Since the announcement of Intel
915/925 Express series chipsets, we have already compared the
performance of new motherboards analyzing the influence of the chipset
proper, motherboard memory type, and accompanying factors. We obtained
approximately the same picture in the first
and the second
parts of our roundup of Socket 775 motherboards based on i915/925.
And as we didn't detect any deviations from the "standard"
this time, we decided to skip the analytical part and publish only
the pure comparison of new motherboards. Our conclusions and attitude
to the motherboards based on i915/925 will be repeated at the end
of the article.
Maximum "analysis depth" of today's roundup is to test
motherboards supporting both DDR and DDR2 with each memory type in
turn. Results of systems with on-board video are omitted, as they
are not essentially different from the results obtained in the first
part of the series.
As you can see, relative speed in both archivers is absolutely the same, even
the rating of contenders remained the same. As memory latency plays
a pivotal role in this test, ASUS P5AD2 Premium outscores all other
motherboards only in Turbo mode. But in general, motherboards supporting
DDR400 look more preferable to DDR2-533 models (i865PE is outscored
by i915, because the memory controller in the new chipset is faster).
The low result of MSI 915G Combo-FR with both memory types is alarming
(compare with ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe) – it may indicate problems,
which we have already seen in "dual-standard" motherboards.
Video encoding speed, measured according to our open method,
is mainly determined by a CPU, so we contented ourselves with the
results of a single test. As you can see, chipset and memory type
have nothing to do with it. The difference in results can be explained
by the FSB frequency increase value (and thus CPU) relative to the
standard one. It's quite logical that the ASUS P5AD2 Premium frequencies
increased almost by 1% (in Turbo mode) make this motherboard a leader.
MSI 915G Combo-FR is again on the bottom of the list, though its frequencies
are strictly according to the standard.
Photoshop tests steadily demonstrate "interesting" results: so,
motherboards on i865 are again heavily defeated by all other models,
and the ill-fated MSI 915G Combo-FR supporting two memory types failed
the test again. It's strange that ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe is doing quite
well in this test and is even fighting for the first place –
that's evidently the difference in the engineering efficiency in different
companies providing non-standard operating modes with DDR and DDR2
on the same motherboard. All "normal" models have finished
at about the same time, but the Turbo mode provided the finishing
dash and again procured victory for ASUS P5GD2 Premium.
But just for a change MSI 915G Combo-FR works magic in games, demonstrating
one of the highest results among the motherboards without "magical"
acceleration technologies (like ASUS Hyper Path 2). ASUS P5GD2 Premium
"with turbo-supercharging" is traditionally the first. Memory
performance being important here, we are at last witnessing a percentagewise
considerable overclocking effect. ECS 865PE-A7 was surprisingly moderate:
i865PE being equipped with AGP 8x, we had to use [kind of] a faster
video card, but it didn't help. You can see the rest on the diagrams.
Thus, summing up the series of tests of modern solutions for Socket 775 let's draw several conclusions, which pretend to be final and helpful in estimating by the eye the attractiveness of the motherboards with different properties.
Motherboards based on the i915 series chipsets are faster than typical old representatives of i865, in case they use the same memory type (DDR). We recommend to buy these models, because i915+DDR2 motherboards are usually slower and are always more expensive, while i925X+DDR2 motherboards are still more expensive and provide almost no performance gain. Actually, DDR2 is of no real use these days.
There is a point in buying a motherboard based on i915/925, if you need (now or in future) new technologies implemented in this platform. Performance is not a fad of this generation of Intel chipsets with PCI Express. On the other hand, performance differences in all cases (in real tests) are not that large to condition univocal customer's choice, except for a number of artifacts of the old chipsets in Photoshop.
Let's do justice to qualifications of ASUS engineers: motherboards from this manufacturer are a tad overclocked, which helps them (even if purely formally) take the first places in tests. What is probably more important is that the ASUS motherboard supporting both memory types managed to demonstrate good image processing performance in Photoshop, while similar motherboards from other manufacturers failed this test. If you want a motherboard supporting two memory types, we can recommend only ASUS P5GDC-V Deluxe.
And now let's finish our roundup of motherboards based on Intel 915P/G and
925X. New chipsets are round the corner (including 925XE from Intel),
it's time we have a look at them. Of course, if we find out an interesting
occasion to return to the first generation of PCIE-chipsets, we'll
get back to this topic immediately.