The Roundup

The 13 motherboards in this roundup represent a larger group of around 23 motherboards. We decided to eliminate those boards from the same manufacturers that differed only in offering on-board graphics with the 915G chipset. We covered Intel integrated graphics performance in Intel 915 Graphics: Graphics Media Accelerator 900 and all of the 915G boards that we had for testing did have both integrated graphics and a PCI Express slot for a video update. If you're looking for integrated graphics, consider the performance data in this roundup relevant to the same manufacturer's 915G board with the addition of integrated graphics.

If you're interested in comparing integrated graphics, then the 915G review and the recent ATI Radeon Xpress 200 launch review should provide the information you're looking for on integrated graphics performance. Please keep in mind that 915G boards, geared to entry level systems and the business desktop, may perform the same as the 915P boards from the same manufacturer, but they often have more limited options in BIOS. Enthusiasts generally prefer higher performing graphics solutions in an AGP or PCIe video card, and these are the same buyers who also demand better options for tweaking the performance of their motherboard.

One other consideration is memory. All of the 925X boards used the new DDR2 memory, but the 915 chipset family can use either DDR2 or DDR memory. A couple of manufacturers, Gigabyte and DFI, decided to provide the ability to use either DDR or DDR2 memory, but even so, you cannot use both at the same time. This added flexibility is great if you have DDR now, yet plan to move to DDR2 in the future, but it does come with a price. Both boards are limited to 2GB of memory, which can be either DDR2 or DDR instead of the 4GB maximum for single memory boards.

The rest of the boards in the roundup use either DDR2 or DDR. You will find DDR2 featured on the AOpen, Asus, ECS, Foxconn, and MSI. The rest of the manufacturers decided to build their 915 boards with an easier upgrade path and DDR400 memory. This includes Abit, Albatron, Biostar, Epox, Jetway, and Soltek. Since the type of memory that can be used on a 915 board matters a great deal to many buyers, we have tried to group the test results so that you can identify the memory capabilities easily. Color codes were used in our graphs to make it easy to spot DDR, DDR2 and DDR/DDR2 motherboards. The color codes are described in detail in the Test Configuration on page 29.

Index Abit AG8: Features and Layout
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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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