Intel has a lot to be proud of when looking back over the last two years. Core 2 has paid dividends for the company and finally they no longer have to put spin on lousy products like they were forced to do with Netburst at the end of its life. What it came down to was that Intel simply pushed Netburst CPUs too far. The lineup should have ended at Prescott.
Netburst is now forgotten, and Intel are wholeheartedly forgiven with the Core architecture; it not only manages to keep the processor speed at around the 3GHz mark (which is roughly where the Netburst CPU left off), it keeps things moving forward with architectural advancements that further improve on the already excellent multimedia decoding and encoding performance the Netburst processors were reknowned for; not to mention improving gaming performance to the point that the Jolly Green Giant simply can't match.
Not only has the processor improved, so has the platform. Intel's use of the aging 975X chipset as its enthusiast level chipset was beginning to wear thin. It lacked DDR2-800 memory support and its Crossfire support with only twin x8 slots was starting to really pull it down. Even the P965 was able to kick it from the top rung thanks to its DDR2-800 memory capabilities and Crossfire support; while not the perfect match, it was a more desirable chipset. P35 managed to do a good job in the interim whilst waiting for a high performance chipset. P35's dual memory support made it an ideal stop gap chipset for the enthusiast level.
X38 is now here, and it's still a mixed bag in regards to how it performs. So far there aren't really any performance breaking features of the chipset, it's basically a P35 but with better Crossfire support and a few novelties such as XMP memory profiles. Today we are testing out the ASUS Maximus Extreme board which is designed to be the most impressive board ASUS has ever put out to market.
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