Asus P5E3-Deluxe Review (Page 13 of 13)

Page 13 - Onboard Sound (Subjective), Wi-Fi, Overclocking, Conclusion

The Asus P5E3-Deluxe uses the same sound codec as the Asus P5W64-WS Professional, Asus P5K3-Deluxe, and the Asus P5K-Deluxe -- the ADI SoundMAX 1988B audio codec. The analog performance is quite acceptable for regular usage, but for headphones the SNR is definitely not the best.

Compared to the X-Fi XtremeMusic, it sounds 'thinner' -- even with equalizer optimizations, the bass comes in less natural and not very solid/strong. Treble is not as distinct and sharp as the X-Fi; midrange (In terms of vocals) is also slightly lacking. In general, the sound variation is lower and contains significantly less depth of sound than the Creative X-Fi -- which is definitely not a top end sound card anymore. However, as far as integrated goes, users who are not picky will find the SoundMAX more than enough.

On the other hand, this board offers a generous array of connectors. S/PDIF (Digital) connectors include a single coaxial and optical out. Six analog outputs are also available, if you need all the analog connections as well as line-in and microphone.

The revised Asus WiFi-AP@n software offers a fairly different interface than the WiFi-AP Solo software as we've seen in previous Asus WiFi products. The new hardware on the Asus P5E3-Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n motherboard, as the name suggests, offers wireless-N support out of the box -- we only have a wireless-G network for our tests, in which the onboard wireless performs flawlessly and with great signal strength/reception as we've experienced in our previous tests.

Uhh, yeah, that. I don't know what I am doing wrong, but even with my previous experience with Asus motherboards and overclocking for Core 2 Duo I wasn't able to do much at all for some odd reason. The northbridge with integrated heatspreader and abundance of heatpipes kept temperatures in the low 40s despite our low RPM Noctua case fans as well as the Scythe Infinity over the CPU which brings minimal airflow over the northbridge. This is excellent and I am impressed by the chipset temperatures.

With the CPU voltage damper enabled (Known as Load-Line Calibration in newer BIOS revisions), vdroop is around -0.01V even under load, which is also excellent.

Now back to the overclocking, I tried different straps to northbridge, increased voltages to FSB and NB, used higher CPU voltages than known working ones for my particular CPU, went through three different BIOS revisions and still wasn't enable to do much -- my E6600 is known to be stable at 430MHz*8 (3.44GHz) at 1.3750V on both the Asus P5K3-Deluxe and Asus P5K-Deluxe with RAM running at DDR3-1720. With identical settings our test computer using Asus' P5E3-Deluxe won't POST at all, and at 400MHz*8 (3.20GHz) with RAM at stock settings (OCZ Platinum PC3-12800 Enhanced Bandwidth Edition 2x1GB) it boots but it is not stable. It seems to me that majority of reviewers can hit extremely high FSBs -- 500MHz and beyond, 480MHz on the lower spectrum -- so I found it extremely strange that my board produced absolutely nothing to talk about when it comes to overclocking.

Attempted non-working settings on the Asus P5E3-Deluxe that are Orthos stable on the Asus P5K3-Deluxe:

CPU Multiplier 8
FSB Strap to NB 400MHz
FSB Frequency 430MHz
PCIE Frequency 100
DRAM Frequency DDR3-1720MHz
DRAM Command Rate 2T
DRAM Timing Control Manual (Settings 7-7-7-24)
CPU Voltage 1.3750V (Tried up to 1.4500V)
DRAM Voltage 1.9V (Tried up to 2.0V)
Load-Line Calibration Enabled
CPU Spread Spectrum Disabled
PCIE Spread Spectrum Disabled

As mentioned earlier, increasing northbridge and FSB voltages has been attempted but made no difference -- still no POST.

Update: With BIOS version 0601, we were able to achieve 3.44GHz stable again; but only with 382MHz*9. I still wasn't able to use high FSBs with this motherboard.

Generally speaking, I am quite impressed by the Asus P5E3-Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n. This board is literally the most practical fully loaded motherboard I've seen -- complete with every feature, from wireless-N networking, to a remote control, all the way to its integrated Express Gate onboard Linux and beyond. Despite all those features, Asus still managed to physically design the P5E3-Deluxe with the consumer in mind, because they have improved from their past mistakes in layout and the near perfect placement of components and connectors -- this definitely impressed us thoroughly. Retaining the excellent I/O connector configuration at the back as first introduced with the P5K series is again commendable -- keep what's good, and fix what's bad is what the Asus P5E3-Deluxe is all about. Performance is commendable paired with the new Intel X38 chipset at stock settings compared to P35 based motherboards from Asus; and BIOS offers tons of features for the overclocking enthusiast. Unfortunately, despite what everyone else got for overclocking results, I haven't been able to achieve anything impressive with my board -- either I am doing something wrong, or that my board is somewhat defective in this area. I would love to recommend this board if the overclocking issue is sorted out!

Special thanks to Asus for making this review possible.

Starting from April 30, 2007, Number Ratings have been dropped for motherboards, RAM, and graphics cards. This is to ensure the most appropriate ratings reflected without the limits of using numbers. Everything else will continue using the Number Rating System.
More information in our Review Focus.

The Asus P5E3-Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n is truly a fully loaded motherboard and beyond, yet retaining a high level of performance, usability, and physical layout. The Asus Express Gate integrated OS is definitely an interesting feature and we would love to see it introduced to more motherboards soon.

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Page Index
1. Introduction, Features, and Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout
4. Test System; Benchmark: 3DMark06
5. Benchmark: PCMark05
6. Benchmark: Cinebench 9.5, SuperPI 1M
7. Benchmark: EVEREST CPU
8. Benchmark: EVEREST FPU
9. Benchmark: EVEREST Memory
10. Benchmark: EVEREST Memory Latency, HDTach
11. Asus Express Gate Onboard Linux
12. Onboard Sound (RMAA 6.06) Analyzation
13. Onboard Sound (Subjective), Wi-Fi, Overclocking, Conclusion