ASUS P5QL-E Review

gotdamojo06 - 2008-07-06 22:43:27 in Motherboards
Category: Motherboards
Reviewed by: gotdamojo06   
Reviewed on: July 24, 2008
Price: $109.99

Introduction:  

Have you been looking for a new motherboard that hosts one of the newest chipsets out on the market? Maybe you are just looking for a nice little upgrade for your setup, or you are building a completely new system. Well, ASUS may just have the solution for you with the release of the ASUS P5QL-E. This motherboard uses the newest Intel chipset, the P43+, which will allow you to utilize your new 45nm processors to the fullest extent. Not only does it use the newest chipset, you will also be able to use this speed demon to get on the internet in about 5 seconds. Enough talking, let's see what's going on with this board.  

Closer Look:  

The packaging for the ASUS P5QL-E is very similar to just about every other motherboard box that is out on the market. However, what is inside and what the packaging has printed on it is different. The ASUS P5QL-E uses ASUS Express Gate technology to get you online in an impressive 5 seconds. You are also able to use Skype in this first 5 seconds. The maximum FSB that the P5QL-E is able to support is 1600MHz, which again is very impressive. The capacitors that are installed on the motherboard are 100% Japanese-made Solid Capacitors, allowing for a longer lifespan before you will have to switch out for a new board. The back of the packaging is where you are going to find all of the specifications of the ASUS P5QL-E, such as the MyLogo2 support, Intel P43+ICH10R, 8 Phase Power, Socket LGA775 & 45nm CPU Support, and PCI-E 2.0.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what is inside of the packaging? Well let's take a look at all of the goodies that ASUS has sent us with the board! 

Closer Look:  

"When you open up the packaging to take a look at what has been packed away inside of it you are going to find a whole bunch of accessories as well as an installation manual with all the information on the motherboard that you will want or need to know. The motherboard is safely packaged in a cardboard protector at the bottom of the package which you will find when you pull all of the accessories out. When you get the motherboard out of the cardboard packaging you will see that ASUS has placed an anti-static bag over the motherboard to help keep the board from being damaged during the shipping process. There are three SATA cables, 1 floppy drive cable, 1 IDE Cable, 1 PCI-E to 4pin Molex converter, 1 backplate, 1 ASUS Q-Connector, as well as 1 instruction booklet with driver installation CD.

 

 

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that we have taken everything out of the package and we know what it looks like, it's time to take a nice close look at the board's layout and see what ASUS has done this time!  

Closer Look:  

"The ASUS P5QL-E Motherboard takes the Socket LGA775 to the next level with the usage of the Intel P43 Chipset, allowing" you to use the newest of processors out on the market, such as the dual and quad core 45nm chips. The ASUS P5QL-E is an ATX sized board and with the power of the P43 chipset, you will be able to build a nice gaming computer, workstation, or just a nice little overclocking rig. The board is not quite as wide as some of the other ATX boards on the market, only requiring 6 screws to hold it down. Let's take a look at some of the important components on this board.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"When you take a look at the rear I/O panel for the P5QL-E you are able to see that there are quite a few very common connectors as well as a few different/uncommon ones that ASUS has decided to put on there. ASUS knows that there are still quite a few people using the PS/2 keyboard and mouse setup, so that is why they decided to leave both of those ports on the motherboard. ASUS has put an Ethernet port on the rear I/O panel for those who still use a wired network. There are also six USB 2.0 ports that will allow you to plug in just about everything that you will need, as well as one IEEE 1394a port. There is an E-SATA port, an optical S/PDIF out port and quite a few speaker ports allowing you to connect up to an 8-channel configuration."

 

 

"Taking a look at the expansion slots on the motherboard you are able to see that you will be able to install quite a few different expansion cards if you so choose. There is one PCI-E x16 2.0 slot which will allow you to use one of the newer video cards that will give you a great deal of performance. There are also two PCI-E x1 and three regular PCI slots, allowing you to install an older sound card you have been using or a RAID controller card. Speaking of expansion slots on the motherboard, there are four 240-pin DDR2 DIMM Sockets allowing you to install a maximum of 16GB of RAM." 

