With the exception of SiSoft Sandra, all of our benchmarks have been engineered to give you numbers that you are likely to find useful when actually using the products we have evaluated in the real world.
We are also focusing a lot more of our time on evaluating the stability of the motherboards (and platforms) using a stress test designed to highlight any of the potential weaknesses that the product may have. That involves a gradually increasing amount of stress starting with Prime95 and expanding to IOMeter and an endless loop of Far Cry loop if all is well. This is to ensure that all parts of the system are stressed simultaneously over a period of time.
We believe that the consumer is never likely to subject their platform to this level of stress and we are not expecting every product to complete an entire extended stress test. However, most poorly engineered products fail within the first couple of hours, or even minutes, allowing us to make a conscious decision on whether a motherboard (or platform) is worth your money, regardless of how well it performs in our benchmarks.
- Shuttle SS21T (AMD Athlon 64 FX62, 4-4-4-12 DDR2 800MHz);
- AOpen XC Cube EU965 (Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800, 3-3-3-9 DDR2 800MHz);
- Shuttle SD37P2 (Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800, 3-3-3-9 DDR2 800MHz);
- Gigabyte GA-965P-DQ6 (Intel Core 2 Extreme X6800, 3-3-3-9 DDR2 800MHz);
- Asus Crosshair (AMD Athlon 64 FX62, 3-3-3-9 DDR2 800MHz);
The AOpen XC Cube EU965 is also an integrated graphics/PCI-Express limited device suited for SOHO or general home and multimedia use, however, it's also nearly three times as expensive. In the same way, the Shuttle SD37P2 represents the other end of the Shuttle range, offering more advanced hardware and a dedicated PCI-Express 6-pin connector. It is also sold for around the same price as the Aopen, at three times more expensive than the SS21T.
The question being, does that three times more expense offer three times more performance? Obviously there are other factors in the design of the units but ultimately will there be that much difference?