The Test System and Comments -
Our test system is built on an open bench. This has two effects on testing. First it allows us to see everything and also to setup and disassemble the test rigs quickly. Second it means that we cannot gauge the potential air flow found in a normal case. The air is pretty stagnant; some may say this is a great neutral testing method and it can be. However, it does mean that the temperature reading taken off of the components are not accurate to what an average consumer would see. This means that your thermal performance will vary from what we see here.
The X79A-GD65(8D) was pretty simple to setup. As with most boards you simply plug all your hardware in and go. For the most part this is how our installation went. We ran our Driver install and then installed the utilities that we wanted and started our testing. It was not until we hit 3PCMark7 that we began to see that something might be amiss. When we plugged in our hardware we used the PCIe Gen2 slot as our EAH5870 V2 is only Gen2 (makes sense). We found out quickly that this is a bad idea. If you use these (as both the manual and the naming convention would indicate) you will seriously hinder your GPUs performance.
After that was out of the way we took a look at some of the features that actually come with the X79A-GD65(8D). One of these is the SuperCharge for USB; this is a great feature that allows you to charge items like the iPad 2 and the iPhone 4 and 4S. It is not that big of a deal, but every little bit helps.
There really was not more to the feature set on the GD65 even though there was more software available on the install DVD.
Performance testing overview -
Our testing is a little different than most. We combine both synthetic and real-world applications to simulate the types of performance common to the individual products. For motherboards this means that we run roughly six synthetic tests and two real-world. We will be expanding the real-world testing in the near future. But there is more to performance than just the raw numbers. As there are multiple components and sub-components on a motherboard there each item can have a distinct impact on the way the product will perform once you get it in your system. It is important to note not only the actual results but what they mean to you as a potential consumer. We will try to give this information to you.
But we do not just cover the performance aspects that are measurable. We also talk about the components that might not have a direct benchmark. These are items like Audio Quality, ease of use and installation.