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This story was printed from CdrInfo.com,
located at http://www.cdrinfo.com.
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Appeared on: Friday, February 24, 2006
ASUS P5N32-SLI DELUXE


1. Introduction

ASUS recently released its new NForced4 based motherboard, the P5N32-SLI Deluxe with dual x16 PCI-Express SLI. Two full-bandwidth 16-lane PCI Express links ensure maximum graphics performance for next-generation GPUs and games, it offers twice the PCI Express bandwidth of x8 SLI solutions, such as the P5ND2-SLI Deluxe.

- Features

The ASUS AI Life motherboards are designed for Peace Quiet and Comfort. While these are great, if you had something other than peace in mind, the P5N32-SLI Deluxe will suit you just fine. This mobo is for those who don't shoot in self defense, who don't pass another car because they are late, and who despise mercy rules in sports. Challenge your system for the highest performance and be ready when the next graphics revolution comes, with dual x16 PCI-Express SLI. Get tough, get competitive, get on top of the game and stay on top.


NVIDIA SLI™ Technology
Ultimate Gaming Performance with NVIDIA SLI™ X16 Technology

NVIDIA® SLI™-Scalable Link Interface- takes advantage of the increased bandwidth of the PCI Express bus architecture and features intelligent hardware and software that allows two GPUs to efficiently work together to deliver earth-shattering, scalable performance. (From www.NVIDIA.com)

NVIDIA® nForce4 SLI Intel® Edition
NVIDIA® nForce™4 SLI Intel Edition Northbridge and nForce4 SLI Southbridge - The ultimate enthusiast platform

Get the power of NVIDIA® nForce™ 4 SLI for Intel platforms! High performance NVIDIA nForce 4 SLI MCPs deliver comprehensive features for advanced PC security, reliable PC storage, SLI™ technology, PCI Express bus architecture and DualDDR2 memory technology. NVIDIA nForce4 MCPs offer Intel enthusiasts stable, reliable, compatible platform support for ultimate PC performance.

- Unique Features

ASUS two-slot thermal design (ASUS exclusive)
ASUS exclusive two-slot thermal design


ASUS two-slot thermal design provides better air-flow and lower VGA card temperatures than other brands one-slot design, which also ensures better system stability and longer component life cycle.

~ The Asus is unique among the tested SLI boards in providing 3 slots between the x16 PCIe slots used for SLI. All of the other SLI boards provide 2 slots between the video cards. This will be an important feature for users who water-cool their video cards or have special cooling in mind for the pair of SLI cards. ~ (From www.anandtech.com for ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe review)

~ it offers two x16 PCIe slots, spaced far enough apart to accommodate even graphics cards with monstrous cooling solutions.

~ (From www.tomshardware.com for ASUS A8N-SLI Deluxe review)

8 Phase Power Design
This is the ultimate power design with performance as its principle purpose. The 8-phase power builds a more steady power supply environment for the CPU and generates less heat than the conventional power design. Moreover, with this strong power pump, P5N32-SLI Deluxe can perform with better overclocking ability.

SATA on the Go (External SATA port on back I/O)
SATA on the Go designed for external SATA devices (ASUS exclusive)

The external SATA ports located at the back I/O provide smart setup, hot-plug and support up to 16 devices with port-multiplier functions. Easily backup photos, videos and other entertainment contents on external devices.
ASUS P5N32-SLI Deluxe supports the next-generation hard drives based on the Serial ATA (SATA) 3Gb/s storage specification, delivering enhanced scalability and doubling the bus bandwidth for high-speed data retrieval and saves.

Stack Cool 2
Stack Cool 2 is a fan-less and zero-noise cooling solution. It effectively transfers heat generated by the critical components to the other side of the specially designed PCB (printed circuit board) for effective heat dissipation.

Fanless Design
Provide a cool environment without all the baggage

Cooling fans, though a popular thermal solution, also come with noise and the likelihood of malfunction. ASUS Motherboard's fanless concept, is specifically created to provide a cool environment without all the baggage.

ASUS has devoted special efforts to address the thermal issues across the motherboard, and most notably the areas occupied by the CPU, power, VGA, Northbridge and Southbridge. The heat sinks and strategic board layout, were tailor designed to dissipate heat in the most efficient manner.

