The CPU battle between AMD and Intel has been over for quite some time -- when it comes to performance, Intelís Core 2 Duo is arguably the best CPU for every task. They come in dual and quad core flavors and outperform AMDís offerings. What really excites enthusiasts about Core 2 though is their overclocking potential. With just a little bit of work, Core 2 processors can be easily pushed to speeds of 3GHz and well beyond.
While weíre waiting for AMD to spur new competition with faster and more efficient processors we witness the chipset wars with companies trying to create the best chipset for the Core 2 CPUs. The companies who create chipsets for the Intel Core 2 are SiS, VIA, nVidia, and Intel themselves. The first two make budget boards. You can find SiSís and VIAís motherboards in value bundles or combo deals. This does not necessarily mean that SiS and VIA motherboards for the Core 2 are bad. It just means that they are not for the overclocking, tweaking, gaming, and performance crowd, which makes a tiny fraction of the computers utilizing Intelís Core 2 processors.
This is a battle of who knows Intelís Core 2 CPUs best. For enthusiasts Intel introduced Core 2 on their old i975X chipset originally made for the Pentium D series. NVIDIA quickly followed with the nForce 500 series chipset. NVIDIAís nForce 500 chipset was ported from their nForce4 line and never gained any traction in the marketplace. The nForce 590 SLI chipset was late to market, lacked performance, and didnít overclock very well. Alongside 975 Intel also engineered a newer, cheaper, chipset with insane overclocking potential. This became the P965 chipset. Soon after, NVIDIA released its 600 series chipset. Featuring a remade North Bridge, the nForce 680i is the current performance and overclocking leader. However it is the most expensive platform for Core 2 too, with most motherboards selling for over $200.
To pave the way for the next-generation of Intel CPUs (read: Penryn) and technologies Intel has developed a new chipset for the Core 2 platform. Codenamed Bearlake and Broadwater, Intelís new 3 series chipsets are revolutionary, at least on paper. With new features such as integrated DirectX 10 and DDR3 memory, Intel really packed the new 3 with features no other chipset on the market has.