Our X58 motherboard coverage continues with a look at Gigabyte’s EX58-UD5, an offering that’s competing with all the other $300 launch boards out there. Though still expensive, there’s a lot being offered here, including a plethora of USB and S-ATA ports, solid design, support for 3-way GPU configurations and a nice top overclock.
Synthetic benchmarks have typically been favored for performance testing, but the results they provide can be fairly abstract, and the methods they use to assign their scores can be dubious at times. By contrast, real-world application benchmarks provide performance metrics that apply directly to real-world usage, and we endeavor to apply both in our performance comparisons.
SYSmark 2007 Preview from BAPCo is a special case, because its synthetic scores are derived from tests in real-world applications. However, we still believe that synthetic benchmarking scores are best used to directly compare the performance of one piece of hardware to another, and not for developing an impression of real-world performance expectations. SYSmark is more useful than most synthetic benchmarking programs in our opinion, because its tests emulate tasks that people actually perform, in actual software programs that they are likely to use.
The benchmark is hands-free, using scripts to execute all of the real-world scenarios identically, such as video editing in Sony Vegas and image manipulation in Adobe Photoshop. At the conclusion of the suite of tests, five scores are delivered: an E-learning score, a Video Creation score, a Productivity score, and a 3D Performance score, as well as an aggregated ‘Overall’ score. These scores can still be fairly abstract, and are most useful for direct comparisons between test systems.
A quick note on methodology: SYSmark 2007 requires a clean install of Windows Vista 32-bit to run optimally. Before any testing is conducted, the hard drive is first wiped clean, and then a fresh Windows installation is conducted, then lastly, the necessary hardware drivers are installed. The ‘Three Iterations’ test suite is run, with the ‘Conditioning Run’ setting enabled. Then the results from the three runs are averaged and rounded up or down to the next whole number.
One thing I should note before we begin analysing the data, is that for whatever reason, Gigabyte’s board seems to clock the CPU a bit higher than the others here. While the ASUS and Intel boards kept close to a stock 133MHz Base Clock, the EX58-UD5 hovered more around 134.9MHz. While that seems like a small difference, that essentially adds 45.6MHz to the total clock speed, which is significant. So, it should be a common theme to see the board score slightly higher in most tests, and the graphs here show proof in that theory.