- Standard Features

Intel LGA775 Pentium 4 / Celeron CPU
This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Pentium / Celeron CPU in LGA775 package with 1066/ 800/ 533MHz FSB, Hyper-Threading Technology and core-speeds up to 3.8GHz and beyond.
Supports Intel® Dual/Single-Core 65nm Processors
This motherboard supports  Intel®  65nm Pentium®  D/ Intel®  Pentium®  4/ Celeron®  processors. ASUS motherboard is the ideal solution to enhance the performance of new generation processors.
Intel EM64T
64-bit computing, the next generation technology to replace current 32-bit architecture, delivers advanced system performance, faster memory access and increased productivity. This motherboard provides excellent compatibility and flexibility by supporting either 64-bit or 32-bit architecture.
PCI Express Architecture
PCI Express is the latest I/O interconnect technology that will replace the existing PCI. With a bus bandwidth 4 times higher than that of AGP 8X interface, PCI Express x16 bus performs much better than AGP 8X in applications such as 3D gaming. PCI Express x1 also outperforms PCI interface with its exceptional high bandwidth up to 500MB/s. The high speed PCI Express interface creates new usages on desktop PCs e.g., Gigabit LAN, 1394b, and high-speed RAID systems.

- Maximizing Gaming Performance

Precision Tweaker
Designed for serious overclockers

It offers ways to raise system performance inch-by-inch and step-by-step to achieve maximum performance! This is about getting the most out of your machine, and taking pride in your customized computer.
vDIMM -
Take control of how much power is going into the memory modules. ASUS gives you 8-step voltage control to the DIMM
vCore -
Find out "exactly" how much power your CPU needs. Fine-tune it with 0.0125 volts at a time!
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) allows
- FSB tuning from 133MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
- Memory tuning from 533MHz up to 1200MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment
AI NOS™
Applications such as 3D games and video editing demand a huge chunk of system resource.
Inject "nitrous oxide" into your CPU! The patented AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System) technology intelligently detects system load and automatically boosts performance for the most demanding tasks. Unlike other dynamic overclocking techniques, AI NOS™ reacts much faster to satisfy your unending need for speeds.
PEG Link for dual VGA cards
Automatically gaming performance tuning for single/dual graphics cards
This latest technology, PEG (PCI Express Graphics) Link Mode, is a unique feature that enables users to boost graphics card performance for superior video quality.
PEG Link allows users to raise GPU and VGA memory throughput via the motherboard BIOS the same way system bus and memory bus are tweaked. PEG Link Mode enables powerful video performance on DX8 and DX9 applications. ASUS engineers carefully fine-tuned the parameters for every single PCI-Express card to provide system stability during high-speed graphics operation.
ASUS CPU Lock Free
The P5N32-SLI Deluxe offer the CPU Lock Free feature, which allows you to adjust CPU multiplier to 14x. The reduction of multiplier value provides more flexibility for increasing external FSB frequency to raise memory bus bandwidth. CPU Lock Free boosts overall system performance by making synchronous modification possible. Enjoy better performance at the same CPU operation speed and improve your system without pushing the CPU to the limit.
C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
When the system hangs due to overclocking failure, there is no need to open the case to clear CMOS data. Just simply restart the system, the BIOS would show the previous setting and then users can amend the CPU setting again.

- Add-on Features

Dual Gigabit LAN and AI NET 2
The integrated dual Gigabit LAN design allows a PC to serve as a network gateway for managing traffic between two separate networks. This capability ensures rapid transfer of data from WAN to LAN without any added arbitration or latency.
ASUS AI NET2 remotely detects cable connection the second you turn on the system, and any faulty connections are reported back up to 100 meters at 1 meter accuracy.
Dual RAID
Smooth and efficient multi-RAID solution offer data protection and optimal data access
The NVIDIA nForce4 SLI Southbridge supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD 3Gb/s and 4 of Parallel ATA drives, totally up to 8 drives for Multi-RAID function.
The Silicon Image Sil3132 controller offers 2 additional SATA 3Gb/s interfaces and allows RAID 0 and RAID 1 functions for best data security.
IEEE 1394
IEEE 1394 interface provides high speed digital interface for audio / video appliances such as digital television, digital video camcorders, storage peripherals & other PC portable devices.
ASUS Q-Fan2
ASUS Q-Fan2 technology intelligently adjusts both CPU fan and chassis fan speeds according to system loading to ensure quiet, cool and efficient operation.