 

 

Along the bottom edge of the board under the PCI slots you are going to find the different I/O connectors that are located on the board. There is a large black floppy drive connector for your setup if you are still using a floppy drive. Next to this is where you will find the connectors for the front panel 1394 port followed by three USB 2.0 connectors colored in blue. The front panel LEDs for the HDD and power indication, power and reset switches and speaker are all going to be plugged in to the white front panel port via the Q-Connector. The six red connectors above are the SATA ports allowing you to install the high data transfer devices such as your HDD or optical drive. Along the other side there is a darker red connector where you will plug in your IDE cable for your HDD or optical drive.

 

 

The 24-pin power connector to power the motherboard and other components that are installed on it has been moved from its usual place on the motherboard to a very unusual place - right behind the rear I/O panel. Around the power connector you are able to see some of the Japanese-made Solid Capacitors.

 

The final part of the motherboard that I wanted to take a nice close look at is the stock cooling solution for the chipset. The larger heatsink on the left covers the Intel P43 chip while the smaller one on the right covers the Intel ICH10R.

 

Let's get this motherboard turned on and take a look at the BIOS and see what portions of the computer we can control!  

 

Closer Look:  

 

The BIOS of your computer is where you are able to find all of the settings that you are able to tweak to make your computer run as smoothly and effectively as it can. This is also where you are able to overclock your computer and change a large amount of settings about how your computer operates. In some of the BIOS screens you are able to adjust a bunch of settings, while in others you are limited to only a few things. The BIOS that is included with the ASUS P5QL-E is not quite as extensive as some of the other ASUS BIOS that I have used in the past, but they are not as limiting as those from other manufacturers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Main:  

The Main screen that you get into when you press the Delete key on your keyboard is where you are going to be able to change the System Time/System Date. You are also able to change the language in which you view the BIOS and view which SATA drives are installed.

 

Ai Tweaker:  

The Ai Tweaker menu is where you are going to find all of the settings that you will be needing to change when you are overclocking your system. You are able to change quite a few different things from this screen. Going down the list the first thing you can change is your FSB Frequency which directly changes your CPU speed with the relation of FSB Frequency x Multiplier. The next item you are able to change is the FSB strap to North Bridge. This is going to determine what memory divider you are going to be able to use. The DRAM Frequency is a large list of all the different RAM speeds that you are able to choose from using your FSB Frequency and your Memory Divider you have chosen. Then you are able to choose what the timings are for your specific memory. Remember, the tighter the timings, the better your memory will perform. When you get down to the voltages, ASUS has done something different than I have seen them do before. You are able to directly key in the voltage setting that you wish to use - the minimum and maximum voltages are listed on the right-hand side of the screen.

 

 

 

Advanced:  

On the Advanced menu screen you are going to be able to see a few different items. Not only are you able to view and change the Advanced CPU settings which include changing the multiplier (6x - 9x with the Q9450), disabling or enabiling the different Intel SpeedStep, C1E, Virtualization Technology, etc., but you can also change the different settings for the onboard devices such as the HD Audio and which IRQ values the serial ports are going to be using. You are also able to configure the North Bridge settings in this menu. These settings should not be played with unless you know exactly what you are doing.

 

 

 

Closer Look:  

Power:  

The Power Menu is where you are going to be able to see all of the settings that apply to the actual power usage of the entire system as a whole. This is where you are able to change how the computer's "suspend mode" works. The Hardware Monitor sub-menu is where you are going to be able to find the BIOS temperature readings. The P5QL-E is set up a little differently than some of the other ASUS Hardware Monitor screens as it only shows you the CPU temperature and the motherboard temperatures. There is also a section below these temperatures that you are able to see, in real-time, what the fan speeds are if you have any fans hooked up to the motherboard fan headers, which I currently do not. You are able to see at the bottom what the CPU, 3.3V, 5V, and 12V voltages are currently running at.

