Intel D975XBX: Intel brings their Bad-Axe to Marketby Gary Key on January 26, 2006 12:05 AM EST
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"Expectation is the root of all heartache."This quote by noted playwright William Shakespeare expresses our opinion about the Intel D975XBX. Although motherboards from Intel have generally been designed and offered for the business, education, or home office user, they have been directing their efforts towards the enthusiast market recently. In fact, Intel has loosened their white collars and taken off the blue suits with the introduction of the Extreme Series product line last year. Well, that might be an overstatement when compared to other enthusiast product offerings based on Intel chipsets, but Intel does recognize the importance of the gaming and advanced user in the marketplace.
The Intel D975XBX, code name Bad Axe, is a follow-up to the Intel D955XBK, which was based on the Intel 955x chipset. The Extreme Series product line includes the Intel D955XBK, Intel D955XCS, and the Intel D975XBX at this time. This product series is a departure for Intel as mentioned earlier and is geared towards the Intel power-user and high-end gamer while maintaining the exceptional security and stability of Intel's desktop board solutions.
The chart above lists the standard feature set available when utilizing the Intel 82975X chipset. The Intel 975X Express Chipset enables full support for two PCI Express x8 slots for multi-view or GPU capability, ATI CrossFire technology, Intel Memory Pipeline Technology (MPT), Intel Flex Memory Technology, 8GB memory addressability, and ECC memory support.
The Intel MPT is enhanced over the 955X iteration to offer improved pipelining to enable a higher utilization of each memory channel, resulting in better performance through increased transfers between the processor and system memory. Intel Flex Memory Technology allows different memory sizes to be populated and still remain in dual-channel mode.
The new architecture also supports both asynchronous and isochronous data traffic, with dedicated internal pipelines and specialized arbitration. In addition, the 975X chipset has improved electricals with optimized ball-out for better latency compared to the 955X chipset. We noticed small, but not significant improvements in our test results.
Intel chose to augment this feature set with additional SATA capabilities via the Silicon Image SiI 3114 chipset, and Firewire 1394a support via the TI TSB43AB23 chipset.
Let's find out if the board met our expectations or left us with heartache.