by February 3, 2011 0 comments

While browsing through 13 motherboards based on the latest Intel processors, we found out some interesting points that one should keep in mind before making any buying decision.


There were just 4 motherboards with inbuilt VGA port; one should prefer these boards as processor itself has integrated memory. Each and every board came with USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gb/s support. So,depending on your need go for such boards having more ports, because in future old ports would be completely replaced with these new ports. 2nd generation Intel Core Processors support both single and dual channel DDR3 memory technology of up to 1333 MHz. Of all the motherboards we received, maximum memory support 32 GB. One more trend is availability of bundled connecters for USB 3.0 with motherboards. This is again a good additional feature. Along with hardware features, motherboards also come with specific software that help you optimize performance of motherboards i.e help you overclock, save power, etc. Finally, also keep in mind the number of power phases your board supports. You might have come across features in motherboards that boast of multi phase power like 8,16 or 32-Phase Power supply to CPU. In normal usage, this feature is not that relevant but if you want better and optimal power delivery while overclocking then go for multi phase power supply. In layman’s term, if a circuit provides two phase power supply, then each phase is active for 50% of time in order to generate power for CPU, while on the same lines, 3 phase circuit has each phase active for 33.3% and so on. This means higher number of phases put less strain on transistors giving them longer life, plus operational temperature and noise level is also less. More number of phases in power supply would mean more stable power supply to CPU.











Is it worth investing?

While it is always good to invest in latest technology, you should be wary of its fruitfulness. Money is the biggest concern and spending approximately 20K per CPU (12k for processor plus motherboard, etc) would be impractical for most organizations. Also important is the fact that future content would be in high definition. Another point in favor is integrated graphics capability which would save you from investing in discrete graphics card and still have a great graphics experience. Think of the number of cores per machine if you go for these latest processors.Thanks to Hyper Threading and Core Multiplier, one can have performance boot of many folds for multi threaded application. Features are many and there is clear performance boost. Therefore weather to go for this new technology or not would clearly depend on how much money you have for future investment.

SandyBridge Vs 1st Gen CORE CPU

The visual differentiating factor of 2nd Gen processors from 1st Gen is the the minor change in logo. Second generation core i series branding logo portrays a yellow band through its middle. The other difference is in the nomenclature. The 1st generation core i series processor series were succeeded by a 3 digit identifier, Intel core i3 661 for instance. This had given way to a 4 digit identification schema for the second generation, for example, Intel core i5-2500k. The K is the indicator for unlocked multiplier processors. This basically means that more over clocking capability is achievable through the new generation processors. We received the second generation quad core Intel core i series processors for testing and review in the labs –Intel core i5 2500k(3.3 GHz) prices at Rs. 12000 (2 years warranty) and Intel core i7 2600k(3.4 GHz) priced at Rs. 18000 (2 year warranty).

About SandyBridge processor

With the turn of the new year, also came the launch of Intel’s 2nd Core Processor family –Intel Core i7, i5, and i3, more popularly known by the code name SandyBridge. With a new architecture, there would obviously be a change in the motherboards that support it as well. That’s why, in this buying guide, we’ll first focus on what’s new in this processor and the new features and enhancements that it offers as compared to its earlier version. Post that, we’ll get into the new features offered by the motherboards that support it, followed by reviews of 13 such motherboards.

There’s a change happening in the type of data we process today. The future computing experience would be driven by multi tasking and enhanced visual experience –namely high-definition videos, photos, mainstream gaming, and online socializing and multimedia. The new processor has apparently support for enhancing all these capabilities. The first thing that differentiates SandyBridge from others is integrated graphics. This is supposed to eliminate the need for a separate graphics card, even to play intensive video or games. Interestingly however, most motherboards we received for review didn’t have a VGA port, and required a separate graphics card to be inserted –what a waste of compute power!

Visual features

There are a number of technologies integrated in these processors that enable enhanced visual experience. This include Intel Quick Sync Video that allows fast conversion of video for portable media players (iPod, etc.), online sharing, and video editing and authoring. This seems to be very relevant with the boom in portable media players that we all enjoy on the go, plus immense increase in sharing video online thanks to social networking sites and YouTube. Intel Clear Video HD and InTru 3D Technology are meant to provide enhanced HD and 3D playback.

Turbo boost

This technology is present in Core i7 and i5 only. Turbo boost technology dynamically boosts power level of processor and graphics for performance gain of high intensity workload. In simple terms, if your cores or graphics processor (integrated) is doing some high computation work, this technology allows them to get more power with the help of power control unit. On the other hand, if work load is low, resources are de-allocated. This means that lot of power is saved while processing. This also means processing taking place seamlessly and as needed, resources are allocated dynamically.


If you go to task manager of a machine fitted with Core i7 processor and click on Performance tab, you would find eight performance graphs, even though the processor has only 4 cores. Hyper-threading makes this possible by processing two threads per core. This is supposed to provide increased performance. So if you have multi-threaded applications, then a Core i7 would provide 8 parallel pipes and a Core i3 would provide 4 parallel pipes to speed up the process.

Core multipliers

This feature is present in selective Core i7 and i5 processors. It can increase core and memory frequency independently from rest of the system. This means that user can now overclock their system with ease.

Intel 6 Series Chipset Family

This new chipset is built with lead-free and halogen-free components and supports disabling of individual SATA and USB ports. Not surprisingly, SATA 6 Gb/s and USB 3.0 is supported by this chipset family. Other features that we found interesting include support for 14 USB 2.0, 6 SATA 3 Gb/s, 8 PCI Exprtess 2.0×1, and 2 SATA 6 Gb/s ports.

New chipset also features support for HDMI, DisplayPort, embedded DisplayPort and DVI. To further enhance multimedia experience, this chipset has integrated audio support which enables surround sound and delivers multiple audio streams.

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