This is an article I've wanted to do for a while now and as this month started, I told myself it was time to get it done as my testbeds here are making some changes. I've been tossing up if I should make the move to Z68 for our VGA reviews, or stick with the tried and trusted X58 platform.
Most people will feel that it's a no brainer with the X58 being the better option due to the fact it natively supports x16 / x16 in dual card setups. For us, that's indeed the biggest draw for the platform; the Z68 one on the other hand has a lot of standout features that make it a better option as well.
The big thing is that the Z68 platform can just overclock so much better. Our X58 / 980X setup is good for 4.2GHz, while our Z68 / 2600k setup is good for 5.2GHz - 5.4GHz. With high end setups, it's so important that we're not CPU limited and even though the 2600k doesn't carry as many cores as the 980x, its +1GHz should yield us more headroom.
The other stand out for the Z68 platform, though, is price. A Z68 machine with a 2600k is just so much more reachable; verses an X58 and an expensive Extreme Edition processor. That means when it comes down to it all, the performance of our video cards on that platform mean more to you, our readers, verses the performance of them on a X58 / 980X setup.
In the end, it's all fairly simple. We're going to use a powerful dual card setup, in this case, GTX 580s in SLI. We're then going to benchmark both systems overclocked and see which one comes out ahead in our new benchmark line up.