ATI HD 5870 Scaling Performance: X58 vs P55 Showdownby Gary Key on September 29, 2009 12:00 PM EST
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In just about every benchmark shown today and even in those not listed the multi-GPU results favor X58. Nothing shocking about that as in previous testing with both Nvidia and ATI video cards, we came to the same conclusion. The only difference today is that we are using the latest generation DX11 capable GPU and the percentage differences are not really any different with previous GPU chipsets. Where we did not have a difference was in actual game play experiences. It was impossible to tell the difference between platforms, except for some additional thermal output from the X58 setup.
If you happen to benchmark Intel platforms for a living, then clearly an X58/Bloomfield platform is the way to go. No questions asked, not even a hint of doubt should enter one’s mind as to the X58 being the logical choice. How about the other 99.9% of us? Well, if you just need that safe feeling that you are getting the maximum benefit out of those $380 HD 5870 cards you just purchased, the X58 paired with a Core i7 is an easy choice. It is an even easier choice if you plan on upgrading to Gulftown next year.
For those of us who are interested in power consumption, heat, noise, and not all that worried about a 2% to 7% difference in the benchmarks, then the Lynnfield platform is an attractive alternative with the latest generation GPUs. In fact, without the 920/X58 hanging around at similar pricing, the general thoughts/concerns regarding 860/P55 would probably be significantly different within the enthusiast community. The 860/P55 is a very good platform, especially for those running at stock or near stock speeds where the aggressive turbo mode will make a difference in daily computing tasks and your pocketbook.
That said, if you are running a single card such as the HD 5870, either platform is fine. However, performance in x8 mode was a bit disappointing for those needing the second slot for purposes other than graphics. In the end, performance in games was still very good and only a benchmark would inform you of less than stellar performance. What we cannot answer right now is if the dual x8 PCIe capability on Lynnfield will become a true bottleneck with the GPUs that follow the current/planned releases from AMD/Nvidia.
So our conclusion still has not changed from a month ago, if you plan on purchasing a high end multi-GPU setup you'll want to go with X58/Bloomfield for the best possible performance. If you want a great combination of application and gaming performance without the power consumption or heat concerns, the Lynnfield platform is a very attractive alternative.