Asus P6T Deluxe OC Edition Review
Reviewed by: ccokeman
Reviewed on: November 26, 2008
The Intel Core I7 processors and X58 chipset were officially introduced about three weeks ago to much fanfare. People who do real work were ecstatic about the performance in real world tasks whereas the gamers were a little disappointinted because of the lack of a significant performance increase from the now last generation platforms. But you can't please everyone, can you? Enthusiasts and gamers will buy the processors and platform if the price is right and then there are the folks who will buy it just to have the latest and greatest with the majority going to people and corporations that know little or nothing about the enthusiast side of this addiction. They just want a system that does more work for less energy consumed. The fears of being unable to overclock on the new hardware were just that, fears based on inaccurate information since you have seen by now that the Nehalem processors and X58 platform do indeed overclock and offer up huge memory bandwidth and better performance as a whole when compared against a similarly clocked Penryn processor.
The motherboard manufacturers were ready with boards available for the introduction of the platform, one of those manufacturers being Asus. The P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition motherboard is one of the high end boards that Asus makes for this platform and includes everything you need to get started, including the OC Palm tool that is a point of difference. The P6T Deluxe sports a 16+2 phase power design to help generate some serious overclocks by maintaining voltage stability and cleaner power, support for 12 gigabytes of DDR3 1600 (OC) memory, onboard SAS capability and last, but not least, the answer to the gamers who prefer multi GPU solutions since now there is a platform that will support both CrossfireX as well as SLI on the same motherboard. After seeing the performance of the Core I7 965 on the DX58SO from Intel, it's time to take a look at the P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition from Asus!
The Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition motherboard comes in a box that is a bit more subdued than the P45 board I last looked at. No flashy metallic blue box here, just a little blue to be a point of difference. The front panel more than makes up for the flashy box with the wealth of information contained on this panel. Highlights include the exclusive nature of the OC Palm tool included in this package, the SLI and Crossfire X support, 16+2 phase power design, 100% Japanese made solid capacitors, SAS capability and more. The rear panel goes into detail about the TurboV and OCpalm software and features, while the flip up front panel highlights the cooling system, Expressgate and much more.
Popping the box open, the P6T Deluxe is the first thing you see hidden under a clear cover. Underneath this container is the box that holds the substantial bundle of accessories. All of it packaged securely.
Let's pull the parts out and look at the motherboard and bundle to see what's available!
Asus has been one of the manufacturers that provides a decent bundle of accessories that often include innovative replacements for the standard parts. An example of this would be the I/O panel that minimizes electronic noise and reduces the likelihood of an errant static electrical charge damaging the board when connecting components to the I/O area. Getting back to the bundle, the items are indeed enough to fill all of the connection options on the P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition. Documentation is limited to the driver disc and manual.
Since there is plenty to look at, I'll start with the SLI bridge connector something many manufacturers neglect to include. The Q panel I/O panel is designed to reduce the electronic noise and static electrical charges that can be discharged when connections are being made.
One thing that has been copied by a few other board manufacturers are the Q-connectors. This connector is one of the coolest parts that Asus sends with its boards. It allows you to make your front panel and USB connections to the front panel case wiring and then push the connector into place instead of fighting a mass of small wires. The Q-Fan is used over the MOSFET heatsinks around the socket when water cooling is used but if you can make them work with a large air cooled heatsink there is no reason not to use it. To install a 40x40mm fan to the northbridge heatsink you will need to use the included studs to attach it; of course, read the instructions for proper installation.
Drive connectivity is included in the way of six SATA cables, one IDE cable and two SAS cables. There is an expansion braket that enables the consumer to use the additional onboard USB 2.0 and 1394 headers.
Now absolutely the coolest accessory I have ever seen included with a motherboard is the OC Palm overclocking tool that is alluded to in the name of the board. This tool connects to the board via a USB cable allowing you to do quite a few things. Overclocking being one of those things. To do this you use the TurboV utility. Monitoring of the available temperatures and using Yahoo widgets are other things it can do. Yahoo widgets are small applications that can be viewed on the OC Palm tool. Things such as system resources, stock tickers and even fantasy football stats to name just a few. The front panel contains the navigation buttons including the scroll button on the left with the enter and return buttons on the right.
The top contains the power button and configurable hot keys while the back side includes the USB 2.0 connection and the flip out stand so you can easily view the screen on your desk.
The screen quality is actually better than I expected from a device like this. Included are a few screen shots of the screens available.
The P6T Deluxe is an ATX form factor mainboard built for use with Intel socket 1366 Core I7 processors, including the Extreme Edition 965. The board is built around the Intel X58 and ICH10R chipsets. With six memory slots available, the P6T offers support for up to 12 gigabytes of DDR3 1600, 1333, and 1066MHz memory in a tri-channel configuration with a maximum bandwidth capability of 2536GB/s. Cooling capabilities come in the form of a large interconnected network of heatpipes and heatsinks over the critical heat generating components. Asus continues to use the "Stack Cool" technology to reduce the operating temperatures of the heat generating components by using the special Stack Cool PCB to help dissipate the thermal load. The massive heatsink over the X58 chipset is bolted in place while the rest of the heatpipe assembly is held in place via push pins. On the backside of the PCB there is an additional bracket for the LGA 1366 socket. Even with this additional bracket the Thermalright TRUE I will use for cooling has no interference issues to note.
