by Rob Williams on June 11, 2007 in Intel Motherboards
eVGA has released numerous motherboards in the past two years, but we are going to take a look at their most recent top offering, the nForce 680i SLI. Coming from a company who knows how to cater to enthusiasts, will the board leave us impressed like their graphics cards do?
Throughout all of our benchmarks regardless of what we are reviewing, testing is done in a clean and stand-alone version of Windows XP Professional with SP2. No Windows Updates are applied for the sake of efficiency, unless one is required for a piece of hardware on the computer. Prior to testing, these conditions are met:
- Desktop and scrap files are cleaned up, including emptying of recycle bin.
- No virus scanner or firewall is installed in the stand-alone installation.
- The stand-alone installation drive is completely defragged using Diskeeper 2007 Professional.
- All unnecessary programs are closed, so that Windows should have no more than 15 active processes running.
- Computer has proper airflow.
The testing rig used for todays benchmarking is as follows:
For comparison purposes, we have pitted the eVGA 680i against the ASUS P5K and P5K3 boards, both which use P35 chipsets and also the Intel XBX2, which uses the 975X chipset. The P5K3 is a DDR3 board, so it’s important to note that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see it dominate in the charts, thanks to it’s faster memory speed. We have included it because it’s still a relevant comparison. The memory speeds used are as follows:
- DDR2 memory is run at DDR2-800 speeds with 4-4-4-12-2T timings at 1.9v
- DDR3 memory is run at DDR3-1066 speeds with 6-6-6-15-2T timings at 1.6v
2T was used for the DDR2 settings because of the Intel XBX2’s inability to use 1T.
SYSmark 2007 Preview
SYSmark is an industry leading system benchmarking tool, which is completely automated but utilizes real-world tests. It installs common applications such as Microsoft Word and Excel, Photoshop CS2, 3DS Max, SketchUp! among others.
SYSmark grades the performance of the system with various methods, but most notably how well it could handle different operations. Systems with more than one core will benefit in the tests, since there is a lot of multi-tasking throughout. Once the test is completed, it will provide you with an overall score, in addition to showing areas where the computer excelled.
Something about the XBX2 made it a strong performer here. Both the eVGA 680i and ASUS P5K matched up equally here.
The individual test results can give us a deeper look at where each board failed, or performed well. Regarding 3D tests, all of the motherboards performed quite well to one another. When performing personal renders with 3DS Max, I found that this was always the case.
Both the XBX2 and P5K3 excelled here, with the eVGA 680i again pairing up with the P5K, although falling slightly behind overall.