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Boot:  

The Boot menu is where the booting settings are located such as the Boot Device Priority. This sub-menu is where you are going to be able to change what device is going to be looked at first for a bootable media or operating system. You are able to change the three that the BIOS is going to look at and decide which you want it to look at first - the CD drive, your floppy disk, or your HDD. If you have a flash drive or external HDD hooked up those will also be listed here.

 

 

Tools:  

The Tools menu is where all of the miscellaneous settings are put such as the ASUS EZ flash 2 Utility. This is the in-BIOS utility that you can use to flash your BIOS to a newer release for your particular motherboard and can include anything from fixes for new CPU support, to better algorithms for calculating temperatures. The Express Gate settings are also here. You are able to decide if you want to use the Express Gate and, if you do, how long you want to be able to enter it. There are also ASUS OC Profiles you can save your BIOS settings to for easy switching between a stable overclock to a new overclock to push your hardware harder and further.

 

 

Exit:  

Well the last menu is quite self-explanatory. This is the menu you look for when you are ready to exit out of the BIOS and get back into your operating system of choice. There are a few different options on this screen for exiting, however. You are able to Exit & Save your settings or you can Exit & Discard your settings if you didn't like what you did. If you changed a setting that you didn't know what you changed it from, you can Discard Changes and then get back to tweaking the settings as long as you have not saved them yet. However, if you have saved them, you can set all the settings back to the defaults that come stock with the board which can be useful if you mess something up and can't get back into your operating system. 

 

Now that we know our way around the ASUS P5QL-E BIOS, we are ready to get into Windows and configure the new software.  

Configuration:  

 

When it comes to the software end of configuring the ASUS P5QL-E there are a few different pieces of software that are suggested to be installed so that you are able to bask in the many different features of the motherboard. The first piece of software is going to be the ASUS AI Suite. This is the software that is going to allow you not only to monitor the important information on your computer, but also allow you to overclock it. The second piece of software that is important to install will be the Chipset Drivers. You can pretty much tell why this is important by the name as it will allow your operating system (Windows Vista) to recognize and utilize the P5QL-E to its fullest extent. The third piece of software is the ASUS Express Gate software which is somewhat like a driver. You are unable to run an application after the installation from Windows. However, it will allow the ASUS Express Gate to work when you first turn your computer on.

 

The Installation of the ASUS AI Suite is very easy to complete - all you need to do is launch the executable to install it and follow the on-screen information that shows up.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next step is to open up the AI suite to make sure that it has been installed and runs properly. The first page that you get when you open it up is the screen that, in very large numbers, shows you your CPU Clock speed in real-time. The reason that my Q9450 is at 1998MHz is because of Intel's power saving features that throttles the CPU speed during a very low CPU usage time that I have not yet disabled. At the top there is information such as your system temperature and your CPU temperature. Well, the important part of the ASUS AI Suite is the AI Booster - a lot of people use this piece of software for overclocking your computer from Windows. This feature allows you to change a few BIOS settings from inside the Windows environment for what ever reason you have. You can change your multiplier as well as the FSB frequency. If you go to the next tab you are able to change the RAM voltages as well as the RAM frequency which can be helpful if you are trying to get those RAM speeds higher. The final tab is the PCI-E frequency which is a setting that I personally do not mess around with.

 

 

 

The next piece of software that I will be installing are the chipset drivers from Intel which will allow Windows to utilize the newly installed motherboard as effectively as possible. This software installation is extremely easy as the only thing that you have to do is follow the on-screen directions, click the 'next' button and wait for it to install everything. Just to let you know, during this installation, the screen does turn off for a little bit. However, this is normal so do not freak out.

 

 

 

Once the drivers are installed, the final piece of software to install to be able to unlock all of the features of the P5QL-E is the ASUS Express Gate software. This is the driver software that will allow you to be able to get Internet access in 5 seconds after you turn your computer on! What a great feature. So let's get the software installed.

 

 

Well now that we have all of the motherboard installed and the software installed, let's take a look at what the specifications and the features for this board are.

