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Intel P35 Express, FSB1333 and DDR3
by Marc Prieur
Published on June 6, 2007

P35 Express – Memory
After having reviewed DDR3, we are going to take a look at the P35 + DDR2 relationship, which will probably be the most common. Compared to the P965, as we said above, the P35 officially supports DDR2-1067. However, another characteristic is that (at least in theory) it needs a minimum of DDR2-667.

Thus, the P5K Deluxe offers the following modes depending on the FSB :

FSB1066 : DDR2-667, DDR2-800, DDR2-889, DDR2-1067
FSB1333 : DDR2-667, DDR2-800, DDR2-833, DDR2-1000, DDR2-1067, DDR2-1111, DDR2-1333

Like the P965, the P35 doesn’t allow the use of a memory frequency inferior to that of the bus system. The minimum ratio is 1:1, for example in FSB1333 (333 MHz Quad Pumped) and in DDR2-667 (333 MHz DDR). In FSB1066 the synchronous mode is no longer offered, and we must go through DDR2-667. It’s also highly probable that some motherboards simply won’t start with a memory where the SPD won’t indicate a minimum of DDR2-667 even if in practice the chip could support this frequency.

What are the performances of the P35 Express memory controller ? We measured performances of ASUSTeK’s P5K Deluxe compared to the P5B Deluxe (P965), P5W-DH Deluxe (i975x) and P5N32-E SLI (nForce 680i). First off, here are results obtained in FSB1066 :

In DDR2-800, the i975X and nForce 680i are the fastest, on the condition that the latter is in « 1T » mode. This is something not possible with all memory modules, and in the opposite case, the nForce 680i is in last place, close to the P965 and P35 in Far Cry but further behind in WinRAR. The P965 and P35 display very similar performances, which are 3-4% inferior in practice to the 975x, for example, in applications dependant on the memory subsystem. Either way this isn’t too dramatic.

These differences are made up for in DDR2-1067, because here the nForce 680i didn’t have the advantage of its 1T mode, while the i975x is too unstable with two 1 GB memory modules at this setting (it‘s officially limited at DDR2-667). Thanks to DDR2-1067 5-5-5, the P35 and P965 are at the same level as the nForce 680i and i975X in DDR2-800 4-4-4.

And performances in FSB1333 ? Here again the use of various memory settings give us very close performances in the end with differences of less than 1% in Far Cry. In WinRAR, the i975x saves itself with results 1.7% better than its closest competitor. At equivalent memories, the P965 and P35 are very similar.

While waiting for a more complete chipset comparison, we now go ahead with a duel between the P965 Express and P35 Express. Let’s take a look at some specific areas such as PCI Express management, Serial ATA, RAID, USB 2.0 and even overclocking.

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