Final Words

Many readers raised the valid concerns of whether the improvement in Bearlake (P35) memory performance was the result of the improved memory controller or whether it was merely a side effect of the faster 1333 processor bus. We tried to answer this in comments to the original review, but the question deserved additional testing to clearly show where the performance improvements are originating.

In the area of memory bandwidth improvement, it appears that the memory controller is roughly adding about 5% to P965 performance while the faster 1333 processor bus contributes an additional 11% to 13%. The total improvement in memory bandwidth for P35 compared to the P965 is 16% to 18%. Memory is just one small part of overall system performance, so this does not translate into a 16% improvement in system performance. System performance is improved, but real-world performance improvements are smaller.

In pure number crunching it appears that the P35 only slightly improves performance, in the 0.5% to 2.5% range. It is interesting that almost all of the SuperPi improved performance is a result of the improved P35 memory controller, since the higher 1333 processor bus actually decreases performance a very small amount compared to the 1066 bus.

Gaming performance with Far Cry benchmarks was found to improve 3% to 6% on the P35. About 5% of that increase was due to the improved P35 memory controller, with the higher 1333 bus only adding about 0.5% to the performance.

The memory performance improvements for P35, as stated in the initial review, are pretty impressive for just a chipset upgrade. The memory bandwidth improves 16% to 18%, with about 5% of that increase due to an improved memory controller. The rest is the result of the higher 1333 processor bus. SuperPi performance improves slightly - 0.5% to 2.5% - almost all due to the improved P35 memory controller and gaming performance improves about 5.5%, again almost entirely the result of the improved memory controller.

With this closer look at the components of the P35 improvements in memory performance, we can put to rest the either/or vein of questions about the increase in processor bus. The improvement in P35 memory performance is a result of a combination of an improved memory controller and a faster processor bus. It is not the result of either factor alone. In some cases, like memory bandwidth, the processor bus is the larger contributor. In others, like gaming, the improved memory controller is the bigger factor.

Regardless of which aspect improves memory performance the most, however, it is clear the P35 is a better performing chipset than the earlier P965. If you are in the market for a new system, the P35 is a good chipset for building a performance system. This is particularly true if you intend to use a 1066 FSB processor with the "free" 25% overclock that is possible by just setting 1333 instead of 1066 in the motherboard BIOS.

Number Crunching and Gaming
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  • JarredWalton - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    We don't generally used beta drivers unless there is no other viable option (i.e. a new graphics card where the non-beta drivers are not yet available). I don't really expect the later drivers to improve performance, but perhaps that's something Gary will be looking at in our official P35 chipset article. Check back next week. :-)
  • rjm55 - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    I was fairly convinced that the increases you saw the first time were just the 1333 speed. Looks like I was wrong. Thanks for doing more testing that shows the P35 is a better performer and the reasons are the memory controller by itself in gaming. This should shut up the no-difference posters.
  • sdsdv10 - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link

    Agreed. Article like this is why AnandTech is one of best tech sites on the web!
  • sdsdv10 - Friday, May 18, 2007 - link


    Article --> Articles

    While they maybe one the best, the comment section could still use a edit function dammit.

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