Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition Review & Overclocking

Author: William Henning
Editor: Howard Ha
Publish Date: Monday, December 1st, 2008
Originally Published on Neoseeker (http://www.neoseeker.com)
Article Link: http://www.neoseeker.com/Articles/Hardware/Reviews/asus_p6t_deluxe/
Copyright Neo Era Media, Inc. - please do not redistribute or use for commercial purposes.

What do we have here? Another X58 motherboard!

We reviewed the Intel DX58SO with our original Core i7 920 / 940 / 965 review, and we recently reviewed the MSI Eclipse - which overclocked to an amazing 4.1GHz just air cooled - so I am quite interested to see how this board will perform in relation to its Intel and MSI competitors.

And not just any motherboard, but the high end enthusiasts Asus P6T Deluxe OC Pal Edition - which has a neat USB color LCD gadget for overclocking, status monitoring, and viewing Yahoo widgets, all without going into the BIOS!

There are plenty of other features - which the packaging shows - like 100% solid state capacitors, 16+2 phase power, SLI and CrossFire support, SAS storage support - a new one for an enthusiasts board - not to mention Express Gate and the aforementioned palm device.

The back of the box features the specifications, and more marketing blurbage.

And if that was not enough - the front of the box is a flap that opens, so that Asus can write even more about the features of this (admittedly) feature packed board on the packaging itself.

Here are the specifications - taken  straight from Asus' site:

CPU
Intel® Socket 1366 Core™ i7 Processor Extreme Edition/Core™ i7 Processor Supports Intel® Dynamic Speed Technology
Chipset
Intel® X58 / ICH10R
System Bus
Up to 6400 MT/s ; Intel® QuickPath Interconnection
Memory
6 x DIMM, Max. 12 GB, DDR3 1600(O.C.)/1333/1066 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Triple channel memory architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
*Refer to www.asus.com or this user manual for the Memory QVL(Qualified Vendors Lidts).
Expansion Slots
3 x PCIe 2.0 x16 (at x16/x16/x1 or x16/x8/x8 mode)
1 x PCIe x4
2 x PCI
Multi-GPU Support
Supports NVIDIA® 2-Way or Quad-GPU SLI™ Technology
Supports ATI® CrossFireX™ Technology
Storage
Southbridge
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Support RAID 0,1,5,10
Marvell 88SE6320
2 x SAS (RAID 0 and 1)
Marvell 88SE6111
1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
1 xExternal SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers 2*Marvell88E8056® PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
Audio
ADI® AD2000B 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Support Jack-Detection, Multi-Streaming, and Front Panel Jack-Retasking
- Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
IEEE 1394
VIA® VT6308 controller supports 2 x 1394a ports (one at mid-board; one at back panel)
USB
14 USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 8 ports at back panel)
ASUS Unique Features
ASUS Exclusive Features:
- ASUS TurboV
- ASUS OC Palm
- ASUS True 16+2 Phase Power Design
- Express Gate SSD
ASUS Power Saving Solution
- ASUS EPU-6 Engine
- ASUS AI Nap
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
- ASUS Fanless Design: Wind-Flow Heat-pipe solution
- ASUS Fanless Design: Stack Cool 2
- ASUS Fan Xpert
- ASUS Optional Fan for Water-cooling or Passive-Cooling only
ASUS Crystal Sound:
- ASUS Noise Filter
ASUS EZ DIY:
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
Overclocking Features
ASUS TurboV utility
Precision Tweaker2:
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
- vCPU PLL: 36-step reference voltage control
- vDRAM Bus: 49-step DRAM voltage control
- vChipset(N.B.): 31-step chipset voltage control
- vNB-PCIe: 65-step chipset-PCIe voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- Internal Base Clock tuning from 100MHz up to 500MHz at 1MHz increment - PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to180MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection:
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features
Multi-language BIOS
ASUS MyLogo 2
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard/ Mouse combo port
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
1 x External SATA
1 x IEEE1394a
2 x RJ45 port
8 x USB 2.0/1.1
8-channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors
3 x USB connectors support additional 6 USB ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
6 x SATA connectors
2 x SAS connectors
1 x CPU Fan connector
3 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x IEEE1394a connector
Front panel audio connector
1 x S/PDIF Out Header
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
1 x 8-pin ATX 12V Power connector
System Panel(Q-Connector)
BIOS
16 Mb Flash ROM
AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
Manageability
WfM 2.0,DMI 2.0,WOL by PME,WOR by PME,PXE
Accessories
OC Palm
UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
6 x Serial ATA cables
2 x SAS cables
ASUS Q-Shield
User's manual
2 in 1 Q-connector
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / 1-port IEEE1394 (4-pin) module
1 x SLI bridge cable
2 x Screw pillar
1 x Optional Fan for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor
12 inch x 9.6 inch ( 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm )

The Board

The Asus P6T Deluxe OC Palm Edition looks like what it is: a serious high end enthusiasts' board.

