware m9750 laptop and other SLI laptops are 945GM chipsets but still support SLI. The real issue here is whether or not Intel will pay NVIDIA... and how much NVIDIA wants to be paid, I would assume.

    Gary and I have had conversations about this, and while the NVIDIA GPU guys would love to get Intel chipset SLI support, the NVIDIA chipset guys are understandably not as gung-ho. Personally, I'd say their chipset business on the high-end doesn't do enough to compensate for the number of 8800 cards they could sell if they were to license SLI support to Intel. Besides, profit margins on 8800 chips (and even 8600) are *much* higher than chipset profit margins. For every 8800 card they sell, they probably make as much as they would off of four SLI chipset sales.

    Will we ever see SLI support on Intel chipsets? That's going to depend on the two companies and pretty much nothing else. It could work right now... heck, it could work on 975X, P965, P35, and pretty much any dual-x16 slot motherboard+chipset.
    Reply
  • PeteRoy - Tuesday, September 04, 2007 - link

    Anandtech is a great site to show Battlefield 2 benchmarks, this is the game I play the most and I find it odd that sites like THG and others tend to ignore this game and show benchmarks of doom3 which nobody plays anymore, and if they do they won't after they finish the single player. Reply

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