Is there a difference in bus speeds between gaming motherboards?

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suraj
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Joined: Thu Dec 02, 2021 10:30 am

Is there a difference in bus speeds between gaming motherboards?

Post by suraj »

To begin with, it’s been a decade since motherboard last used traditional ‘system buses’. The primary bus on Intel-based platforms used to be called Front Side Bus (FSB) and it was certainly true that the higher FSB, the higher the data throughput was between the processor and Northbridge/MCH.

Back then, this factor could affect overall system performance. For example, most Prescott Pentium 4 processors had a 200 MHz FSB but used quad pumping which bumped to effective FSB to 800 MT/s, giving a max system bandwidth of 6.4 GB/s (800 x 8).

Later processors used 266, 333 and 400 MHz FSB. The best performing Core 2 Quad processor, the QX9770 had an FSB of 400 MHz (1600 MT/s effective) which resulted in a system bandwidth of 12.8 GB/s. A higher FSB also meant that you could overclock a processor without necessarily raising the cpu multiplier. It’s worth noting that the clock speed would also be determined by multiplying the FSB with the processor core multiplier. For eg, a Core 2 Duo has an effective clock speed of ~3.0 GHz (333 x 9 = 2997 MHz). This also mean that your DDR2 SDRAM would operate at 666 MHz which equals to PC2-5300 (666 x 8 = 5328 MB/s)

The problem with the FSB design was that it was closely tied to the processor bus and memory speed. Not to mention that this bandwidth was shared among all devices attached to the Northbridge. That’s why the CPU<=>FSB<=>NB<=>SB design was scrapped when Intel introduced the first generation Core i3, i5 and i7 series. Instead of using FSB, those processors rely on a base clock (BCLK) which is generated by the chipset (PCH).

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