ASUS P6X58-E WS Review

RHKCommander959 - 2011-07-08 14:59:50 in Motherboards
Category: Motherboards
Reviewed by: RHKCommander959   
Reviewed on: September 6, 2011
Price: $279

Introduction:

When looking to purchase a new motherboard consumers must ask themselves a few basic questions. It is good to know how many graphics cards you want or need as this will determine the required number of PCI Express x16 slots. Choosing a platform is important if the board will be in a new system. Currently, as a general rule of thumb, Intel is leading performance while AMD is going for affordability. How many SATA ports needed is another thing to keep in mind, six is usually stock, give or take two, but some high-end boards have up to ten! Some will need a motherboard with the intent of running a server. For this task there are workstation class motherboards such as the ASUS P6X58-E WS motherboard. The x58 chipset was designed for workstation usage and can use either i7 or Xeon CPUs. This motherboard has 16+2 phases, dual Intel 82574L Gigabit LAN ports, 2x SATA 3.0, USB 3.0 supporting newer devices, 3x full x16 PCI Express 2.0 slots, and room for 24GB of DDR3 memory! The board also supports a PCI Express x4 SAS card from ASUS based on the Marvell 88SE6440 chipset and called the SASsaby (like the antelope), but good luck finding one. In any case this board should do great for gaming or server-related duties.

Closer Look:

The packaging for the ASUS P6X58-E WS is modest and clean. As this is a workstation board, it doesn't try to look hip and happening as the enthusiast/gamer motherboards do. The front outlines the primary specifications: i7 and 3-way SLI/CrossFireX support, 2x Intel Gigabit LAN ports, and 2x SATA 3.0 ports. The bottom left corner shows four icons indicating proper uses for this board: gaming, productivity, internet, and server. Flipping the box around we get a glimpse at the motherboard with details laid out. Three of the PCI Express x16 length slots operate at full x16 speed while two run at x8. There is also an x1 slot at the bottom. The board uses a NVIDIA NF200 chip to provide these lanes. People may be curious as to why the slots are all full length but it is for compatibility, any length device can be ran in any length slot as long as there is room. But if they aren't the same length then there is possibly a waste of bandwidth at either the device or slot. Thus x16 length slots are ideal. Technically speaking it is easy to modify a smaller-than-x16 slot by clipping the back off to fit a larger card, many Folding@Home high-output users do this at home to fit more graphics cards in. But a full length slot provides more structural support (and bandwidth) than an x1! The board comes paired with dual server-class Intel 82574L Gigabit LAN compatible with Windows, Linux, CenOS, and Ubuntu. The LAN chipset also has VMware certification for virtual technology support. Two USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 ports provide some future proofing. The board supports up to eight channels of high definition audio. For diagnostics, a small card was included that plugs in and provides power and reset buttons as well as a standard two LED HEX outputs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The front is a flap that opens to provide more information. There are twelve features that are explained on the flap. First is the 16+2 phase power: 16 for vCore and 2 for QPI/memory. The components used are quality, low RDS MOSFETs, ferrite core chokes, and Japanese polymer capacitors. USB 3.0 and SATA 3.0 are both supported with two slots each for next generation support. The board comes with some handy software support: TurboV allows overclocking from within the operating system with almost full control as you would find in the BIOS! AI Suite II bundles all of the featured utilities into one program for control over overclocking, energy management, fan speed control, and voltage and sensor readings. EPU is a real-time power saving engine that can be enabled through an onboard switch or by AI Suite II. The engine is designed for energy optimization by moderating power consumption and fan control. The board supports PCIe 2.0 which provides double the speed and bandwidth over the prior generation. Combining this with an NVIDIA NF200 chipset, the motherboard is able to provide three full x16 slots for 3-way SLI and CrossFireX. The board provides diagnostic support through a plug-in card that provides diagnostic HEX LEDs as well as by lighting an LED next to the component with issues. The card also has power and reset buttons for convenience. Lastly, a SAS upgrade kit is offered by ASUS for direct compatibility with this motherboard. The SASsaby M and 1064E are to be drop-in cards although availability looks nonexistent as of this article. All of these features combined with a Xeon and some NVIDA Tesla/Quadro or AMD Fire cards would make a solid entry server.

