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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey   
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS P9X79 Pro Motherboard
The Intel X79 Express Chipset
Closer Look: ASUS P9X79 Pro
ASUS P9X79 Pro Details
ASUS UEFI BIOS
ASUS P9X79 Pro Specifications
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
PCMark Vantage Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
CPU-Dependent 3D Gaming
PassMark PerformanceTest
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
SPECapc Lightwave
Blender and POV-Ray
ASUS P9X79 Pro Conclusion

Motherboard Testing Methodology

It's always interesting for us here at Benchmark Reviews to test a new processor/chipset combination, because normally we have no idea what to expect! The marketing and advertising press materials Intel included with this processor promise unprecedented levels of performance...can these new parts really deliver?

I admit my hopes are high: the original Sandy Bridge processors raised the performance bar considerably, and their new 32nm fabrication process allowed amazing overclocks with relatively low voltages and heat production. The enthusiast chip adds two more cores, nearly double the cache, and drops the relatively unused integrated GPU. ASUS includes its usual "dozen ways to overclock" with the P9X79 Pro, include manual, "level up", and "automatic" overclocking from within the BIOS, and automatic and manual overclocking from within Windows using TurboV EVO, part of ASUS' AI Suite utility.

The Sandy Bridge Extreme processors add new overclocking mechanisms, like designating limits on sustained and burst-mode current draw, as well as returning old ones such as BCLK adjustments. I imagine the next few months will be busy ones for the enthusiast community as they explore the new features and capabilities of these CPUs. Unfortunately, we're limited for this review by both time and the unavailability of any high-end LGA2011 CPU coolers, so our overclocking results should be regarded as preliminary. That said, I easily achieved a solid 4.6GHz running on all cores under sustained load with only a few adjustments.

To see how this processor/chipset performs against the best AMD offers and Intel's previous top-of-the-line setups, I included the systems listed below. Each test system used the same hard drive, memory (with the exception of the AMD system), and graphics card. Note that there are two X79 Express systems: a prototype Intel DX79SI motherboard as well as the ASUS P9X79 Pro. Note that when I speak of how the 3960X performed compared to the other CPUs in the test, I'm speaking of the stock-clocked results on the ASUS P9X79 unless I specify otherwise.

Intel X58 Test Platform

  • Motherboard: ASUS Rampage Extreme III with BIOS 0901
  • Processor: 3.33GHz (3.6GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-980X
  • System Memory: 3x4GB Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

Intel P67 Test Platform

  • Motherboard: ASUS P8P67 with BIOS 1305
  • Processor: 3.4GHz (3.8GHz Turbo) Intel Core i7-2600K
  • System Memory: 2x4GB Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

AMD 990FX Test Platform

  • Motherboard: ASUS Crosshair V Formula with BIOS 0083
  • Processor: 3.6GHz (3.9-4.2GHz Turbo) AMD FX-8150 "Bulldozer"
  • System Memory: G. Skill F3-17066CL7D-4GBPIS DDR3-1866 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850

Intel X79 Express Test Platforms

  • Motherboards: ASUS P9X79 BIOS 0707 and Intel DX79SI BIOS SI0280B (beta BIOS)
  • Processor: 3.3GHz Intel Core i7-3960X
  • System Memory: 16GB (4 4GB DIMMs) Corsair Vengeance CMZ16GX3M4A1600C9 DDR3-1600 (9-9-9-24)
  • Primary Drive: Western Digital VelociRaptor 300G
  • Graphics Adapter: AMD Radeon 6850
  • CPU cooler: Intel High Performance Liquid Cooling System RTS2011LC

Benchmark Applications

  • Operating System: Windows 7 Home Premium 64-Bit
  • SiSoft Sandra Lite 2011.SPS (1780)
  • AIDA64 Extreme Edition v1.85.1600
  • Futuremark PCMark Vantage v1.0.2.0 64-Bit
    • TV and Movies
    • Gaming
    • Music
  • Maxon CINEBENCH R11.5 64-Bit
  • Street Fighter IV benchmark
  • PassMark PerformanceTest 7.0b1021
  • x264Bench HD 3.0, including AMD-supplied variants using new FX instructions
  • SPECviewperf-11:
    • Lightwave 9.6
    • Autodesk Maya 2009
    • Siemens Teamcenter Visualization Mockup
  • SPECapc LightWave 3D v9.6
  • Handbrake 0.95 video transcoding
  • Blender 3D rendering
  • POV-Ray 3D rendering



 

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