Intel launched the new Pentium 4 Socket 775 processors and the 925X/915 chipsets to support them on June 19th. Since that time, the demand for the new Intel motherboards has been underwhelming, to say the least. The new Intel architecture launched many new technologies and features to the market. We explored these new features in the launch reviews: Intel 925X/915: Chipset Performance & DDR2 and Intel's 925X & LGA-775: Are Prescott 3.6 and PCI Express Graphics any Faster? The bigger issue, though, is that the Intel 925X/915 didn't also bring with them a compelling reason for users to embrace the new socket or the new features.

The new 775 processors just weren't any faster than the Socket 478 CPUs most owned already. So for the same performance, users would need a new processor on a new motherboard, new DDR2 memory, a new heatsink/fan, a new PCI Express video card to replace their AGP video card, and (most likely) a new power supply with a 24-pin power connector. For this, they get about the same performance with a hotter-running 90nm CPU that has developed a reputation for throttling unless the HSF and thermal compound is exactly right. Unless manufacturers found ways around the design issues with 925X/915, buyers also found that they were moving from the best overclocking platform in the Socket 478 to a limited OC solution in Socket T. Fortunately, many manufacturers found ways around this issue. However, you will see in this roundup that there are still manufacturers who did not make revisions to get around the 10% Overclock limit.

As a result of all this, we have not looked any further at Socket T after our initial run at the top 925X boards in Intel 925X Roundup: Creative Engineering 101. Now, some 6 months later, there are market developments that make it worthwhile to look at mainstream 915 boards. The most important of these is that Intel is tightening supplies of 865/875 chipsets to move buyers to the new socket. Manufacturers are finding it more difficult to find 865/875 chipsets to buy, or in some cases, they must buy a Socket T chipset with every 865/875 chipset that Intel will sell them. The time is coming when your only choice from Intel will be one of the new 915/925X boards. We also found that the variation in performance among new 915 boards is much greater than what we have seen in any recent chipset, so it is time for a little guidance on what performs best. If the only choice is 915, you need to know how the huge selection of Socket T boards will actually perform in a head-to-head comparison.
The Roundup
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  • Live - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Sorry Didn't see your reply before I posted Wesley.

    Sure there is some value to be had but not "outstanding". I still don't agree with you but I guess my mind is made up. Intel needs to come out with something new before I go back.

    As a roundup it was very good reading tough. I can't wait for the next AMD roundup to hit AnandTech.
  • Live - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link


    "The P5GD2 is an expensive motherboard, at about $240 on the web, but you can get almost all the same features in the P5GD2 Deluxe for about $50 less."

    Thats expensive to me. Compare that to the 134.99 for the 939 Gold Editors Choice winner "MSI K8N Neo2 Platinum"

    But thats not the point. If the 915P was substantially cheaper then a 939 system you might call it value for money but is it not. Mind you a 939 board is generally not cheap either but at least it delivers in comparison.

    The CPU used in the review that hardly beat the much cheaper 3500+ had a max overclock of 14% and I bet you would find it hard to reach that high without the CPU overheating and start throttling

    LGA775 CPUs does not offer great overclocking headroom compared to the much cheaper earlier Intel platforms or AMD for that matter. Sure they still overclock but nothing that we haven't seen before at higher cost and temperature. Again not what I would call outstanding.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #11 - We just ran the 3500+ benchmarks in the same configuration this morning, and we do agree that the 3500+ is a particularly good value in performance for the dollar. However, the larger picture of prices of AMD CPUs compared to Intel show the Intel processors are a good, if not outstanding, value.

    Our conclusion was based on Anand's value analysis in the 3.46EE/1066 launch review at There he compared the 3800+ at over $600 to a Intel 560 3.6GHz at about $450 and found the 3800+ the winner but probably not a big enough winner to justify the price premium for the 3800+. At that time, there was no 570 (3.8GHz) and the 3.6 was the fastest Intel CPU unless you considered the $1000+ Xeon-based EE processors. Price changes continue, and with them the value relationships do change.

    A quick check of prices today shows
    Intel 520(2.8GHz)- $160 AMD 2800+(754) - $128
    Intel 530(3.0GHz)- $180 AMD A64 3000+ - $152
    Intel 540(3.2GHz)- $220 AMD A64 3200+ - $194
    Intel 550(3.4GHz)- $282 AMD A64 3400+ - $269
    Intel 560(3.6GHz)- $455 AMD A64 3500+ - $270
    Intel 570(3.8GHz)- $795 AMD A64 3800+ - $630
    AMD A64 4000+ - $716
    AMD A64 FX55 - $812

    With current prices we would have to agree that there is really no great value advantage to Intel any more. But there is good value in the Intel processors from 2.8GHz (520) to 3.6GHz (560). Certainly the 4000+, at $80 less than the 570 and faster performance, and the FX55 at about the same price as 570 and significantly faster in most benchmarks, are better value at the top. But we still stand by Intel being good value in the middle.
  • deathwalker - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    "outstanding value and performance for your buying dollar" ?????????? at $240 for a Mobo?..I guess I need to retake Economics 101...Bah...Intel just continues to shot themselves in the foot. A side note not related to this review..Dell must be deep inside of Intel's pocketbook with there contiued refusal to market AMD based products.
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #11 - 915P motherboards are not expensive. They are equal or cheaper in price than socket 939 A64 motherboards.

    LGA775 CPUs offer great overclocking headroom if paired with the right board. Intel CPUs have traditionally have had more OCing headroom than AMD chips. That still holds true, for the most part, today. Especially when talking about the low-end chips, like the 2.8GHz.
  • Live - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    I'm sorry but I don't see the "outstanding value and performance for your buying dollar"

    Expensive Motherboards and CPUs with little overclocking headroom compared to the Athlon 64 competition. How does that translate to excellent value and performance? even the much cheaper 3500 comes out on top on most benchmarks.

    Sure there are niche markets where the Intel platform excels but for the big majority of us AMD is where its at right now.

    I don't think this review is in sync with your conclusion so either list some valid arguments for your point (Since its not there in the benchmarks) or edit the conclusion.
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Wesley, thanks for including tests from a more comparable AMD CPU. Listening to your readers is always appreciated.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #4,#5,#6 - The Athlon 64 results with the FX55 were included for Reference, and not direct comparison. However you do make a good point.

    The closest A64 we had in the lab to a 3.6GHz 560 was the 3500+ based on the 90nm process. This should provide an advantage to the Intel 560. Since there are complaints here the FX55 is too high end, these new tests tilted toward Intel should balance the playing field. The 3500+ costs about $265 and the Intel 560 (3.6GHz) is about $455, so the 560 is about 70% more expensive than the 3500+.

    The added 3500+ benchmarks were also an opportunity to test with the SAME ATI X800XT PCIe we used in benchmarking the 915 boards. Enjoy!

    Color codes have been updated and there are now 3500+ results on the Gigabyte nForce4 with the ATI X800XT PCIe in all benchmarks.

    Original plans were to include the Intel 570 in this roundup, but much of the testing was already done when the Intel 3.8GHz CPU was launched. This Intel 3.8 is priced at around $800, which is very close to the FX55. You can see how it compares to the FX55 in performance in Anand's launch article at
  • CrystalBay - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    It's a pity that all these 4 dimm slot, dual channel
    MB's have such a rough time doing it. Imagine trying
    to run 4 1GB dimms in DC, this goes for ddr1 as well 2.
  • Glassmaster - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Now that Northwood and 865/875 are on the way out, only a fool would buy Intel.


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