During Intel’s launch of the 875 chipset, there was mention that the Canterwood chipset had the ability to support Dual processors. Many who saw that news and heard about the development of a Canterwood dually believed it might be all part of an elaborate hoax. Well, we’re here to tell you it is not a hoax, and the proof is coming from Asus, one of the world’s largest motherboard makers. When Asus first asked AnandTech if we would be interested in taking a look at their new Dual Xeon 875, we jumped at the opportunity.

The PC-DL is unique in more that just the capability of its 875 to run two Xeon chips. It is also one of the most affordable dual-processor boards on the market. We are told it will sell for below $300 – somewhere in the $240 to $300 range. Asus believes this relatively low price also will make the board attractive to gamers and Performance Enthusiasts, in addition to the natural target of the Workstation and Small Server Market.

So, is this the same 875 chipset that is currently dominating the high end of the Pentium 4 market? In general the answer is, “yes, it is.” Intel’s 875 and earlier E7205 share almost the same architecture, but they have different memory speed capabilities. It is expected that the 875 will eventually replace the E7205, Intel’s first Dual-Channel workstation/server design. What is unique about the new Asus is that it is almost a step backwards in terms of processor support. Intel has been expected to update Xeon with the latest 875 features like 800FSB, but it has not happened yet. So, Asus has introduced PC-DL with support for dual 533FSB Xeons. This is likely the first step on the road to the new 800FSB Xeons, because many have recently complained that Xeons are falling behind in the performance area to the latest in the Pentium 4 family.

While the PC-DL appears quite unique right now, this is the beginning, not the end, of the many variations we will likely be seeing with the new dual processor boards based on the 875 chipset. When you’re looking at results with the Dual Xeon 3.06 Processors, keep in mind that Xeons with 800FSB capabilities will undoubtedly make their appearance in the near future. As we saw with the move of Pentium 4 from 533 to 800FSB, this change alone will bring a significant boost in performance. The 875 chipset, of course, is already 800FSB capable, so the move to 800FSB Processors should be an easy one.

However excited we may be about the prospect of new higher FSB Xeons, what we have to evaluate right now is a Dual 3.06 Xeon 875 with two 533FSB CPUs. Since Asus is touting this dually as a potential gaming platform and a board for Computer Enthusiasts, we decided to evaluate it from that perspective. The features such as Serial ATA Raid, Firewire, 8X AGP 3.0, onboard CSA LAN, and Promise RAID will remind you more of the Asus P4C800-E than they will of other Xeon boards. We will do some workstation comparisons later in the review, but we are reviewing the PC-DL, and comparing it to the performance from the current top Pentium 4, Barton, and Opteron/Athlon64 boards that we have tested.

Asus PC-DL: Basic Features
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  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    This review makes, me wonder...is it possible to use two P4 2400/800 CPU's on this board, maybe with some kind of adapter. Those P4's would likely outperform this Xeon setup and possibly also the Opteron, with a very interesting price tag, even if these adaptors would cost $50 each.

    And if anyone should see an Intel engineer, just tell him we want a 1000 MHZ FSB for those Xeons, as the i875 would surely pass all validation test at this speed, and the PC4000 memory is already available.
    Reply
  • Wesley Fink - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    The 3200+ Athlon we use for testing AMD IS a Barton core. The 3.0 is the Intel CPU we have been using for benchmarking Intel. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Why not just make a dual 800FSB P4 system. With HT activated you'd get 4 virtual processors, something that XP Pro can handle. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    i see commens like like its they use thw 3.2Hz p4 but what performance they all expect? 80% from 3.0 to 3.2Ghz?> Reply
  • Lonyo - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    "we are reviewing the PC-DL, and comparing it to the performance from the current top Pentium 4, Barton, and Opteron/Athlon64 boards that we have tested"

    Performance Test Configuration
    Processor(s): Intel Dual Xeon 3.06 (1 Mb Cache) 533FSB
    AMD Opteron Socket 940 at 2.0GHz (9x222) 444FSB
    Intel Pentium 4 at 3.0GHz (800FSB)

    No Barton in there, the top Opteron (or so I thought) was the 1.8GHz, and the top P4 is the 3.2 as far as I'm aware.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Dual Xeons is a joke. The P4 is starved for bandwidth in a SINGLE processor configuration at 533Mhz FSB. What makes anyone think TWO processors can handle being that starved? It's like eating spaghetti through a straw -- you can get a few noodles, but it's faster to go buy a fork. And, last I heard, Intel wasn't planning on bring a 800Mhz FSB to the Xeon, just a stopgap 667Mhz FSB. Almost any task can be performed better by a single P4 3.0Ghz processor then dual Xeons of any speed on any platform. Xeons make no sense as a consumer platform all. And, with Opteron here, they make no sense as a server platform, either.

    When can I see my Athlon64 vs. Pentium 4 benchies? I hardly think an overclocked Opteron counts. After all, the 2.0Ghz Athlon64 isn't going to run with dual-channel memory, anyway. Can you say Socket 754? Luckily, AMD is already moving to Socket 940/939 for future releases. Mmm. 64-bit goodness.
    Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    I'm always dissapointed in dual cpu system reviews, as they never show how the systems multitask. I would like to see the FPS in UT3 while encoding a movie at the same time. Can you play games while burning a DVD? I would like to see the performance while performing multiple tasks at the same time. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Yea, I'll bet Intel thought they could Spin dual Xeons as a viable filler until Prescott arrives some day. Reality shows there is no way the P4 or dual-Xeons are gonna hold a candle to a single Opteron/A64 let alone a dual system. Intel is hurting as their 90 nano stuff is gonna be too little, too late, and the suckers draw a pile of current = a ton of heat. Who wants that in a system thats' too expensive and that under performs??? They should just scrap the Prescott and work on something worth releasing to the market before it's obsolete. Reply
  • Anonymous User - Saturday, September 06, 2003 - link

    Somehow this review looks eerily familiar. Hrm, wonder why :P. Reply

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