 

 

Removing the cover and opening the box we find the accessories on top. Removing these and the cardboard cover reveals the motherboard entombed in an antistatic bag. The first glimpse of the motherboard shows that it looks very similar to the ASUS P6T/P6T6/P5E64/ETC motherboards. After organizing everything it is easy to see what came with the motherboard. A user guide and driver/software disk with case badge provide support for installation. Next are the hardware components compromised of a 3-way SLI board, 1 long CrossFireX dongle, the diagnostic module, and two ASUS Q-Connectors for the front panel connections. Lastly there are six SATA cables with five having one 90° end.

 

 

 

With everything unpacked it is time to move on to looking at the motherboard!

Closer Look:

With the board exposed out in the open you can see five PCI Express x16 slots, eight SATA ports, six memory ports, and a bunch of pins at the bottom! Four heat sinks cool the chipsets and MOSFETs, these heat sinks are shown in higher detail further down. The board is mostly blue, black, and white/chrome and should fit in well with most systems. The area around the processor is open enough to allow for most cooling possibilities. The back of the board is standard, nothing special here and no back plates used other than the required one for the CPU socket. That means all of the heat sinks are held on with push-pins. The overall layout of the board is standard fair for x58 motherboards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The CPU socket region is clear enough to mount pretty much any cooling system. The only components nearby are low-profile capacitors and chokes. Sub-ambient cooling solution users should have plenty of room for insulation with the retention mechanism removed, otherwise they may have some small trouble with the top four capacitors. The stock Intel heat sink used on i7 processors is round with a copper slug in the center and aluminum fins. The shape of the heat sink and its push-pin mounting system is outlined on the motherboard. A small CPU diagnostic LED sits about half an inch below the bottom left heat sink mounting hole. Moving on to the memory slots, these use a single-clip style memory socket. To use this you open the clip and slide the memory in — the notched clip doesn't move. There is an auxiliary-power Molex connection at the top of the memory and nearby it is a jumper to increase the BIOS limitation of voltage to the CPU for enthusiast overclockers. Two PWM fan headers are near the bottom left (CPU Fan) and top right (Chassis Fan 2) in this picture. The tiny blue diagnostic LED sits near the sixth memory slots' notched clip and the end of the 24-pin ATX connection. One oddity shows here — the ATX connection is very off-white and sticks out next to the white components.

 

 

The I/O panel at the rear has a combined PS/2 port that can use either a mouse or keyboard and two USB 2.0 ports. Next are two S/PDIF digital audio connectors: the orange slot is a RCA connection and the lower is a TOSLINK optical fiber connection. The next 'tower' is one of the two Intel Gigabit LAN ports stacked on to two USB 2.0 outputs. A Firewire 1394 port and two USB 2.0 ports sit between both LAN ports, the second of which sits atop the two USB 3.0 ports that are blue to help distinguish them from the 2.0 ports. Last for the I/O port is the audio module with outputs from top-left going down and then from the top right going down: Center/Subwoofer, Rear Speaker, Side Speaker, Line In, Line Out, and Mic In. Six more USB 2.0 ports are supported by the motherboard by three pin-outs at the bottom of the board. The Intel chipset provides six blue SATA 2.0 ports and ASUS has elected to include another chipset to add two grayish SATA 3.0 ports that are backwards compatible.

 

 

There are five PCI Express x16 length slots, the ones in blue are true x16 slots while the black ones provide x8. There is also a white x1 slot at the bottom. The first Chassis fan header is in front of the first x16 slot while the PLL chip is next to the 3rd and 4th PCIe x16 slot. A VGA diagnostic LED sits under the first x16 slot at the bottom right corner. The very bottom of the motherboard has many different pin-outs. Starting from the left is a S/PDIF output and front panel audio. Next is a Firewire 1394 and three USB 2.0 outputs in black and blue respectively. Following that is where the TPM diagnostic module would plug in and the third Chassis fan header. Above the fan header is a jumper with instructions saying "1-2:3 Pin DC Fan, 2-3:4 Pin PWM Fan" meaning when the jumper is positioned on pins 1 and 2 the headers are setup for standard 3-wire fans, and when jumping pins 2 and 3 is setup for PWM 4-wire fans. Jumping over the CMOS battery are two more jumpers: one for clearing the CMOS and is labeled D with instructions to the right of the 4th and 5th PCIe x16 slots. Last is the front panel wiring — this is made much easier when installing the wires directly to the Q-Connector device and then plugging them in as one group! Not far up and between the SATA ports and Workstation heat sink there is a small LED for diagnosing drive errors. Two jumpers labeled C sit right above the SATA 3.0 ports, these are for raising DRAM Bus voltage and QPI voltage limits for extreme overclocking when combined with the CPU voltage pin in paragraph 2! The "Workstation" heat sink cools both the ICH Southbridge and NF200 chipsets while the second heat sink that reads "ASUS" cools the IOH Northbridge.

