by Rob Williams on July 7, 2008 in Intel Motherboards
With so much X48 selection on the market, choosing the right board can be tough. To help make the choice easier, we are taking a look at three such boards all at once, ASUS’ DDR2 Rampage Formula and also the DDR3 ECS X48T-A and Intel’s DX48BT2.
At Techgage, we strive to make sure our results are as accurate as possible. Our testing is rigorous, and sometimes exhaustive, but we feel the effort is worth it. In an attempt to leave no question unanswered, this page contains not only our testbed specifications, but also a fully-detailed look at how we conduct our testing.
If there is a bit of information that we’ve omitted, or you wish to throw off recommendations or suggest changes, please feel free to shoot us an e-mail or post in our forums.
When preparing our testbeds for any type of performance testing, we follow these guidelines:
- The OS installation is left as basic as possible, with important updates applied.
- Required drivers from the motherboard CD-Rom are installed. Non-critical applications are omitted.
- We do not install a virus scanner, firewall or any other security application.
- Scrap files from previous testing are cleaned up; recycle bin / trash is emptied.
- Internet is disabled via software driver.
- Computer has proper airflow and room temperature of 80°F or less.
- Hard-drives affected by testing are defragged with Diskeeper 2008 prior to each fresh run.
No hardware during our performance reviews is changed during testing, except for the product-type being reviewed, of course. Our current configuration is as follows:
For our testing, we use Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit. We chose to stick to a 64-bit Windows because throughout the past year of usage, we find it to be much more stable than the 32-bit counterpart.
Windows Vista Ultimate 64-bit
- Windows is up to date via Windows Update (as of April 10, 2008).
- Before testing begins, the screensaver and all power-related options are disabled.
- Welcome Center and UAC is disabled.
- A recent NVIDIA driver for the 9-series is used (174.35).
Once we set up our OS’, nothing changes unless we revamp our entire methodology, which doesn’t happen too often.
In an attempt to deliver accurate results, games that we test with are played through manually, with the average FPS recorded with the help of FRAPS 2.9.4. In our personal tests, we have found that manually benchmarking games is the best way to deliver accurate results, since time demos rely heavily on the CPU.
In order to deliver the best results, each title we choose is explored to find the best possible level for our benchmarking. Once a level is chosen, we play through in order to find the best route, and then in future runs, we stick to that route as close as possible. We are not robots, so we cannot make sure that each run is identical, but they will never be far off from each other. As we see in our results, scaling is good, so we are confident that our methodology is a good one.
Because performance between motherboards shouldn’t vary by much to begin with, we choose to run a single game for our tests, along with Futuremark’s 3DMark Vantage.
Half Life 2: Episode Two
On the next page, we’ll kick off our results with SYSmark 2007 Preview.