The I/O panel is where you will make almost all of your external connections. One thing that stands out right away is the multi colored PS/2 port. This port can be used for either a PS/2 mouse or keyboard. There are a total of eight USB2.0 ports, two gigabit LAN ports, one 1394 IEEE firewire port, one E-SATA port, one Coaxial Optical S/PDIF output, one Optical S/PDIF port and the 7.1 HD sound connections. The I/O panel offers a pretty wide array of connectivity options, including the older PS/2 connectivity for backwards compatability. Expansion capabilities come in the way of three x16 PCI-E slots that operate in either 16x/16x/1x or 16x/8x/8x/ mode and support up to Quad GPU SLI or CrossfireX technologies, one x4 PCI-E slot and two PCI slots. In between the two PCI expansion slots resides the Expressgate SSD module.
Along the bottom edge and up the right face of the P6T Deluxe is where most of the internal connectivity options are laid out. Along the bottom there are the internal sound header, the floppy drive connector (yes it's still here), the IEEE1394 internal Firewire header, three additional USB2.0 headers, the onboard power and reset switches to make the overclockers happy, the TPM module header, the overvoltage jumpers and the front panel header that contains the connectivity for the external power and reset switches and lighting.
Moving up the right side of the board there are the SATA connections. The red connections are managed by the ICH10R chipset, while the orange connections are managed by the Marvell SAS RAID controller. After working with the Intel DX58SO board that did not feature a floppy drive or IDE connection, it is refreshing to see that the aftermarket has included these options. Eventually they will go away, but not yet. Next in line is the 24-pin ATX power supply connection followed by the six DDR3 DIMM slots fan headers and the CMOS battery. It's an odd place to put it, but as tight as real estate is on this board, there doesn't appear to be many other options.
The area around the LGA1366 socket is pretty crowded with the 16+2 phase power design, heatsinks and 100% Japanese made conductive polymer capacitors. Even with the crowded real estate a Thermalright TRUE CPU cooler fit quite easily.
The cooling solution for the X58 chipset is a large aluminum/copper composite blow through design that takes advantage of the airflow generated by the stock Intel heatsink. For aftermarket cooling you can use the supplied extended mouting bolts to attach a single 40x40mm fan to the heatsink. The ICH10R is covered with a large heasink that is interconnected to the X58 chipset heatsink via a heatpipe.
Let's take a look at the BIOS to see what actually makes this thing tick.
The BIOS used by Asus on the P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition is by American Megatrends and is indicative of many of its latest releases in the structure used. The latest BIOS revision at the time of this review is version 0904, so far the best of the many I have received on this board. That just shows that Asus is willing to meet the needs of the enthusiast community and be receptive to fixing small issues. The BIOS navigation is just like riding a bike after a long layoff. The structure is familiar and soon I found all of the items I was looking for. Continuity from one series to another is great. The most changes occurred in the A.I.Tweaker section because of the new settings and architecture changes. Let's get familiar with this revision.
There is not much contained on this page but what is there is useful information. The date and time, list of the recognized optical and hard drives as well as their configuration. Under the system configuration there is a brief snapshot of the system components.
This section is where the enthusiast can have some fun and maximize the system performance. This section is looked at in greater detail a little later.
This section is where the advanced CPU parameters can be adjusted. Things such as the Intel Hyperthreading technology, CPU Ratio setting, Virtualization and more. Additionally, the on-board devices can be enabled or disabled based on the hardware configuration you choose to use. Configuring the USB ports LAN connections and more can be accomplished under this section.
The Power section allows for setting up the Advanced Power Management features. The Hardware monitor section shows the temperatures and voltages the P6T Deluxe is capable of displaying. Here is where you can customize the fan speeds or disable the automatic contol and manually set the fan speeds.
The Boot settings are for changing the Boot drive priority as well as configuring items concerning the boot process such as the full screen logo and interrupt messages.
This section contains one of the best tools on the board, the EzFlash utility for flashing the BIOS. Asus has been incorporating this into its motherboard for a while now and is a simple to use utility that works every time. No longer is flashing a BIOS a dark art left for the guy at the computer shop with the tape on his glasses. You can enable or disable the Expressgate feature as well as configure the timeout when it goes into the O/S. You can save your overclocked profiles in the Asus OC Profile section. This enables you to save your "Good" settings while you try some less stable, more aggressive settings. A.I. Net2 enables checking of the LAN cables during the POST sequence.
Now let's dig a little deeper into the A.I.Tweaker section to see what's available for the enthusiast!