 

 

The third heat sink is the last of the three connected by heat pipe. This is designed similar to CPU and VGA heat sinks where the fins are thinner and locked together, then soldered to the base. The last heat sink is solid aluminum and thicker, similar to lower end basic CPU cooling. It is interesting to see all of the different heat sink styles used on one board. Hopefully this amount of cooling will be enough to handle the NF200 with decent temperatures, as this chipset is notoriously hot.

 

 

With the motherboard examined it is time to install it and take a look at the software and BIOS!

Closer Look:

The driver disc comes with an automated program that organizes the programs and drivers available in six different tabs. By default the last tab Specials is shown. The current special is Norton Internet Security 2011. I prefer not using Norton but it is a start for beginners. The first tab is the Drivers tab. At the top there is a button with a wand labeled ASUS InstALL, this option installs all of the available programs below in an express mode. The next tab also has this express option. Otherwise users can pick and choose which drivers to install. Norton Internet Security 2011 is also snuck in here instead of the utilities page coming up. Most everything else on this page is needed to get the system fully running.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The utilities tab has shrunk in comparison to older driver disks. The ASUS TurboV, EPU-6, Probe II, Fan Xpert, AI Charger+, and other programs have been combined into AI Suite II. To the top right of each page are three buttons: MB, a CD picture, and a note. Clicking MB shows very basic information on the installed motherboard, the CD allows the CD internal content to be browsed manually, and the note lists the file contents of the CD. The Make Disk tab allows users to make an Intel AHCI/RAID and Marvell SATA 3.0 driver disk useful for fresh installs.

 

 

The Manual page has four different available user manuals in PDF format, all very generic but should help if the customer has any questions. Two are specifically from ASUS, the other two are from Realtek and Norton. Lastly, the Contact page has the address, telephone and fax numbers, e-mail address, and website for ASUS (AKA ASUSTeK).

 

 

AI Suite II installs and combines all of the ASUS programs into one interface. Installation is a breeze with "select all" checking everything. The only nagging thing here is that the window attempts to take focus it makes multitasking pretty hard! Once installed and rebooted users will be greeted by a sleek five button interface. Hovering over the Tool window pops up a menu with five programs available. None of them worked for me using either the version on the disk or latest from the website. Trying to load TurboV EVO resulted in AI Suite II crashing.

 

 

Fan Xpert loaded just fine and the sensor tab correctly listed the operating conditions of the hardware. The graph would not work and the fan speeds went unchanged. Probe II loaded fine and showed some of the current system information just fine.

 

 

The sensor recorder didn't seem to have the right input (see the highlighted CPU and MB temperatures) so it didn't record anything, but it did try. AI Charger+ is an interesting program that charges Apple and BC 1.1 devices up to three times faster through either of the two USB 3.0 ports on the I/O panel. The BIOS program correctly reported the BIOS revision and release date. This program can save, load, download, and update the BIOS. This is becoming a growing trend but can be quite handy as long as the board doesn't get bricked accidentally!

 

 

The BIOS program correctly reported the BIOS revision and release date. This program can save, load, download, and update the BIOS. This is becoming a growing trend but can be quite handy as long as the board doesn't get bricked accidentally!

 

 

Hopefully some refinement will get this system working, as it shows promise. Time to go setup the BIOS!

Closer Look:

The BIOS

The BIOS on the ASUS P6X58D-E WS is very simple and, once accessed, throws you right into the Main settings window. New users to the BIOS world need to remember that no changes are in effect until the changes have been saved. If you change settings on accident just exit without saving! The POST screen is black with the ASUS logo in the top right and Workstation in the center. The Delete key is used to access the BIOS on boot up, or if there is an error detected like a failed overclock, it forces users to hit F1 to load BIOS or F2 to attempt to continue boot up procedures. The main window allows users to change the system time and date, language, view any hardware installed in the six Intel SATA ports, and view system information. To the right are instructions on how to navigate the BIOS and what each option does. Otherwise the Main page is nothing juicy for overclocking enthusiasts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ai Tweaker is where the overclocking options are at. This page is rather long and has everything needed to adjust speeds and voltages. The first chunk has CPU multiplier, memory multiplier, QPI, BCLK, and UCLK frequencies as well. Further down are all the voltage options for the CPU, memory, CPU QPI, and chipset, and Load-line calibration. CPU clock skew and amplitude are tucked in at the bottom as well. 4GHz should be fairly easy for most users, but do not leave CPU voltages on auto as when I pushed high on auto the voltage ramped up to 1.4V! Proper speed ratios, CPU, QPI, and RAM voltage combined with proper cooling should make for high speeds easily. Leaving most everything other than BCLK and SpeedStep on auto allowed it to boot at 4GHz stable but with higher than necessary core voltage.

