How we test
|Motherboard||Gigabyte Z68XP-UD3P||ASUS P8Z68-V PRO||ASUS P8P67 PRO||Gigabyte P67A-UD3||ASUS P8P67 Deluxe||ASUS Crosshair IV Extreme|
|Processor||Intel Core i5 2500K (ES)||AMD Phenom II X6 1055T|
|Chipset driver||Intel Inf 126.96.36.1999 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|
||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|
|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|
|Storage performance||USB 2.0/3.0 read speed, SSD average read speed|
|Power consumption||While idling and when running wPrime|
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.