The AI Tweaker section of the BIOS is where you make the magic happen. In this section you can adjust the voltages, memory speeds and subtimings, skew levels and more to get the most from the hardware installed in the P6T Deluxe. The first thought with this BIOS is that I thought I had a DFI motherboard; those who are familiar will understand that comment, for the rest, DFI offered a level of tweakability that not many, if any, manufacturers choose to show in the BIOS. This is a back handed compliment I guess. But the BIOS has plenty of adjustment ability, so if you want to get down and dirty and touch each setting, you have that ability. There are only two pages to this section but they are filled with adjustments, these pages are the main and memory timings page.
Starting at the top of the page you have the A.I. Overclock tuner that can be set to Auto, Manual, D.O.C.P., or XMP. Auto is, of course, just that everything is set for you. Manual gives you full control over all of the settings, D.O.C.P. is used for memory overclocking via the baseclock frequency while XMP has all of the options optimized for overclocked operation and sets the speeds and voltages on the installed components so that they can operate in this mode. CPU ratio setting allows you to incease or decrease the baseclock multiplier up to the maximum capabilities of the processor. The I7 965 will allow a multiplier of 63 maximum.
Intel Speedstep and Turbo tech mode can only be set to enabled or disabled. The Turbotech function allows the processor to bump up the clock frequency by increasing the baseclock multiplier in situations where additional performance is needed. On the I7 CPUs this is bumped by 1 or 2 multiplier steps.
The DRAM frequency allows you to set the starting frequency level for the system memory. This setting is the starting point so when setting this the thing to remember is that adjusting the baseclock frequency will increase the memory speed and result in instability if you do not take this into account. The UNCLK clock frequency must at all times be exactly 2x the memory speed or greater. The QPI data rate can be lowered to increase the memory speed but you may take a hit in perfromance if you move down too early. The 6400MT/s setting is only available with the I7 965.
Before the voltage options are the memory subtimings and skew levels. This page is accessed by entering the DRAM timing control. This is the part of the BIOS that is reminiscent of DFI motherboards at least for me, you can see why. At least the options are there when the time comes to push the limits.
The voltage controls on the P6T fall at the lower end of the A.I.Tweaker page. Most of what you would expect is there along with some new items. CPU voltage without changing the high voltage jumper is locked at 1.7 volts but is capable of 2.1 volts. The PLL volts start at 1.8 volts and can be adjusted up to 2.5volts! The QPI/DRAM voltage control is for the memory controller voltage. Upping this can help with baseclock overclocking. It is adjustable up to 1.9volts after the additional voltage jumper is enabled.
The ICH and IOH voltages can help with baseclock overclocking as seen on the DX58SO, The DRAM bus voltage can be adjusted upwards of 2.4 volts with the overvoltage jumper being changed to accommodate this. Intel specifies that memory voltage should not exceed 1.65 volts for long term reliability. With the current crop of memory coming out to support the Core I7 and X58 platforms at speeds of up to 1000MHz at 1.65 volts, the additional voltage may well not be needed.
Additional options are available to squeeze the most from the I7 CPU and the P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition. Adjusting these parameters can help you achieve that massive overclock you are looking for but your mileage may vary. DRAM reference voltages adjustable by channel, loadline calibration, and voltage skew settings are some of these options.
Whew! If you cannot make this board perform with the tweaking options, it's back to basics for you.
Just because you have all the pretty parts installed and the operating system installed you cannot expect to have everything work as it should or get the performance you expect from the combination of parts without the drivers or instructions that make the hardware work properly. Just try playing a demanding video game without the video card drivers! You will quickly see the reasoning behind installing the drivers to get the most from your parts. The first thing after the OS is installed would be to pop the driver disc into any optical drive in the system and allow the autorun window to pop up. Once this happens, choose to run the application and you are welcomed with the driver installation GUI. There are five tabs available with each one offering something different. The first tab is the driver installation tab followed by the utilities tab. These two will be the ones used by the vast majority of users. Asus makes the installation of the drivers a one step process with the "Install All" option. When you choose this option choose the appropriate drivers for your install and press go. The system will reboot after several of the installations but the process is pretty seamless and less labor intensive than the choose/wait/reboot of the past.
The Utilities tab follows the same priciple with the Install All option. Again, choose all of the items you want to install and walk away for a few minutes and grab a drink. Then you should be just about done depending on the number of programs installed. The list on the P6T is pretty expansive so it can take a while.
The remaining tabs are going to be a little less useful. There is the Make disk tab, which allows you to make a driver disk for installing Windows onto a RAID setup. The Manual tab is just that, a place where you can get the manual if you lose the one supplied with the P6T Deluxe. Last is the Contact page that provides contact numbers for Asus around the world.
As part of the utilities package Asus has included the usual monitoring, BIOS update and performance enhancing programs to provide an all in one solution for the majority of people. Asus Update allows you to update the BIOS from within the Windows environment. Not the recommended way to update the BIOS but it did work for me. Asus Probe II is a proprietary monitoring application that will display temperatures, voltages and fan speeds. The one issue I see with this board is the lack of voltages that are monitored.
