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Editor: Julio Franco

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Test: Sub-system Performance

Hardware
- Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (2.66GHz) LGA775
- x2 1024MB Corsair XMS PC-6400 CAS4 Module(s)
- Abit IP35 Pro (Intel P35)
- Abit IP35-E (Intel P35)
- ASUS P5K Deluxe (Intel P35)
- ASUS P5K-E (Intel P35)
- ASUS P5K-SE (Intel P35)
- ECS P35T-A (Intel P35)
- Gigabyte P35-S3L (Intel P35)
- Gigabyte P35-DS4 (Intel P35)
- Gigabyte P35-DQ6 (Intel P35)
- OCZ GameXStream (700 watt)
- Seagate 250GB 7200RPM (Serial ATA II)
- ASUS GeForce 8800 GTX (768MB)
Software
- Microsoft Windows XP Pro (SP2)
- Intel System Drivers 8.1.1
- Nvidia Forceware 162.18


The ASUS P5K Deluxe and Abit IP35 Pro are the only two motherboards to feature dual Gigabit LAN controllers while the rest offer a single Gigabit LAN connection. As you can see due to the fact that the Abit IP35 Pro uses the PCI bus for its LAN controllers the maximum speed has been capped. The second LAN controller on the ASUS P5K Deluxe also uses the PCI bus and therefore was a bit slower than the first controller which runs on the PCI Express bus.


The above HD Tach results measure hard drive performance and therefore indicate if any of the motherboards offer weak SATA performance. Using a single Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 hard drive all nine motherboards produced similar results which you would expect given they all use similar variations of the same ICH9 southbridge chip.


The above results were recorded using X3: Reunion and they are designed to measure how much of an impact the on-board audio controller has on real-world gaming performance when enabled. With the audio controller disabled the ASUS P5K Deluxe was the fastest motherboard rendering on average 2fps more than the next quickest board being the ECS P35T-A which was surprising. However, the Realtek ALC883 appears to create less CPU utilization as the ECS P35T-A dropped just 2fps with audio enabled. The ASUS P5K Deluxe which uses the ADI AD1988B audio controller lost around 8fps once audio was enabled.


Now for the first and only synthetic 3D benchmark we have used. 3Dmark2001 is a good tool for measuring overall system performance. As you can see, all nine motherboards produced very similar scores. The Abit IP35 Pro did bag the best result at 1280x1024 while the 1920x1200 resolution was taken by the ASUS P5K Deluxe. There were no real duds of the pack with very little difference in score between the fastest and the slowest motherboard.