 

Specifications:

 

CPU
Intel Socket 775 Core™2 Quad/Core™2 Extreme/Core™2 Duo/Pentium® Extreme/Pentium® D/Pentium® 4 Processors Intel® Core™2 Extreme/Core™2 Quad/Core™2 Duo/Pentium® dual-core/Celeron® dual-core/Celeron® Processors
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
Supports Intel® 45nm Multi-Core CPU
Chipset
Intel P43 ICH10R
Intel Fast Memory Access Technology
FSB
1600*/1333/1066/800 MHz *Overclock speed
Memory

4 x DIMM, Max. 16 GB, DDR2 1066/800/667 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture

*Refer to www.asus.com or this user manual for the Memory QVL(Qualified Vendors Lidts).
**When installing total memory of 4GB capacity or more, Windows 32-bit operation system may only recognize less than 3GB. Hence, a total installed memory of less than 3GB is recommended.

Expansion Slots
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 slots, support ATI CrossFireX™ technology at x8 link (PCIe x16_1 blue, PCIe x16_2 black*)
2 x PCIe x1 ( the PCIEx1_1 (black) is compatible with audio slot)
3 x PCI
Storage
Southbridge
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10
PCIe Storage Controller
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
1 x eSATA 3 Gb/s

iTE IT8718 chip:
1 x floppy disk drive connector supporting up to 1 floppy disk drive 
LAN
PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
Marvell 88E8056/88E8001® Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2,Teaming and Redundant
Audio
Realtek ALC1200 8 -Channel High-Definition Audio CODEC
- Support Jack-Detection, Multi-streaming, and Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF_out ports at back I/O
- ASUS Noise-Filtering
USB
IEEE 1394

12 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back panel)
LSI L-FW3227 1394a controller supports supports 2 x 1394a ports (one at midboard; one at back panel)
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 8.8 inch ( 30.5 cm x 22.4 cm )
ASUS AI Lifestyle Features
ASUS Power Saving Solution
- ASUS EPU - Six Engine
- ASUS 3rd Generation 8-phase Power Design
- AI Nap
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
- ASUS Fanless Design: stylish heatsink
ASUS EZ DIY:
- AI Direct Link
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
ASUS Express Gate
ASUS MyLogo 2
Overclocking Features
Intelligent overclocking tools
- ASUS AI Booster Utility
ASUS AI Booster
Precision Tweaker 2
- vDIMM: 64 -step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
- vChipset 48-step voltage control
- vCPUPLL: 64-step reference voltage control
- vFSB Termination: 15-step voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 800MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 180MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Internal Connectors
3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports
1 x COM connector
6 x SATA connectors
1 x CPU Fan connector
2 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x IEEE1394a connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Header
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
1 x 8 pin ATX 12V Power connector
System Panel(Q-Connector)
Back Panel Connections
1 x PS/2 Keyboard (Purple)
1 x PS/2 mouse port (Green)
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial+Optical)
1 x IEEE1394a
1 x RJ45 port
1 x eSATA
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-channel Audio I/O

 

 

Features:

 

Testing:

Exacly how will this board stack up when it is compared against some of the otherboards that are out on the market? Well, there is only one way to see and that is to push it to the limits. I will be stressing the ASUS P5QL-E using a variety of scientific and video benchmarks to see how well it scores at stock and overclocked speeds. Then I am going to put it up agaist several motherboards to see how it compares. All settings, voltages, timings, and latencies will be run at stock specifications to keep out any variables that may interfere with the scores and cause unwanted results.

 

Testing Setup:

 

Comparison Motherboard:

 

We here at Overclockersclub.com have just recently switched from the 8800 video card as our testing video card to the HD4850, so at this time, there is only one other motherboard that we are able to compare the ASUS P5QL-E to. We will be launching more reviews with more motherboards being compared very soon, so check back at a later time.  