The AISuite contains all of the energy saving and overclocking applications that the P6T Deluxe has the capability of using. First up is the Fan Expert. In this application you can set up fan profiles and individually tailor them to your needs. Turbo V is the Overclocking/ Voltage adjustment tool. This tool offers up the ability to increase the voltages and the baseclock frequency from within the Windows environment. It's a great little tool to play with and test the system's limits. You have many of the pertinent voltages as well as the baseclock frequency and clock multiplier available to use.
The EPU6 engine is an energy saving system on the P6T Deluxe motherboard that combines software and hardware to make real changes to limit your energy consumption when full system power is not needed. During my testing I saw real savings when the maximum power savings mode was enabled. Almost 30 watts under load on the CPU alone. That's real savings when the economy is down and every penny counts. The EPU6 software is configurable so that you are not hemmed in to preset combinations and can modify each of the presets to your liking or power profile.
The OC Palm software is used for the OC Palm Handheld. Basically, you get all the functionality of the handheld on the main computer monitor screen. This makes setup and configuration a little easier and with a much larger picture. All of the tools available for use can be setup in this application so that the use of the OC Palm is seamless. To start you will need to choose which applications you will want to use. The Yahoo widgets can be used and displayed on the screen. Things such as stock tickers, system resource monitoring tools, games and even viewing fantasy football stats are things that are possible. Additionally, there are the monitoring and overclocking tools included with the P6T Deluxe. These can be configured to view all of the voltages, fan speeds and temperatures that the P6T can monitor. TurboV can be accessed to adjust the baseclock speeds as well as adjust the CPU core voltage, the memory voltage, QPI DRAM core voltage; enough adjustments to get some baseline settings.
Asus includes another handy little bit of hardware on the P6T Deluxe OC Palm edition motherboard. Some of you may have seen it and others have not, but Expressgate is a tool that allows access to the internet, your pictures, a voice over IP program and some online games. The application is accessed as soon as the motherboard boots and features a small Linux distribution that literally is the OS on a flash drive. This tool helps you out when you need access to the internet but do not want to spend the time waiting for the primary OS to install or boot before you can get online. Five seconds to boot is a little ambitious but it is much faster than going all the way into the OS if you need to get online quickly. Even so, in case you get held online, you can access the included IM client and Skype if you need to hear someone's voice, besides the ones in your head!
Enough about the board and what it looks like and comes with. I want to see what it has to offer in terms of performance and overclocking ability.
Intel® Socket 1366 Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition/Core™ i7 Processor Supports Intel® Dynamic Speed Technology
Intel® X58 / ICH10R
Up to 6400 MT/s ; Intel® QuickPath Interconnection
6 x DIMM, Max. 12 GB, DDR3 1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (at x16/x16/x1 or x16/x8/x8 mode)
Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way or Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers 2*Marvell88E8056® PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
ADI® AD2000B 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
VIA® VT6308 controller supports 2 x 1394a ports (one at mid-board; one at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features
ASUS Exclusive Features:
ASUS TurboV utility
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/ Mouse combo port
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports
16 Mb Flash ROM
WfM 2.0,DMI 2.0,WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE
ATX Form Factor
- CPU, Chipset and Graphics features
- LGA1366 The Best Intel® Bloomfield Processor Ready: This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Core™ i7 processors in LGA1366 package which has memory controller integrated to support 3-channel (6 DIMMs) DDR3 memory. Supporting Intel(R) QuickPath Interconnect (QPI) with system bus up to 6.4GT/s and a max bandwidth of up to 25.6GB/s, the Intel® Core™ i7 processor is one of the most powerful and energy efficient CPU in the world.
- PCIe 2.0: Double Speed; Double Bandwidth This motherboard supports the latest PCIe 2.0 devices for double speed and bandwidth which enhances system performance.
- SLI and CrossFireX on Demand: Flexible Multi-GPU solutions, Your Weapon of Choice! The P6T Deluxe Series breaks the boundaries to bring you the multi-GPU choice of either Nvidia® SLI™ or ATI® CrossFireX™. Get ready to change your gaming style with faster frame rates!
- Memory Features: Triple-Channel DDR3 1600(O.C.)/1333/1066: The motherboard supports DDR3 memory that features data transfer rates of 1600 (O.C.) /1333 / 1066 MHz to meet the higher bandwidth requirements of the latest 3D graphics, multimedia, and Internet applications. The triple-channel DDR3 architecture enlarges the bandwidth of your system memory to boost system performance.
- ASUS Exclusive Features: OC Palm: Versatile, Real-time OC Hardware Controller! Imagine overclocking in real-time on a side screen without interrupting ongoing work and games. With the stylish ASUS OC Palm, you can easily perform overclocking functions; and monitor system temperatures and fan speeds with ease. It also supports the Yahoo! Widgets feature for online displays of real-time info like weather, stock prices and web-mail alerts. *Note: While using Yahoo! Widgets, OC Palm serves as a side display monitor only.
