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  • (26 June 2007, 07:28)
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During my stint as a researcher at university, the systems under our desks that we used for simulation and writing up reports were all oriented to stability and performance. This meant dual Xeons, large amounts of ECC memory and a motherboard to match. While I had no use for additional connectors beyond USB ports, these sorts of products have to be able to use SAS and RAID in storage, enough network management and be validated for multiple usage scenarios. GIGABYTE is pushing the GA-6PSXV3 as a cheaper variant of the GA-6PSXV2 with different connectors but the focus is on virtualization with a workstation. This points to our dual Intel 82574L NICs, 6 SATA ports, Mini-SAS (for four SATA 3 Gbps ports), support for SLI/Crossfire, a TPM header, a serial port and an ASpeed AST2300 2D management controller which we have seen on GIGABYTE Server motherboards in the past.

One of the motherboard features that GIGABYTE likes to promote is its support for 1866 MHz with a full set of 8 DIMMs on E5 26xx v2 CPUs. As we have noted in our consumer product line memory scaling articles (such as this one on Ivy Bridge), moving beyond 1600 MHz helps get out of a potential performance black hole. Unfortunately we are still bounded by JEDEC specifications at 1866 (so CAS 12/13), but our previous testing points to frequency being more important if the value MHz/CAS is around the same.
For readers who are more used to X79 consumer line products, this C604 based GA-6PXSV3 motherboard might look a bit empty (only two PCIe 3.0 x16 slots), but ultimately the workstation/server side of this platform is on maintenance and longevity. Surprisingly for a socket 2011 motherboard we get two USB 3.0 headers on board and no USB 3.0 on the back panel.

There was one flaw in testing I came across that GIGABYTE has not been able to reproduce. With the gaming benchmarks when using dual GPUs, the Sleeping Dogs benchmarks failed to complete, resetting the system after a couple of seconds of running. For two weeks we went back and forth, however GIGABYTE could not recreate the issue. The error was similar to that of a memory failure on the GPU, and this happened using several GPUs on this motherboard. These GPUs were fine on the same PSU and a different motherboard. This suggests that my motherboard at least had problems supplying power to the PCIe slots when two power hungry devices are present.

For performance we tested the GA-6PXSV3 with two E5 26xx v2 Xeons and a Core i7-4960X. The results of the Xeons were published in a review of those Xeons, and the i7-4960X results will be the focus of this review for comparison against other socket 2011 products. On the whole, we expect consumer products to perform slightly better in our benchmarks than the server parts for two main reasons. On server parts we usually are limited in DRAM speed which decreases performance (unable to set values or no direct XMP support), but also consumer products tend to be more aggressive on CPU Turbo Boost responsiveness whereas server motherboards are more lax. The GIGABYTE GA-6PSXV3 is no different in this regard – the X79 product in our comparison does have a noticeable quantitative advantage in our benchmark tests, but it does not have external management, SAS support, dual Intel NICs or RDIMM ECC support. That is ultimately what you are paying for at the end of the day.

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