X58 Showdown: ASUS Rampage II vs. MSI Eclipse

Article Index

Test Setup and SANDRA Results

How we configured our test systems:  When configuring our test systems for this article, we first entered their respective system BIOSes and set each board to its "Optimized" or "High performance Defaults". We then saved the settings, re-entered the BIOS and set the memory for DDR2-1066 with 5-5-5-18 timings (AMD Phenom), DDR3-1333 with 7-7-7-20 timings (Intel Core 2) or DDR3-1066 with 7-7-7-20 timings (Intel Core i7). The hard drive was then formatted, and Windows Vista Ultimate was installed. When the Windows installation was complete, we updated the OS, and installed the drivers necessary for our components. Auto-Updating and Windows Defender were then disabled and we installed all of our benchmarking software, defragged the hard drives, and ran all of the tests.

 HotHardware's Test Systems
 Intel and AMD - Head To Head 
Test Set 1:

Intel Core i7 920
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core) 

Asus Rampage II Extreme
MSI Eclipse

(X58 Express Chipset)

3x1GB Qimonda DDR3-1066
CL 7-7-7-20 - DDR3-1066

GeForce 8800 GTS 512
GeForce 9800 GTX+ / SLI 

Onboard Ethernet
Onboard Audio

Seagate Barracuda 7200.10
7,200 RPM SATA

Windows Vista Ultimate SP1 
Intel INF Update v9.1.0.1007
NVIDIA Forceware v175.19 (8800 GTS)
NVIDIA Forceware v180.48 (9800 GTX+)
DirectX Redist (August 2008)
Test Set 2:

Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9770

(3.2GHz - Quad-Core)
Intel Core 2 Quad Q9400
(2.66GHz - Quad-Core)

Asus P5E3 Premium
(X48 Express Chipset)

4x1GB Corsair DDR3-1800
CL 7-7-7-20 - DDR3-1333

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows Vista Ultimate
NVIDIA Forceware v180.43
DirectX Redist (August 2008)

Test Set 3:

AMD Phenom X4 9950

(2.6GHz Quad-Core)

Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DQ6
(AMD 790FX Chipset)

2x2GB Corsair PC2-8500
CL 5-5-5-15 - DDR2-1066

GeForce GTX 280
On-Board Ethernet
On-board Audio

WD150 "Raptor" HD
10,000 RPM SATA

Windows Vista Ultimate
NVIDIA Forceware v180.43
DirectX Redist (August 2008)

SiSoftware SANDRA 2009 SP1
Synthetic Benchmarks

We started off our testing with SiSoftware's SANDRA 2009, the System ANalyzer, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant. We ran three of the built-in subsystem tests that partially comprise the SANDRA 2009 suite on the test motherboards (CPU Arithmetic, CPU Multi-Media, and Memory).

As reported by SANDRA, both of the X58 boards used in this review were operating well within expected levels in respect to both CPU and memory performance.  MSI's Eclipse fared a bit better during the CPU tests, while the memory tests seemed to favor ASUS' Rampage II Extreme.  We then went back into the BIOS to disable Hyperthreading and re-ran the same tests to see the difference. Some tests, such as Multimedia Float, saw as high as a 60% increase with HT enabled, while CPU Drhystone ALU saw a more meager 13% gain.  As there's no penalty for having HT enabled in most circumstances, it surely makes sense to check that this is enabled when setting up your X58-based system.

In a similar vein of investigation, we removed one of the sticks of Qimonda DDR3 so that we were left with only two channels.  We ran a set of tests to see what effects this had on the memory bandwidth.  Not surprisingly, running with only two sticks drops the memory bandwidth by not quite 1/3 of what triple channel DDR3 offered. 

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