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked settings:

When it came to overclocking the Intel Core 2 Q9450 on the ASUS P5QL-E I ran into a few problems getting it stable anywhere above 2940MHz (420x7). Leaving all of the voltage settings on auto, I was able to get the FSB frequency all the way up to 400MHz with a multiplier of 7x. However, I did end up jumping to 1.355V on the CPU voltage to get it stable at 420MHz x 7 Multi giving me the speed of 2940MHz. If I tried to raise the FSB frequency any higher than 420MHz, no matter if the FSB termination voltage was raised to 1.36-1.40 volts or the CPU PLL to 1.4 volts, I would keep getting either a BSOD or just unstable results within 15 minutes of stress testing. I was very dissapointed seeing that I was only able to get 420MHz out of the board. I was aiming more towards 480 to 500MHz on the FSB Frequency.

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. SpecviewPerf 10
  4. PCMark Vantage Professional
  5. Sandra XII
  6. ScienceMark 2.02 Final
  7. Cinebench 10
  8. HD Tune 2.55
  1. Crysis
  2. Knights of the Sea
  3. Bioshock
  4. Call of Duty 4
  5. World in Conflict
  6. Call of Juarez
  7. Company of Heros-Opposing Fronts
  8. 3DMark 06 Professional

Testing:

First up are the system specific benchmarks that will test overall scientific performance. For the science tests, only the scores when paired with the 8800GT discrete card are are shown to make the direct comparison to the other boards with the same setup.

 

To get things stated, I will begin with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:

 

The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB, and 500MB files, as well as test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.

ZIP:

 

RAR:

 

 

During the Zip test the P5QL-E was able to hang in there with the GA-x48-DQ6 in two of the three tests run. However, when we went into the RAR testing, the stock scores of the ASUS P5QL-E were beaten by the Gigabyte board in two out of three tests run.

Testing:

Specview 10 is a benchmark designed to test OpenGL performance. I will be using the multi-threaded tests to measure the performance when run in this mode. The tests used for comparison are listed below. The default multi-threaded tests were chosen to be able to compare across platforms. In these tests, higher scores equate to better performance.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PcMark Vantage is used to measure complete system performance. We will be running a series of tests to gauge performance of each individual board to see which board, if any, rises above the others.

 

The P5QL-E was able to beat out the GA-X48-DQ6 in 4 out of 6 tests in Specview. In the PcMark Vantage testing the P43 chipset based P5QL-E did not perform as well.

Testing:

Sisoft Sandra is a diagnostic utility and synthetic benchmarking program. Sandra allows you to view your hardware at a higher level to be more helpful. For this benchmark, I will be running a broad spectrum of tests to gauge the performance of key areas of the motherboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

 

 

 

Multi-Core Efficiency

 

 

 

Memory Bandwidth

 

 

 

Memory Latency

 

 

Cache and Memory

 

 

 

File System

 

 

 

Physical Disks

 

 

 

Power Management Efficiency

 

 

At the baseline testing mark the P5QL-E kept up with the X48-DQ6 in most of the testing. The memory bandwidth and latency scores are where the P43 based P5QL-E really was out-performed.

Testing:

Sciencemark tests real world performance instead of using synthetic benchmarks. For this test, we ran the benchmark suite and will use the overall score for comparison.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cinebench is useful for testing your system, CPU and OpenGL capabilities using the software program CINEMA 4D. We will be using the default tests for this benchmark.

 

 

 

HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.

 

 

 

In Sciencemark the P5QL-E was beaten both at stock and overclocked speeds. In Cinebench, the end result is much of the same at the stock speeds. Once overclocked, the P5QL-E wins this test. The drive testing shows no appreciable difference in performance, either positive or negative.

Testing:

Crysis is a new addition to the gaming benchmark suite used at OverclockersClub.com. This game is one of the most anticipated and system intensive games in the market right now. The Crysis single player demo includes a GPU benchmark to test the performance of the video card installed in the system. 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The P5QL-E was able to match the performance of the X48-DQ6 at stock speeds. There is very little to put one board above the other for Crysis.

