Canterwoods are Go !
Mid-April saw the much-anticipated launch of Intel's latest performance chipset, the i875P or Canterwood. Using many of the performance traits found in the Granite Bay, but bumping up the all-important FSB from 133 to 200 (800 QDR), the extra bandwidth pushed the Canterwood to the top of the class, even though it was combined with a slower CPU than the incumbent 3.06. The 3.00GHz P4 / CW combination pushed back the performance envelope of home PCs by combining dual-channel PC3200 RAM to an improved Northbridge.
Our benchmarks showed that it took over from where the Granite Bay left off. Pumping extra data through the MCH and CPU gave it enough of a boost to best the AMD XP3000 / nForce2 in each and every benchmark. AMD aren't standing still though, they've launched their own 200FSB Barton XP already. It's one thing to send out reference boards to certain 'sites, but it's another to ensure that your motherboard partners produce and market their own interpretations quickly and efficiently.
Barely three weeks have passed by since the Intel reference Canterwood was paraded before an eager public. In that time a number of big-name motherboard manufacturers have managed to get their Canterwood-based motherboards out to market. If your pockets are deep enough, you can currently buy a 3.0GHz P4 and a choice of retail, big-name Canterwoods. Buying the CPU is the easy part. The harder part is in choosing the correct board for you.
Today we're looking at 3 feature-laden Canterwoods boards from Asus, EPoX, and MSI respectively. We'll look at the individual merits of each board and manufacturer. Who's good ?, who's not ?. Who is most deserving of your money ?. Let's find out as we look at each board in detail. Before we start, if you need a little refresher into what makes the Canterwood special, head here.