General Performance

The PCMark05 benchmark, developed by Futuremark, was designed for determining overall system performance for the typical home computing user. This tool provides both system and component level benchmarking results utilizing subsets of real world applications or programs. This benchmark is useful for providing comparative results across a broad array of graphics cards, CPUs, hard disks, and memory configurations and it also includes some multithreading results. In this sense we consider the PCMark benchmark to be both synthetic and real world in nature while providing consistency in our benchmark results.

General Performance

PCMark 2005 results for our test group are fairly close between the Intel chipset boards with the NVIDIA based ASUS P5N32-SLI SE taking a solid lead here due to excellent hard drive performance and multitasking scores within the benchmark. The three ATI X1900XTX equipped boards finished at the bottom of the group due to weak score results in the 2D benchmarks. Despite the close results in these tests with the Intel chipset boards, PCMark05 is still proving to be a useful overall performance benchmark. It is generally more sensitive than the older Winstones and PCMark04 to recent improvements in PC architecture.

Rendering Performance

Rendering Performance

We have replaced Winstones with 2 benchmarks that use rendering to test system performance. Cinebench 9.5 heavily stresses the CPU subsystem while performing graphics modeling and rendering. We utilize the standard benchmark demo within the program along with the default settings. Cinebench 9.5 features two different benchmarks with one test utilizing a single core and the second test showcasing the power of multiple cores in rendering the benchmark image.

While results are generally close in Cinebench, the ASUS P5N32-SLI SE tops the Dual-Core test results with the Intel 975XBX finishing a strong first in the single core tests, followed closely by the ASUS P5W-DH in both tests.

The 3DMark series of benchmarks by Futuremark are among the most widely used tools for benchmark reporting and comparisons. Although the benchmarks are very useful for providing apple to apple comparisons across a broad array of GPU and CPU configurations, they are not a substitute for actual application and gaming benchmarks. In this sense we consider the 3DMark benchmarks to be purely synthetic in nature but still valuable for providing consistent measurements of performance.

Graphics Performance

After taking a very strong first place in PCMark2005, we see the ASUS P5N32-SLI SE squeaking out a win in the 3DMark06 with an excellent performance turned in by the Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 for second place. The performance of the entire group was very close with the exception of the ASRock board due to its PCIe implementation (although a score over 6000 is still very respectable). The surprise was the ATI X1900XTX GPU scores as they have historically scored better in this benchmark than the NVIDIA based 7900GTX cards. We are still having conversations with ATI, but there appears to be a driver issue with the Core 2 Duo processors in our testing as the game scores will reflect the same results.

Overclocking Comparison

Overclocking Performance

The overclocking capabilities we have measured thus far are with our standard E6700 CPU at a 10X multiplier. While this will not show the true FSB potential of the board, it does show a board's capability with the second highest performing Core 2 Duo and what can be expected with the fixed multiplier CPUs on average. We will be providing FSB overclocking results in our individual board reviews with the unlocked X6800. However, the only board in our testing that exceeded a 400FSB was the ASUS P5W-DH that reached 445MHz with our amazing little E6600 before running out of MCH voltage.

The NVIDIA based ASUS P5N32-SLI SE turned in a decent overclocking performance for an NVIDIA based Intel board but falls far short of the Intel chipset boards in high FSB overclocking. This situation will improve gradually over the next several months with the release of the DFI nF590 SLI board next month and then with the next true chipset revision this winter. Although the nForce4 Intel Edition board did not overclock competitively with the Intel chipsets when utilizing the FSB method, it did match the same overclocks when raising the CPU multiplier with our X6800 CPU.

Test Setup Standard Gaming Performance
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  • WynX - Monday, August 21, 2006 - link

    Great article!!!

    Really waiting for the nforce 5 series (to be mature too).
    Reply
  • wheelconnector - Saturday, August 19, 2006 - link

    Hey
    on the review here it says that the 975xbx can support ddr2 800MHz memory speeds, but anywhere else that I've checked, claims that the board only supports speeds upto 667MHz. Can the board take 800MHz out of the box? or will I have to mess around with it to accept the RAM?
    thanks a lot
    Reply
  • LeeKay - Wednesday, August 09, 2006 - link

    I hope u still have your mushkin XP2-8000 (redline) and never sent it back.

