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eVGA X58 3X SLI Review

Zertz    -   March 8, 2009
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Testing:

To see just what kind of performance the eVGA X58 3X SLI is capable of I will take it through the OverclockersClub benchmarking suite. It includes synthetic and gaming benchmarks to show how it performs. I will compare eVGA's X58 against previously tested motherboards based on the same chipset. All of the stock testing is run with the factory default settings in the BIOS, save for manually setting the memory clock speeds, voltage and processor voltage. Turbo mode has been disabled on the X58 boards to eliminate any variables due to changing clock speeds during single and multi threaded benchmarks. SMT was enabled during testing as well. To overclock the eVGA X58 3X SLI, I will push the limits and try to show results that should be easily duplicated based on the capabilities of your CPU and system memory.

 

Testing Setup i7:

 

Comparison Motherboards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 920 206x18 1.40 volts
  • System Memory: Mushkin 3x 2GB 9-9-9-24 1648 MHz 1.65 volts

The i7 runs at 2.66GHz and only need around 1.10V to work at this frequency, a pretty impressive feat. Getting it up to 3GHz was simple enough, all it took was to bump the base clock from 133 to 150MHz. Then, things started to get a bit complicated and required quite a bit of tweaking. Since I am using a processor with a locked multiplier I started by decreasing it in order to find the highest stable base clock. The highest I could hit with full stability is 215 MHz, which required the QPI voltage to be set at 1.55V. The eVGA board had trouble dealing with failed overclocks, it would usually not even get to the BIOS and I had to clear the CMOS every time. The fact that the board takes at least 10 seconds from power on to POST is quite annoying as well, especially when you are overclocking.

Now that I knew how high the board could clock and already knowing the limits of the RAM, I set off to find out how high the eVGA X58 could drive the i7 920. Properly tweaking voltages was an absolute requirement to make the overclock stable. After having worked on it for a while, I finally settled for a 206 MHz BCLK with the processor's multiplier set at 18 which translates into 3.711 GHz. The memory ran at 1648 MHz 9-9-9-24 at 1.65V. With voltages above stock settings, it's important to make sure the voltage regulators have adequate airflow, otherwise the passive heatsink will let them heat up to 100 Celsius. Of course, you will also need proper cooling on the processor since i7's tend to get toasty.

For those of you who are wondering why I chose to go for a lower multiplier and a higher base clock instead of using the stock multiplier and lower BCLK, I have a simple explanation. Even though I could squeeze out another 50 MHz out of the processor using 19 and 20 multipliers, memory was forced to run about 100 MHz slower due to dividers so it just wasn't worth it. Running a higher BCLK also made the QPI link faster, which helps a bit with performance. Finally, even though I settled for a measly 3.7 GHz, it's possible to reach over 4 GHz, but the i7 920 required far too high voltages to make it a realistic overclock that you would run every day.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. SpecviewPerf 10
  4. PCMark Vantage Professional
  5. Sandra XII
  6. ScienceMark 2.02
  7. Cinebench 10
  8. HD Tune 2.55
  • Video:
  1. Far Cry 2
  2. Crysis Warhead
  3. BioShock
  4. Call of Duty World At War
  5. Dead Space
  6. Fallout 3
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage

 




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