In just about every benchmark shown today and even in those not listed the multi-GPU results favor X58. Nothing shocking about that as in previous testing with both Nvidia and ATI video cards, we came to the same conclusion. The only difference today is that we are using the latest generation DX11 capable GPU and the percentage differences are not really any different with previous GPU chipsets. Where we did not have a difference was in actual game play experiences. It was impossible to tell the difference between platforms, except for some additional thermal output from the X58 setup.

If you happen to benchmark Intel platforms for a living, then clearly an X58/Bloomfield platform is the way to go. No questions asked, not even a hint of doubt should enter one’s mind as to the X58 being the logical choice. How about the other 99.9% of us? Well, if you just need that safe feeling that you are getting the maximum benefit out of those $380 HD 5870 cards you just purchased, the X58 paired with a Core i7 is an easy choice. It is an even easier choice if you plan on upgrading to Gulftown next year.

For those of us who are interested in power consumption, heat, noise, and not all that worried about a 2% to 7% difference in the benchmarks, then the Lynnfield platform is an attractive alternative with the latest generation GPUs. In fact, without the 920/X58 hanging around at similar pricing, the general thoughts/concerns regarding 860/P55 would probably be significantly different within the enthusiast community. The 860/P55 is a very good platform, especially for those running at stock or near stock speeds where the aggressive turbo mode will make a difference in daily computing tasks and your pocketbook.

That said, if you are running a single card such as the HD 5870, either platform is fine. However, performance in x8 mode was a bit disappointing for those needing the second slot for purposes other than graphics. In the end, performance in games was still very good and only a benchmark would inform you of less than stellar performance. What we cannot answer right now is if the dual x8 PCIe capability on Lynnfield will become a true bottleneck with the GPUs that follow the current/planned releases from AMD/Nvidia.

So our conclusion still has not changed from a month ago, if you plan on purchasing a high end multi-GPU setup you'll want to go with X58/Bloomfield for the best possible performance. If you want a great combination of application and gaming performance without the power consumption or heat concerns, the Lynnfield platform is a very attractive alternative.

Batman plus Power Consumption


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.
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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"> (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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