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Asus P5K3 Premium Black Pearl Edition Review

ccokeman    -   December 13, 2007


Conclusion:

Is the onboard memory all that it's cracked up to be? Sure it is! Asus has provided a well thought out package that satisfies the need to overclock. With overclockable DDR3 memory selling for somewhere in the neighborhood of $375 and up, the onboard memory that is guaranteed to overclock sounds like a good idea. In reality, it actually worked quite well. At DDR 800, the onboard was capable of 5-5-5-15 timings with a command rate of 1T. These timings were good until about DDR 1000, after that the timings needed to be relaxed as the memory scaled higher, finally topping out in this instance at DDR 1600, or 800FSB. At this speed the timings were set to 9-7-7-20. Adding voltage or tweaking the timings produced no increase in the FSB I was able to achieve. The maximum overclock on the CPU that was achieveable with my chip was 440FSB, again, voltage and tweaking produced nothing higher. In the end, a good stable overclock of 400x9 on the Q6600 and 800MHz on the memory, was Prime 95 stable for 17 plus hours and has been crunching work units for our folding@home team now for the past week at these settings with no failures.

The feature set that the P5K3 Premium is equipped with will cover probably most, if not all, of the consumers looking for a high-end solution that, in reality, just needs a processor and video card to be ready to use. By choosing to use an all copper solution for the cooling of the heat generating components, Asus has made the cooling of the board components a top priority, even including two blower style fans to mount onto the heatsinks when a non-traditional cooling setup is used (Liquid or Phase cooling). One downside I see with the P5K3 Premium is also one of its strong selling points, the onboard memory. If technology advances and higher performance DDR3 memory is available, there is no way to upgrade the modules by just swapping out the DIMMS. The second downer may well be the price point on the P5K3. Looking online for pricing has several high dollar figures pointed in the close to a thousand dollar range. For a full featured, highly overclockable platform that includes the system memory, it may well be a little much to swallow. If an almost all-in-one, guaranteed to overclock platform is what you are looking for, then this would be it. Performance, feature set, ease of use, it has it all.

 

Pros:

  • On-board Memory
  • Built-in Features
  • Overclockability
  • Stability
  • Performance
  • Built-in Memory Modules (Low Latency)
  • Solid Copper Heatsinks
  • Passive Cooling Solution (Blower Fans)

 

Cons:

  • Built-in Memory Modules; No Upgrade Path or Failure Puts the Board Out of Commision
  • Price
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