You can see the care taken by Asus engineers - the copper heat pipes and heat sinks, the many solid state capacitors, the on-board power and reset switches along with extensive expansion capabilities shout that this is a serious piece of equipment.

I am still getting used to Socket 1366 - it is attached quite securely to the board and the plate underneath. As an aside, I wonder why Asus chose to paint the heatsinks -- I like the bare metal look better.

Note the six DIMM sockets - unlike the Intel DX58SO you can put two modules in every channel.

I like having the six SATA and two SAS connectors, and the IDE connector does not hurt - however I wish six of the connectors were not the right angle ones; I find those a pain to use once the board is installed in a case. I also think it would have been better to separate the orange SAS connectors from the SATA; as the way it is now, it would be easy to mistakenly plug a SATA cable into it a SAS connector.

The Asus P6T Deluxe has many expansion slots:

And a lot of USB and FireWire headers too!

Here you can see the power and reset switches, along with overvoltage jumpers:

There are eight white LED's there as you can see - however the BIOS does not seem to use them for POST information. Pity.

Here is the back panel:

Here is the bundle you get with the board: plenty of cables, the OC Palm device, two I/O brackets for more USB/FireWire ports, manual and driver disk. 

 

The OC Palm device

Here is what you see once you turn on the OC Palm device:

The hardware monitor would not work for me, it would crash the computer. 

It was really easy to control the BCLK... basically keep increasing until whatever app you have running on the desktop crashes, then back down some accordingly.

A nice quick status overview:

I never installed any widgets, but you could see weather and anything else on the little device. 

The BIOS

The P6T Deluxe has a nice simple splash screen with a blue theme - however it takes a while to get used to seeing the Splashtop splash screen before getting to the BIOS splash screen :)

After this splash screen, there are numerous brief message screens for the various storage controllers.

The Main BIOS menu is pretty standard.

Here is where all the fun happens - the AI Tweaker.

I found this version of the AI Tweeker to be a bit vanilla - there were not as many options as I'd have liked, to be specific, there were no options at all to slow down the QPI link, which may limit overclocking with high BCLK values. There were also no options for overriding the default TDP and overcurrent shutdown settings - again, limiting the overclocking potential of the board. I expect Asus will address these issues with a future BIOS release.

The advanced menu is also fairly standard, however the CPU configuration screen does let you control enabling/disabling HT and cores.

 

More BIOS

As one would expect, the Power menu is pretty standard.

The Boot settings menu is also self-explanatory.

The Tools menu provides access to OC Profiles, lets you disable ExpressGate, and enter the cable check utility as well as flash a new BIOS.

What can one say about the Exit menu?

Latest Express Gate

I've liked Express Gate from the start - what's not to like about a very quick booting flash based Linux with a web browser? - but I was a bit disappointed when Asus started loading it onto the user's hard drive, instead of including enough flash to hold it on the motherboard.

This latest version adds an "Online Games" button, and presumably updates the rest of it too.

Here is the image you see on bootup:

And if you click on the web button, you are taken to Asus' web site. This can actually be helpful when setting up the system, because you can get here even without having a hard drive installed!

The file manager saw the SATA ROM drive, as I had the Asus driver/utility disk in it.

Here is the desktop you get:

The icons, from left to right, are:

And below the small icons:

Here is the on-line game selector - lots of flash games to choose from!

And here is the Photo app:

The Instant Messenger:

Skype:

And the Configuration Panel:

Express Gate is great for letting guests use your PC without giving them access to your normal desktop.

 

Test Setup

For this article, we used the Core 2 Quad QX9770 and Core i7 920 data from our Core i7 review which used the equipment listed below. We used the same benchmarks, and the same hardware (video card, SSD etc) with the only difference being the i7 motherboard and using a Noctua 12P with the new Socket 1366 mounting kit on the MSI Eclipse.

Hardware used for testing the motherboard:

Benchmarks Used

For now, here is a listing of the tests performed:

For the additional gaming tests we used

Video drivers used were the latest Catalyst drivers 8.10.

 

Business Winstone

The Asus P6T Deluxe had the best Winstone stock result of the three X58 boards tested, and it also had the best overclocked result.

Content Creation

Again, the Asus P6T Deluxe had the best Content Creation result at stock, but the overclocked results were dominated by the MSI Eclipse.

 

CineBench

Once again, the Asus P6T Deluxe running at stock speed, has the best result of the X58 boards - for CineBench this time - however it did not fare well when overclocked, getting the worst overclocked X58 result.

POVRay

Same story. The Asus P6T Deluxe gets the best stock POVRay result, and the worst overclocked one.

