Intel Core 2 Duo 'Conroe' E6700 & X6800 Benchmarks

The D975XBX Motherboard

The 'Bad Axe' D975XBX

One of the first Conroe compatible motherboards to hit the market was Intel's very own D975XBX motherboard. In an interesting turn from Intel's "no overclocking" rule, the board was actually aimed at enthusiasts and contained a whole plethora of overclocking options normally only found on boards manufactured by companies like Asus, Abit and DFI.

The initial reception from the overclocking crowd was a good one, with some highly respectable results being obtained without little to no modifications being made to the board.

Without further ado let's take a quick look at the board we are going to be using for todays comparison..

Intel D975XBX Intel D975XBX

First impressions of this board are good. The colour scheme is simplistic which is a nice change from the garish colours some boards sport. In addition to this, the ATX, EPS12v & PCI-E connectors are in good positions at the top of the board.

Intel D975XBX PWM Intel D975XBX PWM Sinks

From the images above we can see that the D975XBX has 5 phase power, which is pretty average for the latest generation of LGA775 boards. The caps are only slightly higher than the CPU socket which shouldn't cause any issues for most cooling solutions.

A welcome and rather 'snazzy' addition to the board is 5 blue aluminium heatsinks responsible for cooling the mosfets. It is worth noting that these are actually soldered to the motherboard and would prove quite difficult to remove. Users planning on water-cooling should also be aware that the popular Swiftech Apogee block will not fit this board without modification. At this point I am unsure if the Swiftech Storm block (which a shares similar layout to the Apogee) will fit.

Intel D975XBX NB Intel D975XBX SB

Both the NorthBridge and SouthBridge on the D975XBX are passively cooled by aluminium heatsinks, which is great news for those of us looking to get away from noisy NorthBridge fans. Under most circumstances the passive heatsinks provide ample cooling, however when overclocking or increasing the voltage on the NorthBridge the 975X chipset can produce a fair bit of heat. This would be better dissipated by the use of a single 40mm fan placed over the top of the NorthBridge heatsink, and may even help further overclocking potential.

Intel D975XBX SATA Intel D975XBX SATA

The D975XBX has a total of 8 SATA connectors onboard. In the left image we can see the 4 SATA ports provided by Intel's ICH7R SouthBridge controller. These ports are capable of SATAII (3.0Gb/s) speeds along with RAID 0, 1, 5 & 10.

The 4x blue SATA connectors pictured on the right are provided by Silicon Image's Sil 3114 controller and are only capable of first generation SATA (1.5Gb/s) speeds along with RAID 0, 1 & 0+1.

Intel D975XBX DDR2 Intel D975XBX Cards

The board's memory slots follow the colour scheme of the rest of the board and also assist in showing you which slots need to be populated to obtain dual channel mode. The D975XBX can take a total of 8gb of 240-pin DDR2 memory rated at speeds of up to DDR2-667. Obviously higher specification memory such as DDR2-1000 can also be used, but will only be necessary if you plan on overclocking.

Interestingly the board comes complete with 3 PCI-E (x16) slots. At present it is unclear exactly what the 3rd slot could be used for as no graphics card are capable of working as a 'threesome' at present. Many people have suggested that the slot could be used for a dedicated physics processor, but at this point in time the slot is essentially useless.

Intel D975XBX Connectors

Intel have decided to include a certain degree of legacy connectors on the back of the D975XBX. We can see from above that the user is provided with both Serial & Parallel ports along with the usual PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports.

Also included are 4x USB 2.0 ports, 1x IEE1394 port, 1x Gigabit Network port and Intel's own High Definition sound card with coaxial and digital outputs.

Intel D975XBX BIOS Intel D975XBX BIOS

The BIOS is somewhat bare in comparison to other overclocking orientated boards, with most overclocking options (including Vcore and Multipliers) being hidden from the user unless an Extreme Edition CPU is used. Thankfully there is a small jumper on the board that can be shorted using a conductive pen which allows full access to all of the overclocking options for any CPU.

Listed below are the available voltage selection options present in the BIOS:

DDR2 Voltage: 1.8v - 2.2v
Vcore Voltage: 1.275v - 1.600v
MCH Voltage: 1.525v - 1.725v
FSB Voltage: 1.271v - 1.395v

For processors running on lower vcore (such as the Conroe), most of these options should be sufficient. The only area that really lets the board down is the DDR2 voltage selection, which only goes up to 2.2v. This is the default voltage for some DDR2 modules and means that overclocking of some memory modules may not be possible.

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Most Recent Comments

22-08-2006, 13:06:24

Mmmmmm - conroe PWNS Quote

22-08-2006, 13:12:47

You guys are putting out reviews like mad. Awesome job, good read. Keep up the great work.Quote

22-08-2006, 13:39:03

soooooooooooo many reviews I love it!!!! awesome review guys!Quote

22-08-2006, 13:43:42

mmm those benchies make me happy in the pants lol. Nice work on the review Quote

22-08-2006, 13:47:00

Not to be a nit picker but I don't think the review is fair. If you used an Intel Pentium D 3GHz, it'd be more fair, but that's Dual Core vs Single Core..

Nice review though, overall.Quote

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