- ASUS TurboV: New OC Records with Real-Time Super-precise Tunings Feel the adrenaline rush of real-time OC - now a reality with the ASUS TurboV. This extreme OC tool lets you set new ambitions on the OC stage with an advanced and easy-to-use interface - allowing you to overclock without exiting or rebooting the OS. With micro adjustments of the CPU PLL, NB, NB-PCIe, and DRAM voltages in 0.02v intervals, there are no limits - only extreme results to break new OC records!
- ASUS True 16+2 Phase Power Design: Unprecedented Innovation with the Best Quality Component for Best Performance The groundbreaking 16+2 phase VRM design is brrought to the ASUS motherboards. 16+2 phase power design, 16-phase for vCore and extra 2-phase for QPI/Memory controller inside CPU, can provide the highest power efficiency, and hence generates less heat to effectively enhance the overclocking capability. With the high quality power components such as low RDS (on) MOSFETs, Ferrite core chokes with lower hysteresis loss and 100% Japan-made high quality conductive polymer capacitors, ASUS 16+2 phase VRM design also ensure longer component life and minimum power loss.
- ASUS Express Gate SSD: 5 Secs Bootup to online Taking only 5 seconds to go online from bootup, Express Gate is the one-stop gateway to instant fun! It´s a unique motherboard built-in OS. You can utilize the most popular Instant Messengers (IM) like MSN, Skype, Google talk, QQ, and Yahoo! Messenger to keep in touch with friends, or quickly check on the weather and e-mails just before leaving your house. What´s more, the user-friendly picture manager lets you view your pictures without entering Windows at anytime!
- ASUS Power Saving Solution: ASUS EPU System Level Energy Saving The ASUS EPU providing total system power savings by detecting current PC loadings and intelligently moderating power in real-time. It automatically provides the most appropriate power usage for the CPU, VGA card, memory, chipset, hard drives, and system fan- helping save power and money!
- AI Nap: Minimize noise and power consumption when temporarily away! With AI Nap, users can instantly snooze your PC without terminating the tasks. System will continue operating at minimum power and noise when user is temporarily away. It keeps downloading files or running applications in quietest state while you´re sleeping. Simply click keyboard or mouse, you can swiftly wake up the system in few seconds.
- ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution Wind-Flow Thermal Design: Super-cool, Super-quiet Thermal Design Enjoy a super cool and quiet PC environment with the innovative Wind Flow Thermal Design. With specifically-engineered copper pipes, this thermal design effectively manages the airflow of the CPU fan and directs system heat away from the PC - resulting in efficient heat dissipation to lower overall system temperature and prolong system lifespans.
- Up to 20°C(36°F) Cooler - Stack Cool 2: Effective Fanless Heat Dissipation at 0dB Stack Cool 2 is a fanless cooling solution offered exclusively by ASUS. It effectively and noiselessly transfers heat generated by the critical components to the other side of the specially designed PCB (printed circuit board) for effective heat dissipation - making temperatures cooler by up to 20°C.
- Fan Xpert: Active Quiet & Cool ASUS Fan Xpert intelligently allows users to adjust both the CPU and chassis fan speed according to different ambient temperature , which is caused by different climate conditions in different geographic regions and system loading.Built-in variety of useful profiles offer flexible controls of fan speed to achieve a quiet and cool environment.
- ASUS Crystal Sound: Noise Filtering Eliminate background noise while recording This feature detects repetitive and stationary noises like computer fans, air conditioners, and other background noises then eliminates it in the incoming audio stream while recording.
- ASUS EZ DIY: Q- Shield Easy and Comfortable Installations The specially designed ASUS Q-Shield does without the usual "fingers" - making it convenient and easy to install. With better electric conductivity, it ideally protects your motherboard against static electricity and shields it against Electronic Magnetic Interference (EMI).
- Q-Connector: Make connection quick and accurate! The ASUS Q-Connector allows you to connect or disconnect chassis front panel cables in one easy step with one complete module. This unique adapter eliminates the trouble of plugging in one cable at a time, making connection quick and accurate.
- EZ-Flash 2: Simply update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS EZ Flash 2 is a user-friendly BIOS update utility. Simply launch this tool and update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS. You can update your BIOS only in a few clicks without preparing an additional floppy diskette or using an OS-based flash utility.
- O.C. Profile: Conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings Freely share and distribute favorite overclocking settings The motherboard features the ASUS O.C. Profile that allows users to conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings. The BIOS settings can be stored in the CMOS or a separate file, giving users freedom to share and distribute their favorite overclocking settings.
- Industry Standard SAS onboard Fast and Stable Data Transfers SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) is a workstation-level storage solution, which is faster than traditional SATA drive and with the server-level data reliability. Backward-compatible with SATA devices, onboard SAS ports can be both flexible and future proofed.
