OCC Roundup: Motherboards of 2007hardnrg - December 16, 2007
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Whether you're trying to sustain decent framerates in the middle of a frantic gaming session, like the option of running large tasks in the background, such as video or audio encoding, dabble in a bit of photo retouching, or even just want to be able to browse the internet without delays, any use of a computer can benefit from the raw performance of the system. This performance can be attributed to the CPU, RAM, and motherboard. The CPU and RAM configurations were not always the same, so let's look at the reviews to see what results can be achieved.
Group 1: Budget / Entry Level - SiSoft Sandra - Processor Arithmetic
The systems seem quite similar in performance for integer calculations, apart from the Asus Crosshair, which has the disadvantage of being run with an X2 4200+ against X2 6000+ CPUs in the other AM2 boards. To its credit though, you can see the performance difference is scaled to tally with the AMD CPU performance rating (i.e. the processor name).
For floating point calculations, it's obvious to see which three motherboards have the X2 6000+, and we see the same scaled performance of the X2 4200+. What's most interesting here, however, is that the E6600 in the ECS G33T-M2 falls behind the X2 6000+; something I would never have guessed.
The motherboards in the second group have much more closely matched CPUs and RAM, so let's see how the performance compares on Intel chipsets and nVidia chipsets.
Group 2: Mainstream / High End - SiSoft Sandra - Processor Arithmetic
When the CPU and RAM configurations are closely matched, so is the raw performance; even between different chipsets. In other words, stock performance is very boring, as it doesn't let the true power of a motherboard shine. If you have a Core2 CPU and aren't overclocking it, you need your head examined. THIS is where it starts getting interesting; when you see what performance you can unleash using the magical powers of the motherboard through the BIOS.
This leads to the conclusion that, in regards to performance, the motherboard choice is of little interest; system performance is determined by the CPU and RAM. So, for Group 1 we're going to move onto the value added features they bring to the table to give extra functionality, and for Group 2 we're going to look at the actual gaming performance. Each of these areas will give a better idea of how the motherboards will perform in real world use.