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Written by Olin Coles   
Tuesday, 05 August 2008
Table of Contents: Page Index
Gigabyte GA-EP45T-EXTREME P45 Motherboard
Intel P45 Specifications
GA-EP45T-EXTREME Unique Features
Advanced Dynamic Energy Saver
GA-EP45T-EXTREME BIOS Part 1
GA-EP45T-EXTREME BIOS Part 2
Closer Look: GA-EP45T-EXTREME
GA-EP45T-EXTREME Details
Component Layout
Motherboard Testing Methodology
PCMark05 System Tests
PCMark Vantage System Tests
World in Conflict Results
Crysis Benchmark Comparison
Power Consumption Results
Intel P45 Express Final Thoughts
Gigabyte GA-EP45T-EXTREME Conclusion

PCMark05 System Tests

Using synthetic benchmarks to compare one product to another has some distinct advantages when testing similar hardware, yet I have never found myself completely satisfied by the process. I have come to understand that they're important for comparing "apples to apples", and that the results are usually very consistent. But as with any synthetic benchmark, the numbers can often mean very little more than just numbers. We don't take a high score on a synthetic benchmark to mean that a product will/should perform well, and neither should you. The difference between projected performance and actual performance is the difference between fire and the fire-fly.

PCMark is a series of computer benchmark tools developed by Futuremark. The tools are designed to test the performance of the user's CPU, read/write speeds of RAM and hard drives. We have used these tests to simulate a battery of applications and tasks, which will produce results we can compare to other systems using similar hardware.

After a series of five looped tests, the average of the results were charted below. Keep in mind that the EP45T-EXTREME as well as the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 and ASUS Striker II NSE all shared the same hardware (specified in the Test Methodology section) and operated at the same exact CPU and RAM speed. The idea here was to isolate the motherboard to determine if one product performed better than the other.

I am curious what differences, if any, there might be between the P45, X48, and 790i chipsets. I know that Intel's ICH9 (and ICH9R) South Bridge has some issues with SSD's, which forced us to use the JMicron JMB363 SATA-II controller on the X48 motherboard whenever we did testing. But has ICH10 (and ICH10R) brought forth any substantial improvements?

PCMark05_System_Test.png

So after one very long series of benchmark testing with PCMark05, the results were a lot less divided than I had hoped. All of the motherboard products tested produced nearly identical results, with less than half of one percent separating them. The ASUS Striker II NSE nForce 790i motherboard pushed ahead of the Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6 by whopping 0.17%, and held a substantial 0.01% lead (this is sarcasm people) over the Gigabyte GA-EP45T-EXTREME.

The chipsets are all different, but the system memory and processors are all identical. So what does this mean? It means that there's no difference in performance between motherboards when the same hardware is used with the same settings. Obviously each has its own strength (overclocking, SLI, CrossFireX), but I hope the testing doesn't go on this way or I will feel like days of testing was all for nothing.



 

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