We will start off our P55 coverage this week by answering a question that has been raised numerous times as of late, “Exactly how will the new DX11 cards perform on the Lynnfield/P55 platform compared to the Bloomfield/X58?”. The answer to that question depends on the game engine, settings, and processor choice for the most part. There has been much speculation that the Lynnfield/P55 platform would fail miserably with the next generation cards. That said, the difference in platform performance between the first DX11 capable cards available (ATI HD 5870/5850) is about the same as previous generation cards we tested in the Lynnfield launch article.

This means for single card performance both platforms trade blows for supremacy. However, for those running CF/SLI setups, the X58 continues to be the platform of choice for users wanting the best possible benchmark results. Does that mean the integrated dual x8 PCIe 2.0 logic on Lynnfield is a poor choice compared to the dual x16 PCIe 2.0 sporting X58? Absolutely not based on our initial tests. In fact, it should satisfy most users.

Now for those making an investment into an ultra high-end HD 5870 CrossFireX setup, the Core i7/X58 configuration will simply offer the best possible performance. Of course that performance comes at a cost, particularly power consumption. However, we have a feeling most owners sporting two HD 5870s are not that concerned about Al Gore knocking on their door in the middle of the night.

In the meantime, we have our first performance results comparing the Core i7/860 and P55 against the like priced Core i7/920 and X58 in a variety of games. We are going to state this upfront, this is not a GPU review of the HD 5870. Instead, we decided to pull this information out of the upcoming high-end P55 roundup so it did not get lost in the mix. Our resolution is limited to 1920x1080 that we use in the motherboard test suite. As such, the numbers speak for themselves. So let’s get right to the results today, but first, the test setup.

Test Setup-

For our test results we setup each board as closely as possible in regards to memory timings and sub-timings. The P55 motherboard utilized 8GB of DDR3, while the X58 platform contained 6GB. The P55 and X58 DDR3 timings were set to 7-7-7-20 1T at DDR3-1600 for the i7/920 and i7/860 processors at both stock and overclocked CPU settings. All power management features were enabled on each board and voltages were set at the lowest possible values when overclocking while still retaining 24/7 stability.

The image gallery below contains our Everest memory results with each processor overclocked at similar memory settings along with voltage/uncore/subtiming options. The 860/P55 offers slightly better throughput and overall latency numbers than the 920/X58 when overclocked. At stock, the latency numbers favor Lynnfield with assistance from the turbo mode.

Our game selection today is varied but is missing a couple of titles we wanted to show. We pulled Crysis Warhead as the CrossFireX scaling numbers were under 8% and Need For Speed: Shift does not have a CrossFire profile yet. AMD is currently working on updated CF profiles for the latest games. We also had some corruption problems when running Empire:Total War and Anno 1404 that is under investigation.

All of our gaming performance results are reported in average frame rates per second in the main bar graph with minimum frame rates reported in the text section. The results are sorted by the average frame rates.  We are also reporting single card results with the HD 5870 running at PCIe 2.0 x8 speeds on the P55 platform to compare performance to the x16 single card setup. We installed an Intel CT Gigabit network card in the second physical x16 slot in order to force x8 operation.

FarCry 2 - The hurt is on...


View All Comments

  • flade - Friday, January 15, 2010 - link

    I only stick a coputer together every several years so I have to do a lot of fast-track learning in order to keep up with the new razzamataz. Don't get me wrong, I've been fiddling with them since before the first Apples fell off the trees. Probably have more pounds of computer crap in my closet than anybody.

    Now ignoring all the BS from these idiots trying to sell sneakers - I have to say that I ran out of steam somewhere in the middle of the 55 vs x58 and the Lynfield vs the Bloomfield family fued... Like some of you folks waste a whole lot of time bickering about who has the biggest IQ - or wingie. Yeah, well my dual-barreled, high-lift cam crankin hemi under glass will blow your doors off.

    This is a good site. Why don't you friggen macho clowns restrict the chatter to the subject instead of comparing your gizmos.
  • maomao0000 - Sunday, October 11, 2009 - link


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  • AndyKH - Sunday, October 4, 2009 - link

    I'm a bit confused about the uncore clock frequency. From what I've gathered from all the discussion about the Lynfield having an advantage from the 200 MHz higher uncore clock frequency, I've concluded that uncore clock is represented by the NB (North Bridge?) frequency in the CPU-Z screenshots. But when running at stock speeds, I can't get it to match for the bloomfield: For Lynnfield CPU-Z shows 2.4 GHz NB frequency, but for bloomfield it shows ~3.3 GHz NB frequency! However, according to one of the original articles http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?...">http://www.anandtech.com/cpuchipsets/showdoc.aspx?... (can't get the http link button to work) about Nehalem, the uncore clock should run at 20x the BCLK ~2.66 GHz.

    So how does all this come together?
    Is the NB frequency really the uncore clock?
    And what about the QPI clock number for Lynnfield, why is that even shown - doesn't Lynnfield completely lack a QPI link, or is the QPI clock used for anything else than actual QPI interface?

    A comment to Gary: I really enjoyed reading the article, but (and this might just show my ignorance because I haven't read every article about the Nehalem architecture) I would really appreciate some kind of walkthrough of the numbers shown by CPU-Z and Everest, where it is explained how the naming of different values relate to the names used in articles about CPU architecture.

    Thanks in advance
  • duploxxx - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    Really nice testing and effort, but the only way to make such a compare complete is to really use all possible solutions, by adding a 790fx platform you would have brought some real value to all customers and finally get rid of all the possible biased/brand favor comments most sites (and so does anandtech) get all the time. Reply
  • Gary Key - Friday, October 2, 2009 - link

    That is coming... :) Reply
  • blindbox - Thursday, October 22, 2009 - link

    Hearing that makes me give you a two thumbs up in real life :)

    We are still waiting for a better commenting system. I mean, I can't even see my past comments. Can't you integrate with the forums like how TPU did?
  • mapesdhs - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link

    Gary, do you know if there are plans to release a pro equivalent of
    these cards, ie. FireGL or somesuch? I've spent quite a lot of time
    recently helping various places go through purchases of dual quad-core
    i7 XEON systems with FX5800 cards. In every case, the overall focus of
    GPU support from the supplier was on Quadro FX cards, eg. SGI's new
    Octane III doesn't mention ATI FireGL cards at all:


    What has happened to AMD's professional GPU range? Have they given up?


  • Gary Key - Thursday, October 1, 2009 - link


    I am waiting on an answer from AMD right now. I heard they would have a new line of Professional cards based on Cypress in Q1, just wanting them to confirm it again. Email me and I can answer you once I have the answer.

  • atmos - Wednesday, October 7, 2009 - link

    Did you hear back on why the ATI folks think the results are so different from the tests with the Nvidia 260 etc cards? Reply
  • capeli - Wednesday, September 30, 2009 - link

    The results are not surprising. Given that the 5870 performs roughly at the level of a 4870x2 it's not surprising that the scaling is more or less the same the 4800 series.

    I'm guessing that Lynfield will start to become a bottleneck with the 5870x2 quadfire/trifire (5870x2 + 5870) setups.

    Personally I went for Bloomfield, because I had great success with my 4870x2 + 4870 setup. Had heat issues that were resolved by adding a better fan to my intake on the side panel. It's a tad noisy, but the performance is superb. So much so that I don't see myself upgrading to DX11 until mid 2010.

    18 months of top notch performance is pretty good for fast moving tech like graphics cards.

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