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Wednesday, 04 July 2007 19:07

ASUS P5K3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP [updated] - 5 Testbed

Written by Eliot Kucharik
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Review: The first high-end DDR3 P35 board in our lab.




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Features:
Intel P35/iCH9R
8-phase VRM
Agere L-FW3227-100
Analog Devices ADI 1988B
Marvell 88E8056 PCIe network MAC
Realtek RTL8110SC PCI network MAC
JMicro JMB363 SATA II RAID 0, 1/IDE controller
Winbond W83627DHG-A Super I/O controller
passive cooling of chipsets/VRM
8Mb BIOS, version 0501
Mainboard Revision: 1.01G

Slots:
1x PCIe x16, 1x PCIe x16 @ x4 speed
2x PCIe x1
3x PCI

Memory:
2x Dual-Channel DDR3-slots for PC2-8500U memory up to 8GB

Storage:
6-Port SATA II featuring RAID 0, 1, 5, 0+1, JBOD
1-Port IDE
2-Port eSATA II





Backpanel ports:
1x PS/2 keyboard
2x eSATA II
2x Gb LAN
1x Firewire
6x USB 2.0
7.1 Audio analog
1x SP/DIF digital out
1x SP/DIF coaxial out

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Accessories:
1x 2-port USB + 1-port Firewire bracket
4x SATA cable (2 angeled 90°)
1x HDD-power to 2x SATA power cable
1x Floppy cable
1x IDE cable
1x ASUS Q-Connetor Pack
1x additional fan for watercooled systems


BIOS features:
Bus Speeds: Auto, 200MHz to 800MHz in 1MHz increments
Memory Ratios: Auto, fixed ratios: 1:1, 1:1.2, 1:1.25, 1:1.5, 1:1.6, 1:1.66, 1:2 depending on FSB
DRAM command rate: Auto, 1T, 2T
DRAM timing control: Auto, manual
PCIe Frequency: Auto, 100 to 150 MHz in 1MHz increments
Transaction Booster: Auto, disable, enable
Clock Over-Charging Mode: Auto / 700 / 800 / 900 / 1000 mV
CPU Clock Multiplier: Auto, manual
Core 2 Duo: 6x-11x in 1X increments - Core 2 Duo, downwards unlocked
Core 2 Extreme: 6x-16X, downwards unlocked
CPU Voltage: auto, 1.1000V to 1.7000V in 0.0125V increments
CPU Voltage Reference: Auto, 0.63x, 0.61x, 0.59x, 0.57x
CPU Voltage Damper: Auto, disable, enable
CPU PLL Voltage: Auto, 1.50V to 1.80V in 0.10V increments
DRAM Voltage: Auto, 1.50V to 2.20V in 0.05V increments
FSB Termination Voltage: Auto, 1.20V to 1.50V in 0.10V increments
North Bridge Voltage: Auto, 1.25V to 1.70V in 0.15V increments
North Bridge Voltage Reference: Auto, 0.67x, 0.61x
South Bridge Voltage: Auto, 1.05V, 1.20V




Layout:
The board has no significant differences compared to its DDR2 counterpart.

You can read the review here.

Only the heatpipe construction was enhanced, to keep the temperatures at bay, which does work without a problem, but will give you difficulties when mounting big coolers with the push-pin system. Removing the cooler is really a mess.


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Overview:
No other differences are visible, even the BIOS is a clone, with the same problems and goodies. So we will only concentrate on the benchmarks and see if DDR3 makes any difference.

We have to state we do always recalculate the bench results to nominal frequencies. Most vendors do an overclock to their products, maybe to get more bench-points, but we nullify such attempts. The P5K3 has an overclock below 400MHz FSB:


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Overclock:
There are no differences in the OC capabilities, FSB reaches 485MHz.
However, you may run into some problems with the memory. Some will work, some will give you problems. The only solution to make them work is to disable transaction booster and set the relax level to 1. With 366MHz the board will not boot with auto settings. We know most users will not mess with memory timings, so we always try to overclock only with auto-settings. This time we made an exception, but the Kingston memory kit would not even boot-up with this setting.