- SATA on the Go:
The motherboard supports the next-generation hard drives based on the Serial ATA (SATA) 3Gb/s storage specification, delivering enhanced scalability and doubling the bus bandwidth for high-speed data retrieval and saves. The external SATA port located at the back I/O provides smart setup and hot-plug functions. Easily backup photos, videos and other entertainment contents on external devices.
- Dual Gigabit LAN: The integrated dual Gigabit LAN design allows a PC to serve as a network gateway for managing traffic between two separate networks. This capability ensures rapid transfer of data from WAN to LAN without any added arbitration or latency.
- IEEE 1394a interface IEEE 1394a interface provides high speed digital interface for audio/video appliances such as digital television, digital video camcorders, storage peripherals & other PC portable devices.
- High Definition Audio:Enjoy high-end sound system on your PC! The onboard 8-channel HD audio (High Definition Audio, previously codenamed Azalia) CODEC enables high-quality 192KHz/24-bit audio output, jack-sensing feature, retasking functions and multi-streaming technology that simultaneously sends different audio streams to different destinations. You can now talk to your partners on the headphone while playing a multi-channel network games. All of these are done on one computer. .
- S/PDIF-out on Back I/O Port:This motherboard provides convenient connectivity to external home theater audio systems via coaxial and optical S/PDIF-out (SONY-PHILIPS Digital Interface) jacks. It allows to transfer digital audio without converting to analog format and keeps the best signal quality.
- ROHS: Green ASUS: The motherboard and its packaging comply with the European Union´s Restriction on the use of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). This is in line with the ASUS vision of creating environment-friendly and recyclable products and packaging to safeguard consumers´ health while minimizing the impact on the environment.
All information on this page courtesy of Asus @ http://www.asus.com/products.aspx?l1=3&l2=179&l3=815&l4=0&model=2588&modelmenu=1
To see just what kind of performance the Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition is capable of I will run it through the OverclockersClub benchmarking suite. This contains synthetic and gaming benchmarks to show how it performs. I will compare the P6T against the Intel DX58SO and our current testing platform with an Intel QX9770 instead of the usual Q9450 you are used to seeing. This will give a comparison against a current platform as well as the last generation's best processor on a high performing X48 based motherboard. All of the stock testing is run with the factory default settings in the BIOS, save for manually setting the memory clock speeds, voltage and processor voltage. On the X58 boards Turbo mode has been disabled to eliminate any variables due to changing clock speeds during single and multi threaded benchmarks. SMT was enabled during testing as well. To overclock the P6T I will push the limits and try to show results that should be easily duplicated based on the capabilities of your CPU and system memory.
Testing Setup I7:
- Processor: Intel Core I7 965 133x24
- Motherboard: Asus P6T OC Palm Edition
- Memory: Qimonda 3x1GB DDR3 1066MHz 7-7-7-20 1.5v
- Video Card(s): Palit HD4850
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800watt Modular Power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Opticals: LG DVD-RW
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
Testing Setup Core2:
- Processor: Intel QX9770
- Motherboard: Gigabyte X48-DQ6
- Memory: Mushkin Redline XP2 8000 2 x 2 GB 5-5-5-12
- Video Card(s): Palit HD4850
- Power Supply: Mushkin 800watt Modular Power supply
- Hard Drive: 1 x Seagate 1TB SATA
- Opticals: LG DVD-RW
- O/S: Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
- Processor: Intel Core I7 965 203x19 1.4125 volts
- Sytem Memory: Qimonda 3x1GB 9-8-8-22 811MHz 1.64volts
The Core I7 965 processor used in this review has pushed a maximum frequency of 3.97GHz but truthfully it was too hot for day to day stability at the voltage required. As seen in the Core I7 review it was fully capable of passing the entire OverclockersClub benchmark suite. On the Smackover board I was able to push a maximum baseclock frequency of 150MHz, so ultimately I had to overclock via the multiplier to reach the maximum clock speed of 3.97GHz at 1.425 volts. On the P6T I took a different path to reach the maximum frequency of 3.87GHz. To start, I pushed the baseclock frequency up until the system would not boot, then adjusted the vCore and QPI/DRAM voltage up in small increments until I would reach the next plateau and then repeated the voltage adjustments. With this method I was able to boot all the way up to a baseclock of 210MHz. On the way to a 200+ baseclock frequency I had to keep the maximum clock speed at the level my CPU would work at. By keeping the memory voltage below the level specified by Intel I was able to get the memory up to 811MHz at 9-8-8-22. This is all without playing with the skew settings so these results should be able to be duplicated fairly easily without the really in depth tweaking that is allowable in this BIOS. One thing to note is that the 0904 BIOS offered is by far the best overclocking of the many BIOSes I had available throughout the testing. The one thing that will hold you back is your comfort level when it comes to the thermal loads a cooling system has to dissipate. At the maximum clock speed and voltages I ran Prime 95 version 25.7 to check for stability and It was not uncommon to see 80+ degrees Celsius with the Thermalright TRUE. Heck, at stock voltages, under load 60+ Celsius was not out of the scope of reality. As with any overclocking your mileage may vary based on the individual components in your system. With the increase in clock speed came a pretty healthy increase in performance during the system benchmarks whereas the gaming only offered small gains. The end result for me is 3.87GHz at 203x19 for 24/7 operation.
