Determining overall performance levels for motherboards is a bit more difficult compared to processors or video cards. Hardware and software consistency must be maintained, benchmarks should have some impact on overall system throughput, and the operating system and common driver revisions need to be kept standard. Our main hardware selection remains consistent, while switching only the motherboard component. Since the Core 2 Duo/Extreme is still relatively new, we can only offer Intel D975XBX (i975X) comparison scores, but this should give us a good idea where the Gigabyte GA-965P-DS3 falls in terms of system, memory and gaming performance.
The 2.66 GHz Core 2 Duo E6700 is the default processor, while other components include 2 x 512-MB of DDR2 (various speeds), a GeForce 7900 GT 256MB PCI Express video card, and a Maxtor MaxLine III 250GB hard drive. Windows XP Pro SP2 is the operating system, with Intel INF Update 188.8.131.521 and NVIDIA ForceWare 91.47 video drivers. The System BIOS is also an important area, and for all benchmarks, the settings have been standardized to a degree. All motherboards have been tested using the highest memory timings allowed by the DDR2, along with other performance settings equalized at the high-end.
The benchmark list includes a range of system, memory, and gaming tests. These include PCMark05, SiSoft SANDRA 2007, Everest Ultimate 2006, ScienceMark 2, F.E.A.R., DOOM 3, FarCry, and Unreal Tournament 2004. To spice things up a bit, we've provided platform benchmark scores using, where available, DDR2-1066, DDR2-800 and DDR2-667 memory speeds. Our default game benchmark setting is 1024x768x32, which is demanding enough for comparisons and more realistic as an actual gameplay resolution, but still allows the motherboard-CPU-memory subsystem to take control in somewhat low-resolution testing.
* Please note that unless otherwise stated, all performance graph results equate to the standard "higher is better" routine.