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Gigabyte GA-P55-UD6 Review

ccokeman    -   October 22, 2009
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Testing:

Testing is the only way to prove whether or not one motherboard is better than the others when it comes down to performance. Some groups like all the whiz-bang features, while the hardcore enthusiasts just want good solid reliable performance. To find out which one gives that last little bit of clock speed, or has the right options in the BIOS, means you have to test the motherboards out one at a time. Quite an arduous task when you get down to it, but it's the only way. To test out Gigabyte's top O' the line GA-P55-UD6, I will be running it through the OverclockersClub suite of benchmarks, to see if it distinguishes itself from the comparison boards. The only deviations from the default BIOS settings will be that the energy saving features as well as Turbo technology are disabled so that the motherboard can be tested with a measure of repeatability. The video card control panel settings are left at factory defaults except where noted. Since each motherboard company has its own design philosophy it will be interesting to see which of the designs wins out.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Motherboards:

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

  • Processor: Intel Core i7 870 201x21 4221MHz

As motherboard makers continue to include software tools to help the novice overclock, the more options you have when it comes time to commit to getting more performance. The software utilities offered by Gigabyte work well to get you a safe, stable overclock that you can use for a quick boost in performance when gaming - if your video card is not a bottleneck. By using the Smart Boost, part of the Smart 6 application, I chose the Twin Turbo setting to see just how high the overclocking could go and was rewarded with a 3.840GHz overclocked speed, a 900Mhz jump up from the stock 2.93GHz clock speed of the i7 870. Not too shabby! Now that's all well and good for the novice, but what can it do when you set the clock speeds and memory timings manually? This chip has been good for stable overclocks of between 4.2 and 4.3GHz on other motherboards with a 4.4+ GHz benchmark stable speed. But benchmark stability is not what I call stable, so I go as high as I can get stable enough to run Folding @ Home 24/7/365. This usually involves some Prime 95 testing to validate the overclock. I started by upping the bclock up until I would reach the wall where the system would not boot. I then would bump up the CPU core voltage and repeat until I reach a point where voltage did not easily solve my stability problems. Then, I tweak the the multiplier to see if this is holding me from moving any higher on the bclock speed. If the raw CPU speed is too high, I just drop the clock multiplier to lower the speed and then start increasing the bclock again. I could get to a 212MHz bclock but had to drop it down to 201MHz, to get the highest stable clock speed from the CPU. 4200+MHz is about where this chip start to get picky, so this is where I left the CPU speed. The one thing I found, when testing different memory modules in the UD6, was that a set of double sided modules did not want to clock past 800MHz(1600). 801Mhz and the modules would fail memtest every time. I put these modules back into my video card test rig and they fly up to almost 1000MHz with no problem, much like the single sided set of modules I reinstalled. This is something to think about, and a newer BIOS will most surely address this problem.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  • Scientific & Data:
  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Office 2007 Excel Number Crunch
  4. POV Ray 3.7
  5. PCMark Vantage Professional
  6. Sandra XII
  7. ScienceMark 2.02
  8. Cinebench 10
  9. 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. Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War II
  7. Left 4 Dead
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional
  9. 3DMark Vantage



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