To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:
Asus Maximus Formula (X38)
| Asus P5E3 Deluxe|
Asus P5N-T Deluxe
DFI LANPARTY UT P35-T2R (P35)
|Processor||Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHz 2x4MB|
|Memory|| Cellshock PC2-6400 DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12)|
|Graphics Card || Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E|
|Hard Disk ||Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb|
|CPU Cooling ||Noctua NH-U12P|
|Operating System ||Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)|
|Graphics Drivers ||ATI Catalyst 7.4.44981|
|Motherboard Drivers ||Intel INF 8.300.1013|
Unfortunately I could not include the results from the Asus Striker II in this review as it was being completed concurrently.
During the testing of the boards above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used between switching boards, preventing any possible performance issues due to left-over drivers from the previous motherboard install.
To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:
Synthetic CPU & Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0
File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark
Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach 188.8.131.52
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• Quake 4
Overclocking was something I always look forward to with a certain amount of both excitement and trepidation. Sometimes boards give an easy, trouble-free overclocking experience and sometimes it really is quite a chore. With Nvidia's 680i in mind I was a bit uneasy of the prospects of the P5N-T Deluxe. Let's see how the board does.
To ensure that every motherboard was given an equal chance to show how far it could overclock our Intel Q6600 "G0" retail processor, a standard VCore of 1.5v was set on all three of the boards. In addition to this, the memory divider setting was also adjusted to ensure that the Cellshock kit used in today's review would not hinder the results in any way.
The P5N-T Deluxe was a little disappointing in the results it achieved on the 780i motherboard. Clocking in at around 200MHz lower than the competition it doesn't stand out for overclocking. I have to also add that overclocking was only achieved once the boards BIOS had been flashed to the latest beta BIOS on offer from Asus and that the board would not achieve an overclock over 3100Mhz beforehand.
The maximum front-side bus speed for all three boards was obtained by dropping the CPU multiplier down to x6 and slowly increasing the FSB speed from within the BIOS. With each increment in speed, the PC was booted into Windows and tested for stability. As with the "Maximum Overclock" testing, the memory divider setting was also adjusted to ensure that memory stability did not factor in the results.
Again the Asus P5N-T Deluxe failed to deliver in the overclocking department, managing only to boot at 420MHz. This is well below the 475Mhz achieved with the P5E3 and below most boards we've taken a look at since Core2 came out.
Note on Overclocking Experience
I have to add as an addendum that the P5N-T Deluxe was very unstable throughout the overclocking process. Often after a bad overclock I would have to reset CMOS two or three times before I managed to get the motherboard to boot into the BIOS and flashing did not help. This was an experience I am not used to with most boards, never mind Asus. Whilst everything is stable at stock, this is disappointing in an enthusiast board.
Asus - Manufacturers reply
As always on Overclock3D, manufacturers have 8 UK working hours to respond to reviews (essentially 24 hours on a working day) and Asus asked us to test a new BIOS they had for the P5N-T Deluxe. This BIOS unfortunately did not help in my quest to overclock, but please bear in mind that further BIOS updates may improve performance. I'll make the point later on again, but I have to state now that the boards "foibles" don't seem to be the fault of Asus, rather of the chipset manufacturer, Nvidia.