I’m not sure how I can write a conclusion about all these changes after only having all this hardware up and running for less then 72 hours. But I’ll give it a shot! We have a lot of new technologies being used on the new platforms, but overall performance is not reflective of all these changes. Actually it seems that the new Intel 560 processor (3.6GHz Prescott) picks up where the 3.4C Prescott left off on the Canterwood (i875P) platforms. While some people might consider a small increase in performance a dissapointment you are jumping to conclusions too quick. The Canterwood chipset was using technology that was at the end of its lifespan. By this I mean DDR1 memory was reaching the frequency limits of current IC’s and the AGP technology was about as good as it could get. Now we have new technology that is starting from scratch! I’ve seen the projected life of DDR2 and 16xPCI-Express and if all goes as planned this technology will eventually become impressive. I guess we should thank Intel for paving the way with new technology and actually getting it to all work together. It’s one thing to look at each idea on paper, but another ball game to put it all together and to work the bugs out.
Although I didn’t mention much about memory and video cards everything we tested ran fine. We used both the ATI RV380 and the Nvidia NV45 PCIe video cards which both ran flawlessly on our test systems. We also were able to get some pretty impressive memory scores and performance on our retail ABIT AA8-MAX Alderwood motherboard. By this I mean DDR667 performance right now. Expect us to write follow-up articles on memory, video and overclocking performance in the upcoming days.
One thing that I have been hearing all the time is how fragile the socket is that Intel used on these motherboards. During our testing I only swapped out our processor a handful of times and during which didn’t have any issues. We have heard motherboard manufacturers say that after anywhere from 5-20 removals the socket begins to show signs of wear. Trust me when I say that if this is the case I will reach that upper number very soon and will report our findings back to you. As of right now we haven’t had any problems with the socket design and so far actually love the way many heatsinks mount on it.
Everytime we write an article for the initial launch of a product I get all the "can I buy this" questions. The answer is kinda sorta. Our sources at various retailers say they have some of the processors and boards in stock, but their stock of PCI Express video cards is limited. DDR2 is not a problem as we have seen Corsair’s DDR2 at Fry’s for almost three months now! Also after benchmarking the Intel 560 and the AMD Athlon 64 3800+ head to head in this review I feel the results speak for themselves. If the results aren’t enough for you add the pricing for each system and see which comes in lower.
As for the future expect all the chipset technology to stay the same, but only get better! We were on the phone with AMD and Intel for a couple hours yesterday talking about what’s next (Oh yes… they are in full swing on the next processors!) and the race for multicore processors in 2005 are well underway. AMD has already sent their design to tape and Intel would not comment on how far along they are. If you were expecting to see a huge jump in performance with LGA775 systems maybe in 2005 with multi-core technology for CPU’s you will finally see want you wanted to see today.
Intel has brought a ton of new technology to the table and so far it starts where the previous technology left off. How far will this new technology will go and the performance benefits from it have yet to be fully understood!