955X-based mobo shoot-out

We test the top LGA755 motherboards

WAV encoding

Raytracing

USB performance

SATA performance

What can be said for one well-tuned i955X motherboard's performance can be said for them all, evidently.

Doom 3

What's clear is that an AMD Athlon 64 4000+ is faster than an Intel Pentium 660 in the gaming benchmarks. The i955X chipset, thanks to a tweaked memory controller, is just a touch faster than an i945G and around the same speed as well-tuned nForce4 SLI I.E. However, the latter sports the all-important SLI technology that gamers just love.

Default performance, as expected, between the three boards, hasn't been a decisive factor when considered from an enthusiast's point of view. All three boards could literally be substituted for one another in a test system and you wouldn't be able to discern the visual performance difference. Overclocking, though, may shed some light on which board is best.

The usual caveats apply when discussing overclocking. Each sample is different, so the results obtained here may or may not be indicative of AW8-MAXs, Royals or D955XBKs as a whole. Overclocking tests were carried out by using a semi-unlocked Pentium 4 670 (3.8GHz, 200MHz FSB). Its native 19x multiplier was dropped to 14x, system memory was dropped to run synchronously (1:1), and both CPU and chipset voltage was raised a touch. We already know that each board is ratified to run with 266MHz FSB CPUs, so just how high would they go?

Intel's D955XBK was ommited from the results due to a lack of fine-tuning within the BIOS. What's pleasing is that both ABIT and Gigabyte boards managed to hit 300MHz FSBs with basic air cooling. It seems as if ABIT's Silent OTES and Gigabyte's U-PLUS DPS systems work well. We're adamant that retail examples will manage similar FSBs.

Next page: Verdict