Testing:

PT Boats: Knights of the Sea is a new DX10 title that features its own proprietary graphics engine currently in development. The game is a combination of real-time strategy and simulation. You have the ability to control the entire crew or just a single member. Play as the German, Russian or Allied navies, and prove your mettle on the open seas.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the Kights of the Sea benchmark the ASUS board was beaten by the Gigabyte board in the lower three resolutions and tied at the maximum resolution.

Testing:

Bioshock is one of the newest games on the market. It is a demanding game that will make your hardware scream for mercy. This first-person shooter allows for an infinite number of weapons and modifications to provide a unique experience each time it is played.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the stock speeds testing the P5QL-E was able to win during the lower resolutions. However, during the higher resolutions, the Gigabyte board won by a few frames. With differences of 1 to 2 frames per second this is a tie game.

Testing:

Call of Duty 4 : Modern Warfare is the successor to the Call of Duty crown. This iteration of the game is fought in many of the world's hot spots with modern armaments and firepower. You can play as either a US Marine or British SAS trooper. Since this game does not feature an in-game test, I will run through a section of the game and measure average FPS using Fraps 2.9.3.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Again, the performance of the two boards is very close at all four resolutions tested.

Testing:

World In Conflict is a newly released DX10, real-time strategy game that simulates the all-out war the world hopes never comes. The difference in this RTS game is that it is not the typical "generate wealth and build" type of game. Instead, you advance by conquering your foe.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ASUS board and the Gigabyte boards were very close in results, but the ASUS board did slightly better.

Testing:

Call of Juarez is a DX10, first-person shooter set in the Wild West of the late 1800's. The game is inspired, in part, by the movies of the Wild West genre of the seventies and eighties. The game can be played as both single player and multiplayer. The game focuses on realistic graphics and gameplay designed to take advantage of the latest video cards on the market.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The two middle resolutions are where the ASUS board was able to beat the Gigabyte board by one frame per second. However, in the lowest and the highest resolution tested, the ASUS P5QL-E was tied with the X48-DQ6.

Testing:

Company of Heroes: Opposing Fronts is the latest chapter in the Company of Heroes series. The scene is WWII. The mission is Operation Market Garden, the first allied attempt to break into the Third Reich. Play as the British or Germans. This real-time strategy game is brought to us by Relic Entertainment.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The scores during this test were very close to being the same, but the Gigabyte board did pull ahead of the ASUS board here. When the ASUS was overclocked, it was able to beat the Gigabyte, except at the 1920x1200 resolution.

Testing:

3DMark06 is one of the benchmarks that always comes up when a bragging contest is begun. 3DMark06 presents a severe test for many of today's hardware components. Let's see how this setup fares. The settings we will use are listed below.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The ASUS board was not able to keep up in the 3DMark06 benchmark during the lower resolutions but held its own and was only beaten by 42 points in the highest tested resolution.

Extras:

With not only the rising price of energy out there but also with more and more of the general public being aware of their "footprint" they are going to leave behind on the Earth after they leave, many are wanting to save as much energy as they possibly can to help keep our planet cleaner. This is where ASUS has zoned in on these concerns and added an EPU chip on the ASUS P5QL-E that will help control how much energy is being used, not only during idle times by backing down the amount of energy going through the board, but also by turning features off as they are not needed. Let's take a closer look at this software that was bundled up with the P5QL-E as ASUS's way of "Going Green!"

 

 

When you first go to start the EPU Six Engine, if you are like me and have your computer overclocked, you are given a warning saying that you are unable to start the EPU Six Engine with your overclocked settings enabled - you must disable them and restart the system.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When you restart your system, get into the BIOS and disable your overclock and all your CPU configuration settings, get back into Windows and restart the EPU Six Engine, you are going to be hit with another message. This time it is saying that to begin, the EPU Six Engine must be calibrated before you can get into it. Well, thats fine - whatever it needs to do. When you click the Calibrate button, it will bring up a progress bar that does not take that long to calibrate.  