- Scientific & Data:
- SpecviewPerf 10
- PCMark Vantage Professional
- Sandra XII
- ScienceMark 2.02
- Cinebench 10
- HD Tune 2.55
- Knights of the Sea
- Call of Duty 4
- World in Conflict
- Far Cry 2
- Company of Heros-Opposing Fronts
- 3DMark 06 Professional
- 3DMark Vantage
The first part of our testing regimen will be the system specific benchmarks.
Let's get started with Apophysis. This program is used primarily to render and generate fractal flame images. We will run this benchmark with the following settings:
- Resolution: 2750x2048
- Quality: 500
- Limit Memory use: 512MB
The measurement used is time to render, in minutes, to complete.
Lower is Better
WinRAR is a tool to archive and compress large files to a manageable size. We will use 10MB, 100MB and 500MB files and test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.
In Apophysis, the performance of the P6T Deluxe trumps that of the DX58SO by the smallest of margins. In the WinRAR testing the results between Intel's offering and that of the Asus are identical. Where the P6T pulls ahead is in the RAR testing. In both the 100MB and 500MB file compression tests the P6T is noticeably faster. It was six seconds faster in the 500MB testing. An improvement at stock speeds. When overclocked to 3.87GHz the score drops dramatically.
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. Since the E8400 is a Dual core CPU results will only be shown in the 2 thread test.
Higher is Better
Higher is Better
Higher is Better
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.
In the Specview testing the old technology has the lead in the two thread Catia testing but falls to the wayside in the other tests. The Asus P6T performs worse than the Intel offering in the Maya testing and better in the PROE tests. The Intel DX58SO performed better in the PCMark Vantage suite.
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.
Cache and Memory
Power Management Efficiency
The P6T Deluxe was a tick slower through most of the benchmarks than the Intel DX58SO. Drive performance was identical, Processor Arithmetic and Power Management Efficiency are where the P6T shined. With the memory pushed a bit higher on the overclock the bandwidth differential between stock and overclocked was about the bandwidth of the socket 775 platform. That's huge.
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.
Higher is Better!
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.
Higher is Better
HD Tune measures disk performance to make comparisons between drives or disk controllers.
Higher is Better
Lower is Better
In Sciencemark 2.0 the Asus board is right at the level of the DX58SO. With performance that close there is no real clear cut answer as to which is better. The Cinebench CPUx1 testing shows the Asus P6T outperforming the Intel offering and the socket 775 X48 from Gigabyte. The multi CPU testing in Cinebench gave results that fell in the realm of run to run variances. The drive testing shows our test drive performed a little better and worse than the DX58SO. CPU usage was drastically lower on the P6T.
Crysis has been out for quite some time now. In that time, there's yet to be a single or multi-GPU setup that can fully showcase the graphics performance of the game. The Crysis single player demo includes both CPU and GPU benchmarks to test the performance of your processor and video card.
- 2x Anti-Aliasing
- Advanced settings to high
At the lower resolutions where the graphics are not a bottleneck the P6T outperforms the rest of the field.
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.
The settings we will use are below:
- AA: x0
- Image Quality: High
- Direct X Version: 10
- All resolutions 60HZ
The P6T is just that smallest of margins quicker in this benchmark than the Core 2 and Intel spec board.
BioShock is one of the creepier games out in the wild, chronicling the building of a perfect Utopian society undersea gone horribly wrong, with its inhabitants driven mad by the introduction of tonics and genetic modifications. Now, Rapture is just a shadow of its former glory, with little girls looting the dead of what little they have left, while being shadowed by guardians known as "Big Daddies." 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. The environment, as well as the storyline, will wrap you up for hours on end.
- All settings to maximum
- V-Sync off
The QX9770 gets the top score in this benchmark until the 1920x1200 resolution where the P6T and Core I7 965 pulls through and scores one FPS higher.
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 U.S. Marine or British S.A.S. 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 2.9.6.
The settings used are listed below:
- Anti-aliasing: x4
- Anistropic Filtering : Max
- Texture Quality: Extra
- All settings max
At 1024x768 the P6T is noticeably faster than the comparison boards. Once the resolutions increase the scores equalize across the board with the DX58SO performing three frames per second slower than the Asus offering at 1920x1200.
World in Conflict: Released last year, World in Conflict is a 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 with limited opportunities to replenish your troops.
The settings we will use are listed below:
- 4 X AA
- 16X AF
- Graphic Detail: Very High
While performance is similar, the Asus P6T Deluxe OC Edition outperformed the Smackover at each resolution, not by much but one FPS is one FPS. Unfortunately, there is not enough of a difference to be seen in game.
