It is now clear how powerful and popular Intel's Core 2 Duo architecture is to the general public. Since its introduction less than two months ago, Intel has already shipped millions of Core 2 based processors and more are ramping out of their fab's to keep up with demand from OEM's like HP, Dell, IBM and Compaq.
Core 2 is definitely the cash card that Intel needed to put down. No more of this Megahertz is better crap which we have had forced down our throats with the Pentium 4 line - it may have worked for the first six months, but it was clear Pentium 4 was not going to save Intel from the mean green machine called AMD.
Now that Core 2 has established itself as the dominant architecture for now, motherboard manufacturers are scrambling to get boards out that will support Intel's Core 2 processors, especially ones based on the new mainstream chipset, the Intel P965 Express chipset.
While it may be classified as mainstream, P965 simply is the more attractive chipset to support Core 2. With DDR2-800 memory support, higher FSB overclocking potential than 975X and yes even ATI Crossfire support now (which we were roasted on when we released our P965 preview - while it didn't have it then, it does now...) We were just waiting for the folks at ATI to approve the chipset and now ATI's Catalyst 6.9 drivers and above support Crossfire on P965 motherboards.
Today we are taking a look at three motherboards in Part 1 of our P965 Roundup with Part 2 scheduled for release later this month as long as everything goes to plan. In our labs we have the MSI P965 Neo, ASUS P5B Deluxe and the Foxconn P9657AA.
Who will be our victor today? It will all boil down to price, performance, features and overclocking - let's go and find a winner!