- NVIDIA features

NVIDIA DualDDR2 for high performance memory support
NVIDIA DASP 3.0: The third-generation DASP 3.0 (dynamic adaptive speculative preprocessor) consists of pre-processors that are tasked to track data threads and pre-fetch the appropriate data. It has been re-designed for improved performance and lowest latency.
NVIDIA QuickSync : Designed to allow the use of the highest possible FSB and memory speeds without any negative impact on system performance. It features a patent-pending QuickSync synchronization technology that transfers memory requests and data between the FSB and memory clock domains in the shortest amount of time, thus maximizing system performance.
NVIDIA ActiveArmor™ - Unmatched security
Dedicated hardware-based ActiveArmor secure networking engine and ActiveArmor Firewall protect your PC from hackers and spyware the minute it is turned on and filters out any unauthorized or suspicious traffic. NVIDIA ActiveArmor secures your PC against a wide range of attacks including IP-spoofing and ARP cache poisoning. Easy to set up and fast to configure, ActiveArmor offers remote secure access, monitoring, and configuration for management.
NVIDIA MediaShield™ - Advanced storage with RAID technology
Unique support for four SATA 3Gb/s and four ATA-133 drives. RAID 0, RAID 1, RAID 5, and RAID 0+1 support, enabling fast disk data transfers. Allows RAID arrays across both SATA and PATA hard drives and provides advanced features like the NVIDIA disk alert system that immediately alerts you if a drive fails, and dedicated spare disks that will automatically rebuild if a failed hard drive is detected.

- ASUS Special Features

S/PDIF-out on Back I/O Port
This motherboard provides convenient connectivity to external home theater audio systems via an optical or coaxial S/PDIF-out (SONY-PHILIPS Digital Interface) jack. It allows to transfer digital audio without converting to analog format and keeps the best signal quality.
ASUS CrashFree BIOS2
The CrashFree BIOS2 feature now includes the BIOS auto-recovery function in a support CD.
Users can reboot their system through the support CD when a bootable disk is not available,
and go through the simple BIOS auto-recovery process.
ASUS motherboards now enable users to enjoy this protection feature without the need to pay for an optional ROM.
ASUS EZ Flash
With ASUS EZ Flash, you can update BIOS before entering operating system. No more DOS-based flash utility and bootable diskette required.
ASUS POST Reporter
A voice warning design during POST notifies users of any system errors, which means no more complicated LED messages!
ASUS MyLogo2
You can convert your favorite photo into a 256-color boot logo for a more colorful and vivid image on your screen.
Multi-language BIOS
ASUS provides friendly localized BIOS setup menu to help you configure your system as easy as possible.
WinDVD Suite
ASUS motherboards, intensifying leadership in the IT industry, now bundle the versatile InterVideo WinDVD Suite. This multifaceted software set includes the latest multimedia software, bringing forth the multimedia features of ASUS motherboards to the best! (OEM version)

You can see the specifications in the table below:

