Graphics reunification, six DIMMs, and a nifty external LCD display.
BIOSes and applications are still a little rough around the edges.
Asus’s P6T Deluxe isn’t the most over-the-top Core i7 board we’ve tested, but it certainly has a leg up on Intel’s bare-bones DX58SO. For one thing, it finally brings us graphics reunification by supporting both two-card SLI and CrossFire X configurations.
And instead of the gimpy four-slot DIMM setup of Intel’s DX58SO, the P6T Deluxe features six DDR3 DIMM slots. The board, of course, supports all Core i7 CPUs. Since Intel is the sole chipset provider for X58 and the memory controller is in the CPU itself, most performance differences will be the result of BIOS tweaks each manufacturer implements. We found Asus’s BIOS to be far friendlier than the Intel board’s, which at first glance seems designed for engineers. Truth be told, though, the Asus BIOS can be just as daunting if you tread into the Advanced section.
One thing we did like about the Intel board’s BIOS was the ability to set the individual Turbo mode settings. Asus forces you to adjust the settings with the Asus TurboV utility, but we couldn’t set each core separately. That made it difficult to compare performance between the P6T and the DX58SO, as each board was configured slightly differently. To be frank, performance judgments should be suspended since BIOS updates for both boards are still rolling out twice a month.
As expected, not all was right with the P6T. On occasion, the board would not see our USB drive. Documentation was also substandard, which left us pushing buttons in the numerous applications until we blue-screened the board. Hey, Asus, how about combining all the disparate apps into one utility? Nevertheless, we did manage to bring our 3.2GHz Core i7 up to a fairly stable 3.8GHz on the P6T Deluxe.
There’s a lot to like here, including an improved ExpressGate browser that lets you save files from the preboot browser to a USB key, and a cool Palm display that lets you both overclock the board and remotely monitor its vitals. There are some rough spots still to be ironed out, but we’d definitely take the P6T over Intel’s board at this point.
|Asus P6T Deluxe||Intel DX58SO|
|PC Mark Vantage x64 ||7,989 ||7,082 |
|ProShow (min:sec) ||9:24 ||9:12 |
|MainConcept (min:sec)||17:15||18:00 |
|3DMark Vantage CPU||11,312 ||11,239 |
|3DMark Vantage GPU ||49,183 ||45,424 |
|HD Tach (MB/s)||173 ||185|
|Valve Particle Test (fps) ||159 ||155 |
|Quake 4 (fps) ||252 ||224 |
|Everest Ultimate Copy RAM (MB/s)||18, 170 ||19, 182 |
|Everest Ultimate Latency TAM (ns) ||32.5 ||31.9 |
|Sisoft Sandra Bandwidth (GB/s)||27.03 ||26.3 |
Best scores are bolded. Our test bed consists of a Core i7-965 Extreme Edition CPU, 6GB of Corsair DDR3/1600, an EVGA GeForce 280 GTX videocard, a PC Power and Cooling TurboCool 1200 power supply, a WD Raptor 150GB drive, and Vista Home Premium 64-bit. HD Tach scores were achieved using an Intel X25-M SSD.