 

 

The next page is the Advanced page, which has five different tabs that can be opened. The first tab is CPU Configuration and shows CPU settings and features. The CPU Configuration page shows the amount of L1, L2, and L3 cache, clock speed, BCLK speed, available multipliers, and has options to turn C1E, Virtualization, Hyper Threading, and other settings on or off.

 

 

Following the CPU Configuration page is the Onboard Devices Configuration page. This has options to enable or disable audio, LAN, IEEE 1394, and the SATA 6.0Gb/s outputs. Lastly is the USB Configuration tab that allows the USB 2.0 and 3.0 controllers to be turned off or to change their modes. The connected devices are also listed.

 

 

Next is the Power BIOS page. Different power modes can be set here, and the current operating conditions of the system can be examined under the Hardware Monitor tab. The APM configuration tab has all of the Power On options, for example in event of power failure you can have the system reboot (useful for home servers, Folding@Home, and other automated systems). Users can also set it to boot off of an alarm, PCI device input, PCI-E input, and the PS/2 keyboard or mouse.

 

 

Opening the Hardware monitor takes a few moments as it reads all of the sensors data. Don't panic and assume it has frozen, it will load after a short wait. Fan control options are here for the CPU and case fans, the CPU fan has four options for fan speeds while the chassis fans only share three. One of the options for the CPU fan speed is manual mode where a user can set up a fan profile so that it operates at a certain speed between load and idle, lower CPU speed is unchangeable at this time and defaults to 40 °C. Fan speed is reported underneath the CPU and Northbridge temperatures, with the four main voltages at the bottom. Enough information to get a good idea how everything is running. The boot page has boot and hard disk prioritizing options. Boot settings are also available including Quick boot, Full screen logo, Num-lock on or off on boot, Wait for F1 on boot error, and the ability to turn the Delete key to get into BIOS message off or on.

 

 

The tools page has the ASUS EZ Flash 2 which simplifies updating the BIOS by allowing means other than a floppy drive to be used for updating the BIOS. Express Gate can be disabled here as well, and ASUS O.C. Profile and AI NET 2 are also accessible. The O.C. profile tab can save or load two custom settings so that users can make sure they don't lose their favorite settings after changing the BIOS settings. This is great for setting up everything and keeping a backup in case of an accidental CMOS reset. Overclockers will also enjoy this as it can help them keep track of their stable overclocks and so forth. If anything happens just reload a saved profile and you're back on track!

 

 

The last page Exit has the options to Load Optimized Defaults, Save and Exit (which will reboot the system with the changes applied), and Exit without Saving which will reboot without enacting any changes made. Time to move on to the Specifications and Features!

Specifications:

