|ASUS P9X79 Pro Motherboard|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards|
|Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey|
|Sunday, 20 November 2011|
Page 7 of 17
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
Intel P67 Test Platform
AMD 990FX Test Platform
Intel X79 Express Test Platforms