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This review has certainly allowed us to show what can be achieved in the mid entry workstation place without spending an absolute fortune which normally is the case to most end users.

Were to start?   Supermicro’s new mainboard certainly has an awful lot to offer the end user with huge amounts of various upgrade paths.   The newer version of the mainboard (C2SBA+ II) that has just been released fully encompasses the complete Intel ICH9 raid facility.   However this mainboard allows the use of older drives in raid to be utilised by Intel’s IT8212 ATA Raid Controller.   Onboard temperatures remained remarkably stable and for those concerned of the standard aluminium heatsink found on the Northbridge of the mainboard, you have no worries.   At most underload of SPEC 10 run all the mainboard temps never crept above 48C in an ambient room temperature of 26C.   CPU temperatures remaining fairly constant at approximately 29C due to the superb engineering of the Akasa EVO 120 V2 and Supermicro’s R & D Team.

Hard Drive performance is good as too the memory bandwidth as has been shown in SiS Sandra & HD Tach and there are so many bonuses to this board.   Hidden in the bios and on the mainboard are settings to easily overclock the mainboard in conjunction with the mainboard FSB jumpers.   Therefore for the overclocker who requires a mainboard that remains completely stable throughout the day then wishes to switch over to gaming at night; the worlds your oyster here.    We have to point out that overclocking of this mainboard is at the end users own risk and we take no responsibility for any failures that incur whilst operating in overclocking mode.

Whilst thoughts are hot on the drive performance which are particularly good for a stand alone drive.  The major benefit derived from such high performance must also be attributed to the usage of Diskeeper Premium Professional which was left with Automatic Defragmentation and  I-FAAST™ modes were enabled whilst completing the HD Tach benchmark.   Remove this excellent piece of software and you will see a performance drop in across the tests, this we have found most apparent especially in the completion of the ‘Full’ HD Tach test.

Supermicro’s ATX mainboards have in the past been aimed directly at the OEM’s and System Integrators though a few specialised resellers do sell direct to the public.   These workstation mainboards from Supermicro do come at a premium but taking into account the Superb R & D, the build quality of the mainboard and finally its complete reliability and stability it’s easy to see why we use them here for international launches of the new professional graphic’s cards.

For readers wishing to purchase this super new mainboard, then head over to www.scan.co.uk.   Availability and pricing have to confirmed.

Overall these 2 items make a winning combination for an entry level workstation and the reader has to seriously consider what we have shown today when thinking about the next set of upgrades.

Moving on and to steal some of Supermicro’s thunder:

The new AMD FireGL V5600 professional graphics card.   Nearly Four weeks ago on launch day we showed what AMD’s new entry level professional graphics card the FireGL V3600 could really achieve.  The new FireGL V5600 has most certainly shifted the series of card up a tremendous gear, for an entry level mid range card it has the magical bang for buck.  

One important point of note.   No additional power connector is needed to supply the graphics card as it can safely run from a system that only has a 350 Watt PSU; which is going to be a huge benefit to those wishing to upgrade their graphic cards and not have to worry about additional costs of a new power supply.   The FireGL cooler fitted was quiet and acoustics were not an issue at all whilst underload throughout the tests.   Normally this is a point were one would here some serious noise kicking into play from either the system fans or the GPU cooler.   Not so as we stated earlier - nice and quiet.  With continuing support for both Direct X 10 and OpenGL 2.1 will mean no reduction upon the CPU performance which is evident from the Cinebench Scores returned.  

In all the years of reviewing professional cards we have not seen such a performance uptake from entry level to mid range.   The drivers we have seen and tested; kudos to the some 150 members of the driver team.   And what is the next driver release going to be capable of – one will be completely surprised at what it is going to bring.    Astounding performance uptakes.

One of the most interesting points of the new SPECviewperf® 10.0 benchmark is the huge amounts of information it produces.   The logs hold bountiful amounts of precise but critical information that show just how the graphics card and complete system I/O performs.   It may take considerable amounts of time to complete, though the wait for the true professional is well worth it as we have now seen on the last 2 outings of SPECviewperf® 10.0  in its fullest.

The performance of the FireGL V5600 has been remarkably astonishing to say the least for a 128 bit controller!   Returning results which are found in the competitions High-End professional cards, in some areas their Ultra High-End Cards!  

For those in doubt then head over to the SPEC Website and have a look at the current published results.

Taking into consideration its price performance point we have to seriously think about this card when buying a new system or upgrading.      At a MRSP price point of just £300 UK Pounds or $600 US Dollars, well do the math's…………………………………….….the results shown here today speak volumes by themselves.  

*HOT of the PRESS* We have had a snippet of news in that both the FireGL V3600 and FireGL V5600 will be available from distributor's by the end of September.  This will finally to put to rest a few gossiping nasty rumours.    For those eagerly awaiting the FireGL V7600, our sources have confirmed that the Card will be in
distribution in October.

With this the gauntlet has been thrown down from AMD to NVIDIA.   It is not often that the role is reversed but this time we bow to what AMD’s FireGL Team has brought to the fore.

Next please gentlemen………………………………………………and please take note of the Fair Play Rules and Gentlemanly conduct.

www.3dprofessor.org award for Supermicro’s C2SBA+
Entry Level Workstation Mainboard

5 out of 5 - Editors Recommendation


www.3dprofessor.org award for the AMD’s FireGL V5600
Entry MID RANGE Professional Workstation Card

5 out of 5 - Editors Choice

Page 1 - Introduction
Page 2 - Supermicro C2SBA+ Pictures
Page 3 - FireGL V5600
Page 4 - FireGL V5600 Pictures
Page 5 - System Set-Up and Software Used
Page 6 -
SiSoftware XI Professional SP4 Benchmarks Part I
Page 7 - SiSoftware XI Professional SP4 Benchmarks Part II
Page 8 -
HD Tach Journalists Edition
Page 9 - Cinebench 9.5 & Cinebench 10 *NEW*
Page 10 -
SPECviewperf® 10.0 Part I
Page 11 - SPECviewperf® 10.0 Part II
Page 12 - Conclusions

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