    Here is my hardware.
    --------------------
    P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe / P5B Deluxe.
    Asus Silent tower CPU cooler.
    E6600 Processor.
    2x1GB Mushkin Redline DDR2 1000Mhz / 2x1GB OCZ Platnium 800MHZ
    2x 150GB Raptors,
    1x Seagate 300GB Drive,
    Powerstream 600Watt PSU
    2x EVGA 7950GX2
    Coolermaster Stacker.
    Plexter SATA 755 Drive
    Liteon IDE drive
    Mitsumi Floppy Drive
    Creative Labs X-Fi Extreme gamer.


    Here is my problem..

    P5N32 SLI SE DELUXE

    I put 2 sticks of ram in the system with the video card will not post. I have to remove one stick of ram and leave one stick in B1 or B2. It will not boot from a cleared bios with a stick in A1 or A2. I then have to go in the bios and set the memory below or at 800Mhz for it to post with 2 sticks of ram in it. Even then when I put the two sticks in and go to the bios it shows only 1024MB or system ram. But the post screen clearly shows 2048. There is nothing wrong with this memory. It ran fine with the P5B motherboard.

    When using the OCZ it posts no problem but again shows 2048MB at post and in bios and the OS only shows 1024MB Avalible.

    Asus Tech support is the worst in the world. They instantly tell you its a faulty board this and that. But its not its the bios I am 100% sure it is.

    Could you Anandtech please setup a test bed with the 0121 bios and try it. If it has no issue could you please try 0204 revision and then tell me. I have the same motherboard revision as you show in the picture.

    Thanks in advance.
    Reply
  • Bugs66 - Wednesday, August 02, 2006 - link

    I see more and more older boards with Core 2 Duo support. Such as the Asus P5PE-VM which is 865G, AGP, and DDR400. I am very curious how performance is hit using the older chipset. These boards are great for folks who do not want to toss their RAM, video card, etc unless there is a huge difference.

    Thanks for the great writeup.
    Reply
  • trajan - Saturday, July 29, 2006 - link

    The article mentions these will be coming out soon for socket 775/Conroe. Anyone know when? I've been surfing around for hours trying to find info on it. I know NVidia has made the NForce 500s for Intel but none of the board manufacturers lists any info at all.

    Just trying to decide if I should go ahead and get the ASUS P5N32-SLI Deluxe (I want to run SLI) or if it's only a short wait for something better.. !

    Thanks
    Reply
  • rallyhard - Monday, July 24, 2006 - link

    Thanks for the great review.
    I was going back and referencing some information from it today and noticed that in the P5W-DH Deluxe Basic Features table, you have the number of IDE ports listed incorrectly as one. There are actually two ports, one provided by the JMicron JMB363, and the other from the ICH7R southbridge. I got that info from the Asus website.

    Is that the other IDE port over below the last PCI port?! If so, that's rediculous.
    But this is one of very few Core 2 Duo supporting motherboards that I've seen that have 2 IDE ports, so I might just have to get it.

    Gary, I look forward to the upcoming review you mentioned earlier in these comments of the Biostar motherboard with the VIA VT6410 controller. IDE performance continues to be important to me, and will for quite some time with the investment I've already made in hard drives. NEVER AGAIN will I get burned by an under-reviewed, underperfoming chip like the IT8212F!

    Thanks again for your quality reviews.
    Reply
  • thedjvan - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    I am very impressed with this guide, looks like a lot of hard work went into it!

    I have a question though. I am using the release of Conroe as an excuse to build a whole new system. After reading your guide in addition to others, I've decided on the E6700 and the DFI board (as I don't plan on OCing much, if at all).

    However, the video card I had chosen is a X1900XTX, as I have read many bad reviews on the 7900 series having assorted problems with heat and other issues.

    Now, having read this, I see that Conroe isn't playing nice with my chosen vid card, possibly due to driver issues. My question: Have you guys received any word from ATI, or has a new driver been pushed out yet that brings its performance up to par where it should be? There's absolutely no reason the Nvidia card should be blowing it away, especially on HL2 and other typically ATI friendly games.

    If not, should I forget the ATI card and take a chance on one of the Nvidia cards, or simply go with the ATI card and hope they push out new drivers soon? The AMD/ATI aquisition further complicates the situation... I somehow doubt they'd do any favors for intel based systems.
    Reply
  • thedjvan - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    No edit button :(

    I meant a X1900XT, not the XTX version. I'll keep my $100, thanks :)
    Reply
  • thedjvan - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    Sorry, one more quick question. Is the Zalman CNPS9500 compatible with the Conroe? Reply
  • Gary Key - Sunday, July 23, 2006 - link

    quote:

    Sorry, one more quick question. Is the Zalman CNPS9500 compatible with the Conroe?


    Yes...works very well by the way. ;-)
    Reply

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