Intel launched the new Socket 775 processors and the 925X/915 chipsets to support them on June 19th. Since that time, motherboards based on the top 925X chipset have been hard to find, with very few offerings to choose from in the market. This was further compounded by the recall of some defective ICH6 chips shortly after the launch of the new chipsets.

Now, almost 2 months after launch, we have 5 new motherboards based on the latest 925X chipset. A quick check at online retailers found that 4 of the 5 new motherboards were now available. The only exception was the just-launched DFI LANParty 925X-T2.

As we discussed in the 925X/915 chipset launch, almost everything about the 925X and 915 are new. This extends from the new Socket T (775), to DDR2 memory, to the new PCI Express bus, to new PCIe video cards, to new Heatsinks, and so on. It's been a long time since so much is new, and you can read more about the new features in:

Intel's 925X & LGA-775: Are Prescott 3.6 and PCI Express Graphics any Faster?
Intel 925X/915: Chipset Performance & DDR2

The five motherboards in this roundup represent an interesting mix, with four manufacturers that you would expect to see producing a top-of-the-line 925X motherboard - Abit, Asus, DFI, and Gigabyte - and one company that may surprise you. Foxconn is a new name for many AnandTech readers, but they are a very large manufacturer in Taiwan, producing many motherboards for other manufacturers. Foxconn has been producing motherboards under their own brand recently, and we reviewed an entry-level Foxconn 755 board a few months ago. However, the 925X is the top of Intel's desktop line, and this is the first high-end Foxconn board that we have reviewed.

We have already done some testing of the Asus P5AD2 and Abit AA8 as we explored the Intel Overclock lock in the last few weeks. You can find more information on that concern and the response of manufacturers to this issue in:

Breaking Intel's Overclock Lock: The REAL Story
Intel 925X: Exploring the Overclock Lock

Information on each board's overclocking performance is included in the Overclocking and Stress Testing page for each board.

The 925X is Intel's premium chipset, and you will see that reflected in the motherboards in this roundup. These five motherboards represent a price range from $161 to $277, certainly a premium price range in today's market. As we run each of the 925X boards through our benchmark suite and stress testing, we will be determining which boards stand out from the crowd in either performance or features. Are these new 925X boards worth the expensive price tags that we find on these latest Intel creations?

Abit AA8: Features and Layout
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  • johnsonx - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    What is it with you people griping about CPU choices? This is a review of current top-end 925X boards, not a CPU review! The FX-53 scores are there only for a point of reference. Added to that, Wesley's point is VERY valid: the 560 and FX-53 ARE the top CPU's from each camp.

    If you really want to know how a 3800+ would perform, refer to past Socket-939 reviews, or just mentally subtract about 3% or so.

  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    #17 - Since we were trying to determine the maximum overclocking ability of the boards tested, we used a 3.6 ES LGA 775 Prescott at a 14 multiplier (2.8Ghz). The 14x280 is close to 3.9GHz speed. We also checked with a retail 540 (3.2GHz) and reached 250FSB (4.0GHz) at 1.45V.

    These results lead us to believe that many 775 Prescotts will top out at 3.9 to 4.0GHz on boards that will support those overclock levels. That means that there are likely some 2.8 Prescotts out there that can reach 280FSB.

    As always, overclocking is variable, and you need a really great power supply and decent cooling to support the power requirements at these kinds of overclocks.
  • Carfax - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    Wesley, is it possible to do a review of Prescott which focuses on the upcoming 1ghz FSB? I've heard that Prescott scales better than N.W with a higher FSB and greater clockspeed..

    To do the review correctly, you'd need an engineering sample with an unlocked multiplier, so you can see the benefit of the increased FSB, without raising the clockspeed.

    I think Prescott would do pretty well on 1066FSB and with fast DDR2 memory..
  • danidentity - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link


    When you say you hit 280 FSB with the Asus P5AD2, was that with a retail chip, multiplier locked? Or were you using an ES chip. If you were using a retail, that is an absolutely insane overclock.
  • danidentity - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    >> Better than comparing a 3500+ to a 3.6F anyway :P

    How would a 3500+ compare with a Intel 3.6? Could it hang? :)
  • RyanVM - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    I have no problem with the 3.6E and FX53 being shown together since both platforms will end up costing about the same (factoring in CPU, mobo, and memory costs). Prices fluctuate, yes, but both companies (OK, mainly AMD) tend to adjust prices to stay in line with performance levels (if Intel drops the 3.6E price, I'd put money on AMD dropping prices at the high end within a day or two).

    Better than comparing a 3500+ to a 3.6F anyway :P
  • Creig - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    #12/#13 Given the way pricing can fluctuate, it would be futile to compare Intel $$$ to AMD $$$. A couple of days after the article was published, pricing could change to make the monetary comparison useless and therefore misleading.

    I think they're doing it the correct way. It's up to the end user to find his/her best balance between performance and price.
  • mjz5 - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    man, i should of read #12 first before posting it.. why not have an edit button?

    anyhow, u all know what i'm saying!!!
  • mjz5 - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    the way i see it is that CPUs should be compared by price. If an AMD FX-53 cost as much as a Celeron 2.4 GHz, why not compare the two? If someone is going to looking at these products because they cost X dollars, they aren't interested in seeing that an Intel CPU that cost (X*2) may or not surpass it the competitor at only X dollars.
  • Wesley Fink - Thursday, August 12, 2004 - link

    #9 & #10 - Corrected

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