Test Bed Setup

Testbed Setup
Overclocking / Benchmark Testbed
Processor Intel Core i5 661 ES CPU
3.33GHz, 2 Cores, 4 Threads, 4MB Cache
Intel Core i3 540 CPU
3.07GHz, 2 Cores, 4 Threads, 4MB Cache
CPU Voltage Various
Cooling Intel air cooler
Heatkiller 3.0 Waterblock
PA120.2 Radiator
DDC Ultra pump (with Petra top)
1/2 ID tubing
Power Supply Corsair HX950
Memory Corsair Dominator CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 1600MHz 8GB kit. Rev 3.1
Corsair Dominator CMD8GX3M4A1600C8 1600MHz 8GB kit. Rev 7.1
Corsair XMS3 CMX8GX3M4A1333C9 1333MHz CAS 9 8GB kit. Rev 2.3
G.Skill Perfect Storm 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit
Corsair Dominator GT 8-8-8-24 2200MHz 4GB kit (two for 8GB) Rev 2.1
Memory Settings Various
Video Cards MSI 275 Lightning (stock clocks)
Video Drivers nVidia 195.62 WHQL
Hard Drive Western Digital 7200RPM 1TB SATA 3Gbps 32MB
OCZ Vertex 120GB SSD
Optical Drives Pioneer DVR-215DBK
Case Dimastech Benching Station (open)
Lian-Li V2110 (closed)
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. We used Intel's stock cooler for the stock comparison testing, while water-cooling via the superlative Heat Killer 3.0 water block was utilized for overclocking. For graphics duty, we used MSI's GTX 275 Lighting GPU 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. Otherwise all other settings are left on auto. The P55 utilized 8GB of DDR3 (apart from DFI's MI-T36 which is limited to 4GB), 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 i7-870 processors at both stock and overclocked CPU settings.

We used DDR3-1333 6-6-6-18 1T timings for the i5-750 stock setup for all system benchmarks (non-gaming tests) as DDR3-1600 is not natively supported at a stock BCLK setting of 133. For our Clarkdale i5 661 CPU, we used 7-7-7-20 1N timings at DDR3-1333MHz with 8GB of memory. We would have preferred to use CAS 6 timings to match our Lynnfield setup, but it seems 8GB of memory at CAS 6 on Clarkdale is not possible right now. The 4GHz gaming results used 8GB of memory at DDR3-1280MHz with CAS 6-6-6-18 1N timings to allow a BCLK of 200MHz.

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 using an AC wall meter for power consumption measurements. 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. Assuming a maximum 150w load in the worst case scenario, actual motherboard power consumption is around 15%~20% lower than the shown figures if you factor out switching losses at the PSU.

System Power Consumption - Idle Power - i5 661 CPU - IGP

System Power Consumption - Linpack Load Power - i5 661 CPU

System Power Consumption - HD Video Playback - i5 661 CPU

Best overall power consumption figures belong to MSI, while boards laden with USB 3.0 features and SATA 6G trail in both idle and load situations.

Overclocking Gaming Benchmarks and 3D Performance


View All Comments

  • ReaM - Thursday, March 25, 2010 - link

    Hey, you promised to test Quadcores 860 and 750 on the H55. I am wondering how those run and overclock on that chipset.

    You promised in Part1!

    It all leads to: P55 for quads or H55?
  • ReaM - Friday, March 26, 2010 - link

    Never mind, I bought the p55m ud2 from Gigabyte, also thanks to you review for that board :)

    Thanks for posting this free tests

    <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
  • wysiwygbill - Monday, March 22, 2010 - link

    Contrary to the original announcements the H55-itx does NOT support dual link DVI and the maximum DVI resolution is actually 1920x1200. Reply
  • RodEvan - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - link

    Thanks Raja for the excellent review - I've held back on purchasing a motherboard awaiting 'Part 2'. I'm looking for a relatively low power consumption board for a windows home server setup.

    I was actually pretty amazed by the Gigabyte idle power results - as equal to the the MSIboard (44 watt).

    For much of the time the CPU will be used minimaly - only rising for the occasional media decoding task - so for me the Gigabyte boatrd seemed ideal - partcularly since for some HD media sata3 speeds might come in useful.

    But the section on power consumption concludes
    "Best overall power consumption figures belong to MSI, while boards laden with USB 3.0 features and SATA 6G trail in both idle and load situations."
    The Gigabyte board (H55-USB3), quite remarkably doesn't appear to trail at all on idle.... am I missing something here?.
  • jed22281 - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - link

    what did you mean by:
    "particularly since for some HD media sata3 speeds might come in useful."
    The board doesn't have SATA3 does it? Only USB3.

    And what HD media would benefit from SATA3 speeds?
    There isn't any HD media I'm aware of that'd come close to saturating sata2.
    Or am I misunderstanding what your were trying to say?

  • RodEvan - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - link

    No misunderstanding - I probably need to say a little more.

    I currently one one Sagetv media extender off the server. But am about to install two more. The system should ideally allow for 3 HD videos to be streamed off the same HD at the same time.

    I haven't done the calaculation - but having the option for SATA3 seemed like a good idea.

    I've also re-read the review a note that this board has "Gigabyte SATA 2 chip: 1 x IDE, 2 x SATA 3Gb/s (RAID 0, 1 and JBOD)"

    and NOT 2 *SATA3 g/bs ... my misreading,sorry for the confusion.
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, February 24, 2010 - link

    what are you streaming in hd? Blu-ray specs call for ~54Mbps Peak.

    3 times that is 162. Which is just barely over Sata1 spec, well under sata2. Sata3 @ 600Mps would allow for ~11 streams (not counting for overhead).

    At that point I'd be more worried about drive/raid performace then saturating the bus.
  • Rajinder Gill - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - link

    Thanks for the feedback. The comment was made considering all three scenarios (Idle/full load/video playback), the MSI board came out on top in all three, hence the comment 'best overall power consumption'.

    Hope that clears it up..

  • NickCardwell - Tuesday, February 23, 2010 - link

    I would love to see an Anand review of the Intel DH57JG and Zotac H55ITX-A-E motherboards. I am looking to put one of them (probably the Intel) along with an i5-650 into a Lian Li PC-Q07 case. I love to build powerful systems for others but stick to small and simple for myself. Reply
  • Ogopogo - Monday, February 22, 2010 - link

    How do the Intel boards compare to these other boards? My main main criteria is stability.

    I don't know if a third installment of this upcoming but it would be interesting to see a test with a displayport H55

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