UPDATE (Sunday, 14 July 2007):
Kingston will boot up with CL9, instead of the stated CL7. We always try to fit the specified values from the manufacture, if stated CL7-7-7-20 @ 1333MHz, we manually set the corresponding values in the BIOS setup. It seems many boards will have troubles with such settings. Our tests with DDR3 memory kits showed no performance loss with lower settings, because the chipset latencies were reduced.






Testbed:

Motherboard:
ASUS P5K3 Deluxe/Wifi-AP (provided by Ditech)
Intel P35/iCH9R

CPU:
Intel Core 2 Duo E6700 (provided by Intel)

CPU-Cooler:
Scythe Andy Samurai Master (provided by Scythe-Europe)

Memory:
OCZ 2GB kit PC3-10666U Kit 2x OCZ3P13331GK (provided by OCZ)
CL7-7-7-20-CR2T at 1.70V
Kingston 2GB kit PC3-11000U Kit KHX11000D2K2/2G (provided by Kingston)
CL7-7-7-20-CR2T at 1.70V

Graphics Card:
AMD ATI Radeon X1950XTX (provided by AMD)

Power supply:
Silverstone Element SF50EF-Plus (provided by Silverstone)

Hard disk:
Western Digital WD4000KD (provided by Ditech)

Case fans:
SilenX iXtrema Pro 14dB(A) (provided by PC-Cooling.at)
Scythe DFS122512LS





Benchmarks:

Please note, that different bios revisions may give different results, the P5K benches were done with 0311 BIOS.

Gordian Knot/XVID 1.1.2:
For our Gordian Knot testing we took an PAL episode from "Babylon 5" with a length of 41 minutes, 57 seconds and 8 frames.

We tried to "emulate" the most common usage of Gordian Knot:
1st: We have a perfect master, so we only de-interlace the content and resize it, without any other manipulations, we marked this as "fast".
2nd: You get bad mastering on many DVDs, especially "old" stuff or when the studios are in a hurry for the release. In this case you like to improve the picture quality, which is done by filtering the content. You can choose from tons of filters for any purposes you can think of, we only used the most common "undot", "FluxSmooth" and "MSharpen". Of course we also de-interlaced, filters were done before any resizing took place (which is slower). We marked this as "slow".

If you need more infos about filters, we recommend reading the doom9.org forum.


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LameMT:
The same episode we encoded, we used for our MP3-testing. We don't recommend using MP3 for encoding, because AC3 can do the job better, but nearly 42 minutes gives us approximately the length of any given album.
A measurement in seconds, as many sites do, is useless, because the differences are too small. So we used the built-in play/CPU ratio, this means the CPU is encoding x-times faster then the track-length. Fast memory does not play an important role here. For your convenience we show you also the single-threaded benches, they will be produced with any other L.A.M.E. version, because only lameMT can do more than one thread and take advantage of a second dice.
We used this setting: lamemt --vbr-new -q 2 -V 2 -m j --strictly-enforce-ISO --resample 48

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Power-Consumption:
The biggest surprise was the energy hunger of this DDR3 board, even with WLAN and PCI GbLAN disabled it suck more power than the DDR2 counterpart. It seems the 8-phase VRM is very inefficient. In idle-mode it sucks up to 27-45W more than MSI P35 Platinum. When running full load (gaming with 3D), this insane numbers stabilize lower at 16-25W. Of couse most of the time the computer runs in idle-mode. Global warming is problem of our time, but ASUS seems not to care a bit.


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Conclusion:
For an enthusiast board the configuration is questionable, hardcore-overclockers have to mess with any BIOS setting to get high CPU-overclock. The power-consumption is sky high, and gives you about 15W-25W higher consumption with full load, but up to 45W more in idle, which will result in an costly energy-bill.

With high clocks and high FSB DDR3 can benefit in memory intensive programs, such as Gordianknot, but this performance gain is as little as 1%, the high cost of DDR3 won't justify such investment. The BIOS needs more improvement, because some memory kits will give you trouble. It seems a good idea to wait for the modules to arrive and test them with boards first, before selling them.

The board itself runs stable. If you aren't interested in overclocking and a decent CPU will suffice, it will do the job, but there are cheaper boards around that will do the same job for less money and with less power consumption. Also DDR3 does not give you any significant performance gain, frankly, at the moment it's a waste of money.

The ASUS P5K3 Deluxe retails for about €205,-.

(Page 5 of 9)
Last modified on Sunday, 15 July 2007 10:53
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