CPU
Intel® Socket 1366 Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition/Core™ i7 Processor/
Intel® Xeon® W5500/3600/3500 Series
Intel® Xeon® X5600/5500 Series
Intel® Xeon® E5600/5500 Series
Intel® Xeon® L5600/5500 Series
Supports Intel® Dynamic Speed Technology
Chipset
Intel® X58 / ICH10R 
NVIDIA NF200
System Bus
Up to 6400 MT/s ; Intel® QuickPath Interconnect
Memory
6 x DIMM, Max. 24 GB, DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1866(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 ECC,Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Triple channel memory architecture
Support Intel Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
* Due to Intel spec definition, DIMMs of DDR3-1800 or above are supported by specific CPU models only.
* Please load X.M.P or D.O.C.P setting in BIOS for hyper DIMM (DDR3 1800MHz or above) support. * Please refer to www.asus.com or user manual for Memory QVL.
Expansion Slots
1 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (@ x16)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (@ x16 or x8)
2 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (@ x8)
1 x PCIe x1 
Multi-GPU Support
Supports NVIDIA® 3-Way SLI™ Technology
Supports ATI® Quad-GPU CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage
Intel ICH10R controller
6 xSATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
Intel® Matrix Storage Support RAID 0,1,5,10
Marvell® 9128 PCIe SATA6Gb/s controller
2 xSATA 6.0 Gb/s ports, supporting RAID 0 and 1 
LAN
2x Intel® 82574L GbE LAN, support teaming function
Audio
Realtek ALC889 8-Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Multi-Streaming
Jack-Sensing
Front Panel Jack-Retasking
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
ASUS Noise-Filer 
IEEE 1394
VIA VT6315N supports 2 x 1394a port(s)
USB
USB 3.0 controller
- 2 x USB 3.0/2.0 ports (Blue, at back panel)
Intel® X58 Chipset
- 12 x USB 2.0/1.1 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features
EPU - 6 Engine
True 16+2 Phase Power Design
Turbo V
Fan Xpert
Q-Shield
Q-Connector
Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
My Logo 2
CrashFree BIOS 3
EZ Flash 2
C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
O.C. Profile 
ASUS Workstation Special Features
5 PCIe x 16 slots
G.P. Diagnosis Card bundled
ASUS SASsaby Cards support (PCIEx16_5 slot only)
ASUS WS Diag. LED 
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/Mouse Combo port
1 x IEEE 1394a
2 x LAN(RJ45) port(s)
2 x USB 3.0/2.0
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
8 -Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Ports
3 x USB 2.0/1.1 connector(s) support additional 6 USB ports
1 x TPM connector
1 x Power Fan connector(s)
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin ATX +12V Power connector
1 x System Panel (20-pin)
Chassis Intrusion connector
CPU fan with PWM control
Chassis fan1 with Q-fan control
Chassis fan2 with Q-fan control
Chassis fan3 with Q-fan control
AAFP
Front panel connector
BIOS
16 Mb Flash ROM AMI BIOS, Green, PnP, DMI v2.0, Wfm2.0, ACPI v2.0a, SMBIOS v 2.5
Manageability
WOL/WOR by PME, WOR by Ring, Chassis Intrusion
Accessories
User's manual
4 x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s cables
2 x Serial ATA 6.0Gb/s cables
ASUS Q-Shield I/O Plate
2 x Q-Connectors
1 x ASUS 3-Way SLI bridge connector
1 x ASUS CrossFireX connector
Support Disc
ASUS PC Probe II
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS Update
BIOS flash utility under DOS
AI Suite II
Adobe Acrobat Reader ver 8.0
Microsoft DirectX ver 9.0C
Image-Editing Suite 
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

 

Features:

All information courtesy of ASUS @ http://www.asus.com/Motherboards/Intel_Socket_1366/P6X58E_WS/#specifications

Testing:

Testing the ASUS P6X58D-E WS is done by the standardized OverclockersClub regime of tests — mainly benchmarks with real world testing done as well with WinRAR and Excel. Most of the testing targets the motherboard and components on it but a few tests are thrown in that stress the graphics system. Memory is kept as close to stock as possible, even when I proceed to overclock the board. In overclocking I will push the motherboard to near the limits, but keeping it stable and healthy. I will not try for a suicide overclock since most people are more interested in achieving a stable speed.

Testing Setup: Intel Core i7 Socket 1366


 

Comparison Boards:

 

 

Overclocking:

Overclocked Settings:

Overclocking to 4 GHz was extremely easy, all I had to do was raise the multiplier up to x20 and set the voltage manually. This is since the OCC default testing speed is 200x15, everything was able to stay the same except the CPU multiplier. At auto settings the CPU voltage would default to 1.4V so make sure to set it manually! My CPU isn't the best stepping and thus runs warm, or 4.2 GHz would've likely been possible. Unfortunately the ASUS AI Suite II program didn't function well enough to use it during Windows. Everything ran stable at 4 GHz! An important fact to remember is that the motherboard overclocked results will mainly show a difference due to the different CPU overclocks, since they impact scores the most.

 

Maximum Clock Speed:

Each CPU has been tested for stability at the clock speeds listed when in an overclocked state. These clock speeds will be used to run the test suite and will provide the performance difference increase over the stock settings in the overclocked scoring.

 

 

Benchmarks:

  1. Apophysis
  2. WinRAR
  3. Geekbench
  4. Bibble 5
  5. Office 2007
  6. POV Ray 3.7.3
  7. Sandra XII
  8. ScienceMark 2.02
  9. Cinebench 10
  10. Cinebench 11.5
  11. HD Tune 4.60

Testing:

The first part of our testing 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:

 

 

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 100MB and 500MB files to test the time needed to compress these files. Time will be measured in seconds.

 

ZIP:

   

   

Lower is Better

 

 

RAR:

   

   

Lower is Better

 

Geekbench:

Geekbench 2.1 is a benchmark that tests CPU and memory performance in an easy to use tool. The measure used for comparison is the total suite average score.

   

Higher is Better

 

Apophysis results were fairly close with all of the motherboards getting similar scores at stock. Overclocking showed how much CPU speed helps. WinRAR Zip and RAR compression speeds are all really close except for the ASUS motherboard being some faster during the Zip testing. Geekbench results are all nearly identical and again show the gains with CPU overclocking.

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 functions of the CPUs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Processor Arithmetic

   

   

Multi-Core Efficiency

   

   

 

Memory Bandwidth

   

   

 

Memory Latency

   

 

Cache and Memory

   

 

 

Power Management Efficiency

   

 

SiSoft Sandra results are all really close except for the ASUS motherboard on a few memory tests.

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

   

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

Cinebench 11.5

 

   

Higher is Better

 

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

 

   

 

   

Higher is Better

 

   

 

   

Lower is Better

 

Sciencemark shows virtually no difference between the motherboards at stock. Only differing overclocked speeds add variance to the score. Cinebench 10 and 11.5 both have similar cases with little to no difference. HD Tune has the ASUS motherboard scoring higher on Burst speed but otherwise is about average.

Testing:

Far Cry 2:

Featuring a new game engine named Dunia, this game looks to be another one to stress your video card. Built especially 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 50km squared of the vast African continent to explore while in pursuit of your goals. The settings used are just a few steps below the maximum in-game settings and offer a good blend of performance vs. visual quality.

 

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intel motherboards are all similar for LGA1366 and prove that the motherboard won't really affect gaming performance directly in FarCry 2.

Testing:

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is the latest iteration of the venerable first-person shooter series, Call of Duty. Despite its long, successful pedigree, the game is not without substantial criticism and controversy, especially on the PC. Aside from the extremely short campaign and lack of innovation, the PC version's reception was also marred by its lack of support for user-run dedicated servers, which means no user-created maps, no mods, and no customized game modes. You're also limited to 18-player matches instead of the 64-player matches that were possible in Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare. Despite all this, the game has been well received and the in-house IW 4.0 engine renders the maps in gorgeous detail, making it a perfect candidate for OCC benchmarking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Similar to Far Cry 2, motherboards make little to no difference in gaming performance with Modern Warfare 2.

Testing:

Batman: Arkham Asylum is a new game that brings together two bitter foes, the Joker and Batman. The Joker has taken over Arkham Asylum, Gotham's home for the criminally insane. Your task is to rein the Joker back in and restore order. This game makes use of PhysX technology to create a rich environment for you to play your trade.

 

Video Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Batman Arkham Asylum has a variance of up to 2 FPS maximum between the motherboards.

Testing:

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 1024 x 768 progressing to 'Extreme' at 1920 x 1200. 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.

Settings:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Results are similar across the board except of course on the overclocked portions with Vantage.

Conclusion:

The ASUS P6X58-E WS is definitely a powerhouse for gaming and media work. This board could easily setup a home server or be the center of a hardcore multi-GPU gaming beast. During all of the testing there were no hiccups with the motherboard. Even with an NVIDIA NF200 chip splitting PCI Express lanes the heat sinks didn't get very hot, which is surprising considering the NF200 is known for running hot. Having five full length x16 slots is very nice because any length PCI Express device can be used in them, plus the available bandwidth is much higher than a x4 or x1. Connectivity shouldn't be a problem unless consumers are wanting to use older hardware, such as PCI cards. With dual gigabit Ethernet, both optical TOSLINK and RCA S/PDIF, two USB 3.0 slots, one IEEE 1394 FireWire, a combination PS/2 port, and six USB 2.0 ports there are plenty of options on how to hook things up.

The only thing missing on the I/O panel is an eSATA output, although it is very easy to add this on through an expansion slot. The only real cons are that the ASUS software doesn't quite work perfectly, and that the 24-pin and 8-pin power connections are off-white.

The Q-Connectors and diagnostic module make getting the motherboard running a breeze! The included accessories are complete and should be enough to get the system running well. The CPU socket area is spacious and overclocking the board is a breeze! Enthusiasts and those just looking for a reliable workstation should give this motherboard a close look.

 

Pros:

 

Cons: