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Our testing methods
Today we'll be looking at the P35's performance from three angles. The first is with DDR2 memory on the P5K Deluxe. For that system, we've elected to use memory running at 800MHz with reasonably aggressive 4-4-4-12 timings. To explore the P35's performance with DDR3 memory, we've tested the P5K Deluxe with a pair of DDR3-1066 sticks running at their default 7-7-7-21 timings. Corsair also hooked us with a pair of DDR3-1333 modules designed to run at 9-9-9-24 timings, which we naturally wanted to test, as well. However, the P5K3 Deluxe has a relatively limited number of memory bus dividers, so the only way to get a 1333MHz memory bus is to crank the front-side bus up to the same speed.

Fortunately, the P5K3 Deluxe does offer control over the CPU multiplier. Running our E6700 processor with an 8X multiplier on a 1333MHz front-side bus gives us the same 2.67GHz clock speed as the default 10X multiplier on a 1066MHz FSB. Just keep in mind that the DDR3-1333 results in the following graphs are also running a faster system bus.

Since memory types and speeds shouldn't have much of an impact on peripheral performance, we've limited peripheral testing to our P5K3 Deluxe with DDR3-1066 memory.

Before we dive into our test results, we should also note that we encountered an apparent compatibility conflict between Western Digital Caviar RE2 hard drives and the ICH9R running in AHCI mode. Running the south bridge in AHCI mode is necessary to enable Native Command Queuing, but doing so with Caviar RE2 hard drives gave us all sorts of blue screen errors in Windows XP and even during the XP installation process. We've notified Intel of the issue, but haven't yet received a fix. Western Digital's Raptor X and WD1500ADFD hard drives had no problem with AHCI mode on the ICH9R.

All tests were run at least twice, and their results were averaged, using the following test systems.

Processor Core 2 Duo E6700 2.67GHz
System bus 1333MHz (333MHz quad-pumped) 1066MHz (266MHz quad-pumped)
Motherboard Asus P5K3 Deluxe Asus P5K3 Deluxe Asus P5K Deluxe Asus P5B Deluxe Wifi-AP Edition Asus P5W DH Deluxe EVGA 122-CK-NF68
Bios revision 0201 0201 0201 1101 2004 P24
North bridge Intel P35 Intel P35 Intel P35 Intel P965 Intel 975X Nvidia nForce 680i SLI SPP
South bridge Intel ICH9R Intel ICH9R Intel ICH9R Intel ICH8R Intel ICH7R Nvidia nForce 680i SLI MCP
Chipset drivers Chipset 8.3.0.1013
AHCI 7.5.0.1017
Chipset 8.3.0.1013
AHCI 7.5.0.1017
Chipset 8.3.0.1013
AHCI 7.5.0.1017
Chipset 8.2.0.1014
AHCI 7.0.0.1020
Chipset 8.2.0.1014
AHCI 7.0.0.1020
ForceWare 9.53
Memory size 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs) 2GB (2 DIMMs)
Memory type Corsair CM3X1024-1333C9DHX DDR3 SDRAM at 1333MHz Corsair CM3X1024-1066C7 DDR3 SDRAM at 1066MHz Corsair TWIN2X2048-8500C5 DDR2 SDRAM at 800MHz
CAS latency (CL) 9 7 4 4 4 4
RAS to CAS delay (tRCD) 9 7 4 4 4 4
RAS precharge (tRP) 9 7 4 4 4 4
Cycle time (tRAS) 24 21 12 12 12 12
Audio codec Integrated ICH9R/AD1988B with 5.10.1.6110 drivers Integrated ICH9R/AD1988B with 5.10.1.6110 drivers Integrated ICH9R/AD1988B with 5.10.1.6110 drivers Integrated nForce 570 SLI MCP/AD1986A with 5.10.1.4151 drivers Integrated nForce 590 SLI MCP/AD1988B with 5.10.1.4530 drivers Integrated nForce 680i SLI MCP/ALC885 with Realtek HD 1.66 drivers
Graphics GeForce 7900 GTX 512MB PCI-E with ForceWare 93.71 drivers
Hard drive Western Raptor X 150GB
OS Windows XP Professional
OS updates Service Pack 2

Thanks to Corsair for providing us with memory for our testing. 2GB of RAM seems to be the new standard for most folks, and Corsair hooked us up with some of its 1GB DIMMs for testing.

Also, all of our test systems were powered by OCZ GameXStream 700W power supply units. Thanks to OCZ for providing these units for our use in testing.

We used the following versions of our test applications:

The test systems' Windows desktop was set at 1280x1024 in 32-bit color at an 85Hz screen refresh rate. Vertical refresh sync (vsync) was disabled for all tests.

All the tests and methods we employed are publicly available and reproducible. If you have questions about our methods, hit our forums to talk with us about them.