Asus P5NT-WS Review (Page 2 of 11)

Page 2 - Bundle, Chipset, BIOS

Out of the box, you will get an abundance of accessories. As a workstation motherboard, you will not get any games or benchmarking programs -- but there is nothing we have to complain in regards to this.

Anyway, you'll receive the following accessories in addition to the motherboard itself:

1x Driver DVD (Yes, I said DVD)
1x Back Panel I/O Plate
1x Internal USB to External PCI Bracket
3x Asus Q-Connector (1x Case Connections, 1x USB, 1x Firewire)
1x Internal Firewire/IEEE 1394 to External PCI Bracket
1x Internal Serial to External PCI Bracket
1x SLI Bridge
6x SATA Cables
1x Molex to Dual SATA Power Connectors
1x Floppy IDE Cable
1x Hard Drive/Optical Drive PATA Cable
1x User Manual

As you can see in our photo above, the SLI bridge is quite long -- this is for connecting cards in the first and third PCIe x16 slot in SLI mode.

This is a standard NVIDIA 650i chipset diagram, as obtained from NVIDIA themselves. However, the hybrid board created by Asus does not use the standard 650i southbridge (NF430MCP); instead the engineering team implemented the NF570MCP southbridge for full bandwidth operation even in SLI mode. In addition to that, it supports non-standard NVIDIA 650i (Typically found on 680i based motherboards only) networking features such as NVIDIA DualNet, teaming, and TCP/IP acceleration. A total of 10 USB ports are supported natively, with 4 located on the back panel and 6 internal connectors.

RAID configurations available include 0, 1, 0+1, and 5. In addition to RAID, as to any/all motherboards, JBOD. Native support for 1333MHz QFSB is also advertised.

A few highlights of the Asus P5NT-WS Phoenix-Award BIOS. The above screen shows adjustment of PCIe x16 frequencies.

Once the overclocking function has been set to manual, you can overclock in both Linked and Unlinked mode; as identical to the Asus P5N-E SLI and other NVIDIA chipset based motherboards. Linked mode changes the RAM frequency directly proportional to the FSB setting, while Unlinked mode allows you to enter an integer value for FSB and RAM and the motherboard will set dividers automatically. Depending on your settings, automatic dividers may not be able to achieve exact values -- so it will set the FSB frequency, and then adjust the RAM frequency as close as possible (But always slightly lower) to the user defined frequency.

FSB speed is shown in quad-pumped value.

The Asus P5NT-WS offers a generous amount of voltage adjustment and range. The following are the permitted voltages and increments to their corresponding component:

VCore: 0.93125V to 1.70000V @ 0.00625V increments
RAM: 1.800V to 2.575V @ 0.025V increments
Northbridge: 1.20V to 1.55V @ 0.05V increments
Southbridge: 1.500V to 1.750V @ 0.025V increments
NB<->SB HT Voltage: 1.20V to 1.55V @ 0.05V increments
CPU VTT: 1.20V to 1.50V @ 0.10V increments
SB Standby: 1.50V to 1.80V @ 0.10V increments

CPU and CPU feature settings.

Memory timing settings. Settings can be configured in detail -- there are loads of options available for memory configuration.

Asus' EZ Flash 2 BIOS flashing utility. It can be launched directly from the BIOS itself, and allow updates from a USB flash drive. At press time, there are no BIOS updates available other than the original BIOS. And BIOS 0305 needs significant improvement.

For the first thing, I cannot use a USB keyboard of any kind to navigate the BIOS. I can enter the BIOS by pressing "Delete" using a USB keyboard, but once within it I discovered that a PS/2 keyboard must be used -- otherwise you can't navigate.

Secondly, there's a bunch of spelling mistakes that can be fixed. I'll eagerly wait for the next BIOS!

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, Overclocking, Conclusion