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Crossfire Performance Intel X48 vs P45 vs X38 vs P35
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Old 16th July 2008, 09:43   #1
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Icon17 Crossfire Performance Intel X48 vs P45 vs X38 vs P35

Finally some other numbers to see if the findings by TweakTown can be relied upon. TweakTown compared the Intel P45 and X48 with different games and two HD4850 video cards. Their findings were surprising to say the least. Take a look at these numbers in Crysis:

Going from a P45 to X48 based motherboard performance goes up 50% at 1280x1024 and 37% at 1920x1200, the 2560x1600 numbers are worthless due to the unplayable result.

Granted that Crysis at very high will push every system to its knees; TweakTown also tested with Unreal Tournament 3:

Here we see a different outcome, at 1280x1024 the P45 is actually faster, at 1920x1200 there is hardly any difference but at 2560x1600 the X48 has a 63% lead.. these numbers are all over the place.

This brings us to the coverage from LegionHardware. They compared the following chipsets and PCIe configurations:

- ASUS Blitz Extreme - Intel P35 (PCIe 1.0 8x - PCIe 1.0 8x)
- ASUS Maximus Extreme Intel X38 (PCIe 2.0 16x - PCIe 2.0 16x)
- Gigabyte EP45-DS4 - Intel P45 (PCIe 2.0 8x - PCIe 2.0 8x)
- ASUS P5E3 Premium - Intel X48 (PCIe 2.0 16x - PCIe 2.0 16x

All the most popular chipsets from the past year, plus they configured the P35 and P45 differently for an extra test:

- ASUS P5K3 Deluxe - Intel P35 (PCIe 1.0 16x - PCIe 1.0 4x)
- Gigabyte EP45-DS4 - Intel P45 (PCIe 2.0 16x - PCIe 2.0 4x)

They also used 2xHD4850 for their performance tests. Let's see what their Unreal Tournament 3 numbers look like:

Going from P45 to X48 we see a noticeable increase at 1440x900, but at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 there is hardly any difference. If we add the older chipsets in the mix, the P35 and X38 hardly fall behind, only a few FPS separate them, and at 100+ average FPS the difference will definitely not be noticeable.

Their Crysis results also differ quite a bit, but they are using High Quality, not Very High Quality. Where as TT numbers produced unplayable FPS at anything over 1280x1024, the LH results provide solid gameplay at above 30FPS all over the chart, even with a single HD4850 video card! The differences between chipsets is nihil at higher resolutions as the video card becomes the bottleneck, not the mainboard.

Going over the remainder of their game benchmarks, none really exhibit the same extra differences found by TweakTown. Granted, at 2560x1600 resolution, but the two common games tested , UT3 & Crysis, doesn't perform anywhere near the levels found by TT. Which one of these sites has got it right? Seeing as how motherboard chipsets account only for a small slice of the performance pie, the LegionHardware numbers seem much more realistic.

Here's what LH has to say:
When testing with games such as Crysis, we quickly discovered that the X48 chipset was able to deliver 10% more performance when compared to the X38, while it was slightly faster than the P45. While this was impressive, Crossfire is not all that well suited to Crysis, so we continued on and hit Devil May Cry 4, which works a treat.

Now when testing with the new hit title Devil May Cry 4 we found that a typical P45 setup is going to be 36% faster than a P35 system at 1920x1200 when running Crossfire Radeon HD 4850 graphics cards for example. The X48 was also roughly 6% faster than the P45 chipset, and I would suggest that this is a best case scenario for the high-end X48 chipset. That said, this did make the X48 around 15% faster than the older X38 chipset.

For the most part the X48 is just 5% faster than the cheaper P45 chipset, while this chipset held roughly the same margin over the older X38 chipset. Therefore as we see it, X38 owners really would need to purchase an X48 motherboard to see any real performance gains, while the P45 is a massive step up from the P35 chipset when talking Crossfire performance.
You can read up on their findings in their full articles here:
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Last edited by jmke : 23rd July 2008 at 20:31.
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