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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  • coldpower27 - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Of course the Pentium 4 560 is gonna be outperformed, The Pentium 4 560 is designed to compete at the 417US price point while the Athlon FX 55 is designed for the 827US, were talking double the P4 560 in price. i believethe closest competitor for the Pentium 4 560 in price is probably the Athlon 64 3700+ even though it is on Single Channel DDR.
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Even the 3800+ could be included, but that is still about $180 more expensive than the 560, according to Newegg.
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    I know comments like I'm about to make have been made before, and I am not biased, but I wanted to reiterate.

    Why is the FX-55 even part of the benchmarks in this review? Why not a 3500+? The FX-55 is TWICE the price of the Pentium 560 according to current Newegg prices.

    I know the argument will be that the FX-55 and the 560 are two of the highest performing chips from the two camps. But the fact of the matter is that most people shopping for a 560 aren't going to be shopping for a FX-55. It's in an entirely different class.
  • mongoosesRawesome - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Can you do a comparison between soundstorm and dolby digital live? What is the bitrate of the encoding? Frequency range? Overall quality?

    It seems like this may be the second time I pass on AC3 encoding though. Last time I chose a northwood platform over AMD and NF2, and this time I'll likely choose the NF4 over intel and dolby digital live.

    Would be nice to be able to easily hook it up to my klipsch dolby digital decodor though...
  • anandtechrocks - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Thanks for the great review!
  • MAME - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    AMD >>>>>>>>>>>>> *

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