|Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME Core i7 Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles|
|Saturday, 13 December 2008|
Page 10 of 18
Testing motherboards is one of the most difficult tasks I've had as a product analyst. There are several different methods to compare one product to another, but even when you try to measure one against another the features don't always stack up. Benchmark Reviews hasn't been around long enough to have a wide variety of same or past-generation chipset motherboards on hand to test against, which shifts the role of our testing away from who makes the best whatever-chipset motherboard to more of a comparison between this product and another previously-released chipset versions for the same processor and memory. But this is where our problems begin; the X58 chipset is brand new, and there aren't many products we can compare apples-to-apples against a fresh new platform.
The Gigabyte GA-EX58-EXTREME motherboard features two of Intel's latest chipset technologies: the ICH10(R) Southbridge and X58 Express Northbridge. While testing could have easily be left to a simple "this vs. that" routine, we here at Benchmark Reviews think that this is less than educating. For our tests, each motherboard was overclocked as far as safe limits would allow utilizing the exact same supplemental components. Benchmarks are recorded after each test, and a system shut down and restart followed thereafter. Because the QPI opens PCI-Express 2.0 bandwidth to 32GBps, we also spent considerable time testing the "real-world" difference between the motherboards with the exact same video card and drivers.
At the start of all tests, the previous display adapter driver is uninstalled and trace components are removed using Driver Cleaner Pro. We then restart the computer system to establish our display settings and define the monitor. Once the hardware is prepared, we begin our testing. The synthetic benchmark tests in 3DMark06 will utilize shader models 2.0 and 3.0. In our higher-end VGA products we conduct tests at the following resolutions: 1280x1024 (19" Standard LCD), 1680x1050 (22-24" Widescreen LCD), and 1920x1200 (24-28" Widescreen LCD). In some tests we utilized widescreen monitor resolutions, since more users are beginning to feature these products for their own computing.
Each benchmark test program begins after a system restart, and the very first result for every test will be ignored since it often only caches the test. This process proved extremely important in the World in Conflict and Supreme Commander benchmarks, as the first run served to cache maps allowing subsequent tests to perform much better than the first. Each test is completed five times, with the average results displayed in our article.
Our site polls and statistics indicate that the over 90% of our visitors use their PC for playing video games, and practically every one of you are using a screen resolutions mentioned above. Since all of the benchmarks we use for testing represent different game engine technology and graphic rendering processes, I feel that this battery of tests will provide a diverse range of results for you to gauge performance on your own computer system. Since most gamers and enthusiasts are still using Windows XP, it was decided that DirectX 9 would be used for all tests.
Test System #1
Test System #2
Test System #3