 

 

Once it has been calibrated, you must again restart your system. When you get back into Windows, you are finally able to launch the EPU Six Engine for the last time. The first screen you are going to see is nice and neat and very "Techy" feeling as some may call it. This screen is where you are going to find all the information about how "green" you are and how much CO2 emissions you have prevented by reducing the power your computer has used. When you click the picture button of the CPU, a window to the left will pop up showing you how much power your processor is currently drawing and how much you are saving just by your processor alone. All of this information is in real-time.

 

 

Well you know that I am going to want to test to see if this real time is actually going to do anything, so I opened up the task manager, the resource manager, as well as OCCT:PK to begin a little stress test to see if the wattage usage and the CPU energy savings are going to fluctuate, which they did end up changing. After one and a half quick minutes, the CPU wattage usage had gone up from around 17Watts to over 40Watts while the CPU Energy Savings dropped to 0.

 

Well let's get down and see what settings we can change, which is where all of the fun is, seeing how much power you can save...or not save. By clicking the button at the bottom labeled "setting" you are able to bring up the four different pre-set settings. The first one you have is a slider bar that you are able to change, that will control how much your CPU Frequency is reduced by. This is from -10% to -30% with the stock setting at -10%. There are also Turn off hard drive and AI Nap times that you can control here which, by default, are set at never. The next auto setting you are only able to change the hard drive and AI Nap time settings. The next two auto settings you are able to change all of the different options. The CPU Frequency slider bar goes all the way from -1% to -50% on these two pages. You can also change the voltage settings for both the CPU as well as the chipset and have them use reduced power during down time. You can set the software to control your fans that are attached to the fan headers on the motherboard here as well. The CPU Loadline can also be altered on these two settings.

 

 

 

I wanted to see how much CO2 Emission I would be able to prevent in a 3 minute time period with all of the settings set to high. I have the CPU Frequency set at -50%, the Loadline Calibration at High, the CPU Voltage Decrease at High, etc. In these three minutes, I was able to save 70.664mg of CO2.  

 

If you were to leave your computer on, like we all know we do, in a 24 hour period with these settings, I would be able to save 33918.72mg of CO2, just by tweaking a few settings on my computer!  

 

 

 

Conclusion:

What is there to say about the ASUS P5QL-E? Well for starters, this board is a great looking board that looks like it would be able to hold its own against some of the other boards that are currently out on the market, and by thinking that, you would be correct. I would like to mention that when I first opened up the packaging and got my first look at the ASUS P5QL-E, I was dissapointed due to the simple layout of the motherboard. I was not very impressed by where ASUS decided to place the 24 Pin power connector, by the rear I/O panel, making it harder to hide wires. Not only is your wire management option lessened, you also have to lay the power cables between the P43 heatsink and your video card. Speaking of video cards, I love the fact that there is a PCI-E 2.0 slot on the board, allowing you to use the latest and greatest graphics cards. However, it would have been nice to add a second one for multiple GPU setup. The ASUS Express Gate is a great idea and worked out pretty well - I was able to get on the Internet in a very short time after I pressed the power button, and the other software that was included (AI Suite) has always been a nice little way to overclock your computer for those "suicide" runs. I was not very impressed with the BIOS for the simple fact that under the Hardware Management tab, you were not given any other "real-time" voltages other than the Processor and the RAM. I was very impressed by the EPU Six Engine software that was included with the motherboard as well - this piece of software was able help me save more CO2 Emissions that I thought I would be able to, as well as making me aware of how much power a computer actually uses and how easy it is to keep them from using as much as they want to. The P5QL-E was able to perform very well when it was put up against the GA-X48-DQ6, which is always a good thing to see. It did not win big in the benchmarking game, but it held its own. I would suggest this board to anyone who is a mild gamer that is not very big on overclocking, as there is no Crossfire/SLI option for this board, nor was I able to overclock the board very far. The one big positive is that in today's killer pricing environment, it is nice to see a board deliver some performance for around $100 instead of the $350 to $400+ price tag that enthusiast boards are burdened with.

 

 Pros:

 

Cons: