ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Reviewccokeman -
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Having seen the progression of ASUS' technologies over the past few years, it is clear to see that ASUS is a step ahead when it comes to really unique features that are a point of difference between what it offers compared to the competition. Don't get me wrong, there is some cool stuff out there, but ASUS seems to have the design teams capable of pulling things off at will. This offers the end user added value for their purchase. In this instance, you have the BT Go 3.0 module for added connectivity and the flexibility to wirelessly transfer data between the computer and portable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices, such as smart phones or tablets. In addition, you get SSD Caching built onboard that is a much simpler solution to implement than Intel's IRST - all at the click of a mouse button once the hard drives are in place. You also get USB 3.0 Boost to improve transfer rates between the computer and USB 3.0 devices that support the new protocols (UASP). Last but not least, is the immense feature set that is included: Intel LAN, DTS Connect, USB BIOS Flashback, six PWM controlled fan headers, AI Suite, Crash Free BIOS, ASUS Web Storage, Dual Intelligent Processor 3, Digi+ all digital power circuits, 3-Way SLI and Quad-GPU support for great gaming potential, and more. The P9X79 Deluxe is equipped with eight DIMM slots instead of just four, allowing for capacities of up to 64GB of DDR3 2400MHz system memory when fully populated. This board features the standard look of the non ROG series in blue, gray, and white, which is appealing to the eye. The heat sink package on the board allows the VRM circuits and chipset to stay cool, even with some spirited overclocking.
ASUS has spent a lot of time making sure the product stack offers a similar overclocking experience and overclocking potential. The P9X79 Deluxe is not a ROG offering, but I was able to reach just as high of an overclock on the non ROG based board as I was able to on the Rampage IV Extreme. Of course there are fewer bells and whistles in the UEFI BIOS dedicated to "Extreme Overclocking", but that does not seem to diminish the potential of the motherboard. I was able to reach 104MHz x 46, or 4784MHz, by manually tweaking the settings on the board, which is about the maximum I can reach with my Core i7 3960X. ASUS' CPU Level Up feature in the AI Suite II does a great job of overclocking the CPU for the person who wants a good stable overclock without having to tweak the BIOS settings manually. I found this tool more aggressive than the implementation on the RIVE, as it delivered a 4.5GHz+ overclock with just a few mouse clicks, all while being Prime 95 stable. This tool has come a long way from the quirky early renditions that took a long time to run and delivered marginally stable results. ASUS Crash Free UEFI BIOS is by far the most reliable when it comes to overclocking recovery. So far it has always pulled through when there is a failure to post due to overclocking. Powering down and then powering up resets the BIOS to allow it to post with optimized defaults, but keeps the settings input from the last attempted post. This is very useful when you are chasing an overclock.
Pricing for this unique feature set comes in at right around $359 from your favorite e-tailers. This is not what you would consider inexpensive by any means, but again this is part of the socket 2011 "Extreme" lineup for use with Intel's Second Generation Core i7 Sandy Bridge Extreme lineup. In the end, you get a board that offers the best of both worlds with a massive feature set and the same overclocking chops as the ROG boards. The P9X79 Deluxe will meet the needs of the enthusiast as well as the power user, or even the novice, as it offers up something for everyone and does it all quite well.
- Rich feature set
- New power design
- USB 3.0 Boost
- SSD Caching
- Eight DIMMs