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Review: Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P motherboard

by Tarinder Sandhu on 12 August 2011, 08:49 4.0

Tags: Gigabyte (TPE:2376)

Quick Link: HEXUS.net/qa6u4

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How we test

Comparison systems

Motherboard Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P ASUS P8Z68-V PRO ASUS P8P67 PRO Gigabyte P67A-UD3 ASUS P8P67 Deluxe ASUS Crosshair IV Extreme
Motherboard BIOS F4 8801 1401 F5 1053 1102
Processor Intel Core i5 2500K (ES) AMD Phenom II X6 1055T
Chipset driver Intel Inf 9.2.0.1019 and RST 10.1 (10.5 for Z68) Catalyst 10.12 chipset driver
Memory Corsair 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR3
Memory timings 9-9-9-24-1T @ 1,600MHz
Graphics AMD Radeon HD 6950 2GB
Graphics driver Catalyst 10.12
Disk drive Corsair V128 SSD
Optical drive Sony AD-7263S
Chassis Corsair Obsidian Series 700D
Power supply Corsair HX1000W
Operating system Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit

CPU and memory benchmarks

AIDA64 v1.50.1200 The successor to Everest - useful for measuring memory bandwidth and latency
HEXUS.PiFast
Our number-crunching benchmark stresses a single core by calculating Pi to 10m places
wPrime 2.0.4 Another number-crunching benchmark that stresses all available CPU cores/threads
CINEBENCH 11.5 Using Cinebench's multi-CPU render, this cross-platform benchmark stresses all cores
7zip 9.20 We use the built-in benchmark in this open-source file-compression utility
TrueCrypt 7.0a An encryption/decryption benchmark that's partial to AES acceleration

GPU benchmarks

StarCraft II DX9, 1,680x1,050 medium quality.
Call of Duty: Black Ops DX9, 1,680x1,050, 4xAA, high quality
3DMark Vantage b1.2 Run at the default performance preset

General benchmarks

Storage performance USB 2.0/3.0 read speed, SSD average read speed
Power consumption While idling and when running wPrime

Testing notes

Keeping parity with the other setups, a Radeon HD 6950 2GB card is the sole display for this round of benchmarking; the IGP's switched off in the BIOS. We'll discuss its performance separately.

Eagle-eyed readers may have noticed that the Turbo Boost frequencies shown in the BIOS shot on the previous page do not tally up with Intel's. The board would run a single multiplier across all cores, rather than the stepped pattern mandated by the CPU's spec. sheet. We changed the chip out to a full-retail Core i5 2500 with no success. Flashing the BIOS down from F4d to F4 didn't help.

However, contacting Gigabyte we learned that a single multiplier across all cores is actually a feature when running with DDR3-1,600 memory. The default multiplier is 37x, and the 2500K chip will, under load, run at this speed all the time.

As such, to keep parity with older boards - ASUS has since implemented the same-multiplier feature - the Gigabyte board has been tested with the multiplier maximised to 34x (all-core load). This means that light-load performance will suffer a touch - as the multiplier is limited. We could have chosen a multiplier of 37x for all cores, of course, but that would have been unfair on boards tested a few months' ago and included in this comparison.