Motherboard Guide

ASUS P5N-T Deluxe review

ASUS P5N-T Deluxe (NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI)

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Overclocking and Test Setup

Overclocking

  • FSB Settings: 533MHz to 3000MHz (QDR)
  • DDR2 Settings: 400MHz to 2600MHz (DDR)
  • PCIe Settings: 100MHz to 200MHz
  • HT SPP-MCP Settings: 200-500MHz
  • LDT Frequency Settings: 1x to 8x (Default: 5x)
  • CPU Voltage: 0.83125V to 1.9000V (in 0.00625V steps)
  • Memory Voltage: 1.85V to 3.11V (in 0.02V steps)
  • CPU VTT Voltage: 1.20V to 1.55V (0.05V steps)
  • GTLVREF Voltage: 0.569x VTT to 0.680x VTT
  • NB BR04 Chip Voltage: 1.20V to 1.35V (0.05V steps)
  • NB Voltage: 1.20V to 2.46V (in 0.02V steps)
  • SB Voltage: 1.55V, 1.85V (in 0.02V steps)
  • 1.2V HT Voltage: 1.20V to 2.00V (in 0.02V steps)
  • Multiplier Selection: Yes (unlocked CPUs only)

As we've mentioned earlier in this review, the nForce 780i SLI is a re-hashed nForce 680i SLI primarily to support the latest Intel processors and PCI Express 2.0. The chipset itself has already established its capabilities as a great Core 2 overclocker in all our past reviews of the nForce 680i SLI and the ASUS P5N-T Deluxe makes its mark with an excellent FSB overclock to 490MHz with no problems at all.

However, there is a catch. The board works remarkably well with standard dual-core Core 2 processors , but it does have some compatibility issues with quad-core CPUs. And we're talking about 65nm Kentsfields here, not even Penryns. On our test with a QX6850, we only managed to scale up to 390MHz FSB before we encountered problems with POST and stability. ASUS seems to be aware of this and we've recently seen a spate of BIOS updates addressing compatibility, so we hope that it would smoothen out in the coming months. Readers need to note that these issues only pertain to the overclockability of the board, and not general compatibility, which we've not had any issues with at all.

Test Setup

As the latest chipset from NVIDIA, we just had to benchmark the P5N-T Deluxe against the current set of Intel 3-Series motherboards. From ASUS, we'll be using the P5K3 Deluxe (P35) and P5E3 Deluxe (X38), both DDR3 motherboards respectively as a comparison in the high-end segment which the nForce 780i SLI is aiming to compete. Since the P5N-T Deluxe is only a DDR2 board, it would be great to see how the chipset stacks up to Intel's DDR3-equipped 3-Series chipset. We will also include DDR2 variants of both the Intel P35 and X38 as additional performance comparisons. These boards are the Foxconn X38A and MSI P35 Platinum.

The ASUS P5N-T Deluxe itself would be benchmarked with standard DDR2-800 as well as with DDR2-1066. Like the nForce 680i SLI, the nForce 780i SLI has support for up to DDR2-1200 speeds, and we wanted to see how well it scales compared to the latest DDR3 developments.

The following test bed setup will be used throughout this review:-

  • Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 processor (3.00GHz)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-800 @ 4-4-12 CAS 4.0 (For DDR2 boards)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR2-1066 @ 5-5-16 CAS 5.0 (ASUS P5N-T Deluxe DDR2-1066 testing only)
  • 2 x 1GB Kingston HyperX DDR3-1333 @ 7-7-20 CAS 7.0 (For DDR3 boards)
  • Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 200GB SATA hard disk drive (one single NTFS partition)
  • MSI GeForce 8600 GTS 256MB - with ForceWare 162.18 drivers
  • Intel INF 8.3.1.1013 and AHCI 7.5.0.1017 driver set
  • Microsoft Windows XP Professional with Service Pack 2 (and DirectX 9.0c)


Benchmarks

The following benchmarks will be used to determine the performance of the ASUS P5N-T Deluxe:-

  • BAPco SYSmark 2004
  • Futuremark PCMark05
  • SPECviewperf 9.0
  • AquaMark3