Testbed Setup
Overclocking / Benchmark Testbed
Processor Intel i7-980X ES - 3.33GHz, 6 cores, 12 threads. 12MB L3 Cache
Intel i7-980X Retail - 3.33GHz, 6 cores, 12 threads. 12MB L3 Cache
CPU Voltage Various
Cooling Intel air cooler, Heatkiller 3.0 waterblock, 2 x PA120.2 radiators and 2 x DDC ultra pumps (with Petra top) in series, 1/2 ID tubing for watercooling.
Power Supply Corsair HX950, PCP Turbo Cool 1200W
Memory Corsair Dominator GT 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit
G.Skill Perfect Storm 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit.
Memory Settings Various
Video Cards MSI N275 Lightning
Video Drivers nVidia 197.45 WHQL
Hard Drive Western Digital 7200RPM 1TB SATA 3/Gbps 32MB Buffer
OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD
Optical Drives Plextor PX-B900A, Toshiba SD-H802A
Case Open Test Bed - Dimastech Benching Station
Lian-Li V2110
Operating System Windows 7 64 bit

We utilized memory kits from Corsair and G.Skill to verify memory compatibility on our test boards. Our OS and primary applications are loaded on the OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD drive and our games operate off the WD Caviar Black 1TB drive. We did a clean install of the OS and applications for each motherboard. For graphics duty, MSI’s GTX N275 GPUs are used to provide performance comparisons between boards during gaming benchmarks.

For our test results we set up each board as closely as possible in regards to memory timings, Uncore, QPI frequency and also match up C-state parameters.  The X58 boards utilized 6GB of memory throughout the course of benchmarking compares. Memory timings are set to 7-7-7-20 1T @ DDR3-1333 for the stock benchmarks and 8-8-8-24 1T DDR3-1600 for the 4GHz processor overclock compares.

We’ve recently updated our graphics drivers to nVidia’s WHQL 197.45 so are a little thin on platform compare results. However, there are a few reviews where gaming performance of X58, P55 and AMD platform compares have been made here and here.


Power Consumption

Our power consumption testing utilizes the same batch of components under similar circumstances in a bid to monitor variances between idle and CPU load conditions. We install the vendor supplied power saving utilities on each board and enable power saving modes that don't involve any kind of underclocking or CPU core frequency modulation in order to run an apples to apples comparison.

ATX PSU switching losses are absent from our figures because we monitor power consumption directly at the DC rails of the PSU. These figures measure only the CPU, motherboard, memory and GPU PCIe power draw via the motherboard and exclude any other peripherals, such as cooling fans and hard drives etc. Actual AC power consumption for the motherboard will be anywhere from 15~40% higher than these figures depending upon the efficiency of your power supply and choice of GPU.

Motherboard DC Power Consumption - Idle

Motherboard DC Power Consumption - Linpack

Motherboard DC Power Consumption - HD Video Playback

Unsurprising that the MSI board comes out on top in these tests. Gigabyte’s UD9 fares well in comparison to the ASUS Rampage III Extreme with DES power saving modes engaged (considering it has two NF200 chips in tow). EVGA trails in all tests behind the UD9 for raw efficiency because the Volterra VRM used for CPU Vcore duty operates at a base switching frequency of 800KHz.  

MSI Big Bang-XPower Overclocking Results


View All Comments

  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, October 05, 2010 - link

    Very broad question that. Best X58 board you mean? Typically don't spend more than $250 and you'll get what you need - ASUS & Gigabyte is where I'd personally go from a BIOS standpoint in that price range. If you don't want to overclock, then ASRock, Biostar and EVGA and MSI will do the job too.

  • rustycurse - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    1. I wish ask an important question for me - Why I should purchase a new PC (a component), when development engineers of programs (or of games) do not wish to "see" (completely to use) those resources the PC which one are already presented? An instance - during a play "Dragon Age Origin" (and not only it) and if is more exact - during conversations when the static picture with several alternatives of answers is presented - I see, that only nearby 1GB (this game, and almost same for Windows resources ) memory uses and CPU fan turns as the craziest! What is it - limitation INTEL for the chipsets with embed video (like mine 945G), or it's inexperience of software(games) developers?
    In other words - that I wish see it - low CPU and HDD (page file.sys) loadings at a high memory loading!
    I doubt, that Intel, Microsoft or software makers will give me any reasonable answer in this matter, so i've a request to Anandtech team «to give me a light» on this problem. And, of course, to show the public the solution(s) in your further tests!
    I'm planning to purchase a new PC (preferentially a notebook) in the near future, as alternative my present - (MB: P5LD2VM-dh/c; CPU - Pentium D945; Memory: 3x1GB 'all planks are - patriot'; Video: ASUS 7600GS; Win 7 ultimate), but I am "restrained" by above indicated problem, and here appears one more question (as I'm not wish create a superfluous topic):
    2. Why almost on all notebooks use D-Sub connectors, instead of DVI? (I use CAD programs in double-screen mode - one person watching a movie through HDMI and second person doing a CAD job through DVI with high screen resolution )
    O yeah, nearly has not forgotten! I had a similar situation during a play "Gothic 3" earlier - the memory loading on the screen monitor "Windows Task Manager" attained a breaking point nearby 2 GB and after a while the game hung (or was BSOD).
    I'm waiting for reasonable thoughts and Thanks to Anandtech team for your guides and please forgive my English!
  • rustycurse - Wednesday, December 01, 2010 - link

    Woops! I looked through these MBs and remembered another "a little issue" to mention.
    THE one of the reasons of the buying P5LD2-VM-DH/C was - Try to guess? - the location of the floppy connector!!!!!!!!
    I don't know why all (almost) MB makers locate this connector at the bottom of a MB!!!, but i'm getting MAD when i see that, especially if it (GARBAGE) is MOST expensive and has ATX form factor!!!
    So, MB makers - PLEASE F*** OFF with your expensive S*** and try to remember that some software require to be activated by using floppy drive, especially if it is located at THE TOP of the case ( like mine IN-Win Q500) !!!! sorry for"language" but i won't have other words for such matters!

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