Far Cry 2:
"Far Cry 2 has been on the horizon for a while now and is finally here. Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built specially for Far Cry 2, this engine allows for real time effects and damage. This next generation first person shooter comes to us from Ubisoft surprisingly - not from Crytek. The game is set in a war-torn region of Africa where there is a non-existent central government and the chaos that surrounds this type of social environment. If you have seen the movie Blood Diamond, you know the setting. Ubisoft puts the main storyline of the game into focus with these statements: "Caught between two rival factions in war-torn Africa, you are sent to take out "The Jackal," a mysterious character who has rekindled the conflict between the warlords, jeopardizing thousands of lives. In order to fulfill your mission you will have to play the factions against each other, identify and exploit their weaknesses, and neutralize their superior numbers and firepower with surprise, subversion, cunning and, of course, brute force." In this version of the game, you don't have the beautiful water, but instead the beauty and harshness of the African continent to contend with. Most games give you a set area that can be played through, while Ubisoft has given the gamer the equivalent of 50km2 of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. This quick preview is meant as a first look and performance evaluation, so let's take a look at the game."
- Direct X 10
- Game settings to very high
- Vsync off
The two mid resolutions were where the P6T was outperformed by the DX58SO at 1280x1024 and the X48 platform at 1680x1050. The Intel board was however, outperformed at 1920x1200 by the P6T.
Benchmark: Company of Heroes (Opposing Fronts)
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.
- 8x AA
- All other settings to maximum
The P6T outperforms the performance of the Intel board in all four resolutions. The bad is that there is not a performance difference between the older technology...yet!
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.
- SM2.0 Graphics Tests: GT1- Return to Proxycon, GT2- Firefly Forest
- CPU Tests: Cpu1- Red Valley, CPU2- Red Valley
- HDR/SM3.0 Graphics Tests: HDR1- Canyon Flight, HDR2- Deep Freeze
In all four resolutions the P6T was ahead of the older technology but fell to the X58 comparison board at 1680x1050 and 1920x1200 but not by a big enough margin to be concerned about as it won't be noticed in games.
Featuring all-new game tests, this benchmark is for use with Vista based systems. "There are two all-new CPU tests that have been designed around a new 'Physics and Artificial Intelligence-related computation.' CPU test two offers support for physics related hardware." There are four preset levels that correspond to specific resolutions. 'Entry' is 1024x768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920x1200. Of course, each preset can be modified to arrange any number of user designed testing. For our testing, I will use the four presets at all default settings.
- All default settings in each preset level
- Entry 1024x768
- Performance 1280x1024
- High 1680x1050
- Extreme 1920x1200
Across all four resolutions the P6T was again the better performer, exceeding the scores of the Intel offering as well as the X48 platform. At 1024x768 the performance of the two Core I7 systems is substantially higher than the X48 platform.
The P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition has earned its overclocking wings. This is something it does quite well with a minimum amount of tweaking so even the novice can push the realistic limits on performance with a little patience. Leaning hard on the P6T I was able to get to a baseclock frequency of 210 that proved to be stable with only some Super Pi testing. In the end, a baseclock of 203 with a clock multiplier of 19 delivered a prime stable 3.87GHz on the CPU with 811MHz on the Qimonda memory with Turbo Mode disabled. The P6T performed better than the DX58SO in quite a few benchmarks but traded those wins for losses in about the same number of tests. What does that tell you? Both boards are great performers at stock speeds. Where the Asus separated itself from the Intel offering was on the overclocking front. This really was the expected result. The Intel offering was able to gain about the same overclock but did so with a much lower baseclock frequency that results in less memory bandwidth and performance in real tasks and games. When the limits are pushed, the Asus P6T was able to recover from every failed overclocking attempt I tried with a simple shut down and reboot. It even keeps the previous settings but has them set to auto to enable a boot so that they can be reconfigured. Something I grew to appreciate while overclocking on a new platform. The only real beef I have is that the heatsink over the X58 chipset gets hot when pushed. Including a 40x40mm fan with this type of bundle would have helped alleviate some of the heat buildup when a non stock cooling solution is used. Overclocking with the Palm OC tool was pretty simple and came down to adjusting the limited number of variables to gain the most from the test hardware. It did what it is supposed to and allowed overclocking from the handheld as well as from in Windows using the TurboV program. Overclcocking is just one part of the performance equation. What about the power being consumed to run the system? Asus uses its EPU 6 engine to reduce the energy footprint. I found that by setting the engine to max power savings I saved approximately 30+ watts of power consumed over the turbo and high performance settings. The pricing on the OC Palm edition comes in at about $40 more than the regular P6T Deluxe, while the premium for the OC Edition is not bad, it puts the board over the $300 dollar mark. Asus has delivered a product that offers great performance with a great bundle that can be overclocked with a minimum amount of input.
- OC Palm tool
- Great bundle
- SLI and Crossfire capable
- BIOS tweaking
- EPU6 engine
- NB fan not included
- NB hot when pushed