Asus P5K-Deluxe Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - Bundle, Chipset, BIOS

Out of the box, you will get the Asus P5K-Deluxe itself. Standard accessories include an I/O shield, standard PATA cable, floppy IDE cable, four SATA cables, two dual SATA power cables, two manuals (One for the motherboard itself, another for Wi-Fi), dual USB and FireWire PCI backplates, as well as an omni-directional antenna for the Wi-Fi feature.

The CD includes a collection of Asus software and utilities in addition to drivers, but no games are included out of the box.

The Intel P35 chipset diagram, as obtained from Intel's website. As far as PCIe lanes go, 16 (MCH) + 6 (ICH) is still far behind NVIDIA's 46 on their flagship 680i. Intel still retains ATI Crossfire support on the P35 at 16-4 configuration. Currently, 22 PCIe lanes should suffice, but the limitation of design comes down to lack of bandwidth to the second PEG slot. Because 16 lanes comes from the northbridge and 4 lanes from the southbridge, it also suffers from the limitation of data transfer/communication between the chipsets.

The introduction of P35 also brings about DDR3 support, but still retains DDR2 for other boards. The P5K-Deluxe is the DDR2 variant; while Asus' P5K3-Deluxe offers native DDR3 support. In addition, Intel finally announces support for 1333MHz FSB CPUs, as well as upcoming 45nm Penryn core compatibility.

Intel Turbo Memory is on the chipset diagram; however it is unclear how the Turbo Memory feature is implemented into the Asus P5K-Deluxe.

Intel's P35 is also paired with the new ICH9 series southbridge (ICH9R on the P5K-Deluxe). This enables native support for up to 12 USB ports. 6 SATA and eSATA is also available out of the box. As usual, disk configuration can be made in RAID 0,1,5,10, or JBOD on ICH9R with Asus' P5K-Deluxe.

As with ICH8R, native PATA support has been dropped. The last Intel southbridge that supported PATA was with the ICH7 series.

All the overclocking dirty work can be completed literally in a single page in the BIOS. Flashing to 0311 enables 1T/2T command rate setting on the P5K-Deluxe. In addition to standard RAM latency settings of CAS-tRCD-tRP-tRAS, it also allows the user to customize five additional secondary timings. Unfortunately, tRC is missing for user configuration.

Permissible voltage values and settings as follows:

CPU VCore: 1.1000 to 1.7000V @ 0.0125V increments
CPU Voltage Reference: 0.57/0.59/0.61/0.63x
CPU PLL Voltage: 1.50/1.60/1.70/1.80V
RAM: 1.80 to 2.55V @ 0.05V increments
Northbridge: 1.25/1.40/1.55/1.70V
NB Voltage Reference: 0.61/0.67x
Southbridge: 1.05/1.20V
FSB Termination Voltage: 1.20/1.30/1.40/1.50V
Clock Over-Charging Mode: +700/800/900/1000mV

PCIe frequency can be set from 100 to 150 at 1MHz increments (User defined integer, same with the FSB). FSB allowed values range from 200 to 800, x ? I. It seems that we cannot lock PCI frequency -- there's no such option that I can find in this version of the BIOS, and that it is not an automatically engaged lock. We will explain more in our overclocking section later in this review.

Update: It seems that by setting "PCIe Spread Spectrum" to 'Disabled', all PCI clocks will be locked at 33.33MHz.

Interestingly, you can set CPU multiplier in two locations: One in the overclocking page; the second one being on the CPU advanced settings page. There's no literal SpeedStep/EIST configuration at this point, but you can disable or enable C1E Support -- which will show the SpeedStep option once C1E is enabled and rebooted.

Northbridge configuration screen.

The Hardware Monitor page in the P5K-Deluxe BIOS. For some reason, the P5K-Deluxe with BIOS revision 0311 does not really like low RPM with the CPU fan. For one thing, Asus' Q-Fan Silent mode reduces the fan speed to roughly 1100rpm to 1200rpm on idle only -- not much of a slowdown with my Scythe Infinity. When I put a resistor cable between my Scythe Infinity and the motherboard header, it dips below 1000rpm, but on several occasions the P5K-Deluxe prompted a CPU fan error during bootup.

Our Asus P5W64-WS Professional allows the CPU fan to go at ~800rpm with Asus Q-Fan Silent Mode.

As usual, the Asus P5K-Deluxe features Asus' EZ Flash BIOS update utility. This allows flashing without a floppy or the problems of Windows utility flashing. I experienced no problems updating with the ROM file stored on a USB flash drive.

However, we must note that the BIOS chip on the Asus P5K-Deluxe is actually soldered onto the motherboard -- meaning the chip is not self-replaceable. This could lead to BIOS flash problems that requires the whole motherboard to be replaced.

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. Onboard Sound, Wi-Fi, Overclocking, Conclusion