 

WinRAR

Yet again the Asus P6T Deluxe takes the top stock WinRAR score, and it is beaten fairly badly by the MSI Eclipse when overclocked.

HDTach

The Asus P6T Deluxe wins at stock.

HDTune

The Asus P6T Deluxe turns in average HDTune results.

 

LAME MP3

By now predictably, the Asus P6T Deluxe turns in the best LAME result at stock, and is beaten by the MSI Eclipse when overclocked.

TMPGEnc

Same results as above!

 

Call of Duty

Yep, definite pattern here.

The Asus P6T Deluxe takes the top stock result for COD, and places second to the MSI Eclipse when overclocked.

Commanche 4

Rinse and repeat!

 

Doom  3

Predictably, first at Doom at stock speed, but beaten by the MSI Eclipse when overclocked.

Quake 4

Best at stock for Quake 4, worst when OC'd.

 

Halo

Once again - and I was tempted to say "as always" - the Asus P6T Deluxe takes the top stock result for Halo among the x58 boards, and is beaten up badly by the MSI Eclipse when overclocked.

Jedi Knight

Best stock result, beaten by the Eclipse when OC'd.

UT4K

Tied with the Intel board and beating the MSI at stock, losing badly to the MSI when overclocked.

 

Sandra CPU

The Asus P6T Deluxe is very slightly faster than the Intel DX58SO and noticeably faster than the MSI Eclipse at stock, and manages to slightly edge out the Intel board when overclocked - however the MSI Eclipse beats it badly when overclocked.

Sandra Memory Bandwidth

The Asus P6T Deluxe has the top stock result - by a tiny margin - and the worst overclocked result here.

Sandra Latency

Worst stock result, tied for second result when overclocked.

 

RightMark Read

Once again, the Asus P6T Deluxe turns in the best stock result, however it does not fare well when overclocked.

RightMark Write

This time the Asus P6T Deluxe is beaten by the MSI Eclipse at stock, and finishes last among the x58 boards when overclocked.

 

RightMark Latency

The Asus P6T Deluxe had an average stock score, and the worst (by a hair) overclocked result among the X58 boards we've so far reviewed.

RightMark Bandwidth

The Asus P6T Deluxe had the best stock bandwidth, and the worst overclocked one.

 

World In Conflict

The Asus P6T Deluxe did well at stock, but not as well when overclocked - mind you, the difference is minor at high resolution, high quality.

 

Crysis

The Asus P6T Deluxe did not do so well here with low AA/AF, and with high res / eye candy on, there is no difference.

 

Devil May Cry 4

The Asus P6T Deluxe did not do that great here, in Devil May Cry 4.

 

Dynasty Warriors 6

The Asus P6T Deluxe was beaten at stock by the MSI Eclipse, and by both the MSI and Intel DX58SO when overclocked.

 

Overclocking

The Asus P6T Deluxe overclocked reasonably well - it reached 3.66GHz with a BCLK limit of 173MHz. No matter what I tried, I could not get it stable at higher speeds, however I had no way of tweaking the QPI data rate, which may have been the limiting factor.

To reach 3.63GHz I did the following:

One bit of unexpected good news was that the Quimonda memory ran at 1038-6-6-6-18-1T on this board resulting in excellent latencies.

The Intel DX58SO was only able to reach a BCLK of 174MHz, so it only had a tiny lead in some overclocked benchmarks, however as the MSI Eclipse reached a whopping 195MHz for BCLK it basically crushed both the Intel and Asus boards for the overclocked results.

Power Consumption

At stock, both the MSI Eclipse and Intel DX58SO used a little less power than the Asus P6T Deluxe, however when overclocked, the Asus P6T Deluxe ended up in the middle of the x58 pack.

Conclusion

The Asus P6T Deluxe is a really nice motherboard - I became quite fond of the OC Palm device, and it consistently had the best stock clock speed results of the three X58 boards I've reviewed so far.

I liked the feature set of the board - I was especially impressed with the inclusion of a SAS interface, although I suspect few of the buyers of the board will take advantage of it. I think the BIOS needs a bit more work, the ability to tweak the QPI settings may allow for more overclocking headroom, because as the MSI Eclipse showed us, the Core i7 920 has a LOT of overclocking headroom when paired with a great overclocking board.

The latest ExpressGate is quite functional, and I like the addition of the on-lines flash games depot. It is obviously advertising supported, however that revenue should let Asus add more flash games over time. Heck with one of the ExpressGate boards, your visitors can surf the net, instant message, and play flash games - without the possibility of messing up your main OS install.

Overclocking the board was painless, however the MSI Eclipse had a lot more headroom for overclocking - so if you are looking for an extreme overclocker, you are better off with an Eclipse, however if you want the best stock results without any tuning, you cannot go wrong with the Asus P6T Deluxe.

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