CPU Socket775 for Intel® Pentium Processor Extreme Edition / Pentium D / Pentium 4 / Celeron CPU
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A and 04B/04A processors
Intel® EM64T/ EIST*/Hyper-Threading Technology
Chipset NVIDIA® nForce4 SLI Intel® Edition
NVIDIA® nForce4 SLI
Front Side Bus 1066 / 800 / 533MHz
Memory Dual channel memory architecture 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets support max. 16GB DDR2 667/533 non-ECC memory Refer to www.asus.com or user manual for ""Memory QVL (Qualify Vendor List)"""
Expansion Slots 2 x PCI Express x16
2 x PCI Express x1
1 x PCI Express x4
2 x PCI
PCI 2.2
SLI ASUS EZ Plug™
ASUS two-slot thermal design
ASUS PEG Link for dual PCI Express graphics cards
Storage/RAID NVIDIA® nForce4 SLI supports NVRAID
- 2 x Ultra DMA 133/100/66/33
- 4 x Serial ATA 3 Gb/s
- NVRAID: RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD
Silicon Image® 3132 SATA controller supports
- 1 x Internal Serial ATA 3 Gb/s hard disk
- 1 x External Serial ATA hard disk (SATA On-the-Go)
- RAID 0, 1
LAN Dual Gigabit LAN featuring AI Net2
NVIDIA NF4 SLI Southbridge built-in Gigabit MAC with external Marvell PHY supports:
- NV ActiveArmor
- NV Firewall
Marvell PCI-e Gigabit LAN
WiFi-b/g: 802.11b/g (optional)
Audio Realtek ALC850 8-channel CODEC
Universal Audio Jack
Audio Sensing and Enumeration Technology
Coaxial/Optical S/PDIF out ports on back I/O
IEEE 1394 TI 1394a controller supports: - 2 x IEEE 1394a connector onboard
ASUS AI Life Features Stack Cool2 SATA on the Go (External SATA on back I/O port)
Overclocking Features Intelligent overclocking tools: - AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System) - AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner) - ASUS PEG Link - Automatically performance tuning for single/dual graphics cards - ASUS CPU Lock Free - ASUS Ai Booster Utility Precision Tweaker: - vDIMM: 8-step DRAM voltage control - vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.0125V increment SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) - FSB tuning from 133MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment - Memory tuning from 400MHz up to 1200MHz - PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment Overclocking Protection: - ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Other ASUS Special Features Fanless Design
AI NET2 network diagnosis before entering OS
CrashFree BIOS 2
Q-Fan2 MyLogo2
EZ Flash
Multi-language BIOS
BIOS 8 Mb Flash ROM, AWARD BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3
Back Panel I/O Ports 1 x Parallel
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
2 x RJ45
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 (5 x USB for WiFi edition)
1 x External SATA
1 x WiFi-b/g (optional)
8-Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors 2 x USB connectors supports additional 6 USB 2.0 ports
2 x IEEE1394a connector
1 x COM connector
1 x GAME/MIDI connector
CPU Fan / 2x Chassis Fan/ Power Fan / 2x chipset fan connectors
Front panel audio connector
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD / AUX audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
8-pin EATX 12V Power connector
4-pin EZ Plug power connector
Accessories InterVideo WinDVD Suite (OEM version)
1 x SLI connector
1 x IEEE1394 port module
4 x SATA cables
SATA power cables for 4 devices
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / Game module
1 x COM Port module
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x IDE cable
1 x FDD cable
2 x Option Fan
1 x I/O Shield
User' s manual
Support CD Drivers
ASUS PC Probe 2
ASUS Update
ASUS AI Booster
NVIDIA® NVFirwall
NVIDIA® RAID
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor ATX Form Factor, 12”x 9.6”(30.5cm x 24.5cm)

2. A Closer Look

The P5N32-SLI Deluxe, as with most of the ASUS Deluxe motherboards, is manufactured on a black PCB. The positioning of the interface connections, is done in such a way so as to make them easily accessible and the colour coding helps in identifying them.

As the STACK COOL 2 indicates on the back of the board, the P5N32-SLI Deluxe has a fan-less and zero-noise cooling solution. It effectively transfers heat generated by the critical components, to the other side of the specially designed PCB (printed circuit board) for effective heat dissipation.

With the P5ND2-SLI Deluxe, Asus has adopted its fanless design, well known from previous latest model motherboards. There are 4 aluminium fanless heatsinks, which are connected in pairs with heat pipes.

Below is the 775 socket for the Intel CPU.

The memory module slots, are colour coded black and yellow. You put two memory modules of the same memory size in the same coloured slots, to enable Dual Channel's symmetry mode support, or use two memory modules of different memory sizes for asymmetric mode.

On the back panel, you will find the keyboard and mouse (PS2) ports, audio port (digital, analog and coaxial), one parallel port, 4 USB2.0 ports, and two RJ-45 Jacks. There's also a slot for external Serial ATA. This port, according to Asus, connects to an external SATA box or a Serial ATA multiplier that supports up to 16 devices and enables smart setup and hot-plug functionality. As for IEEE1394a port, you'll have to install the appropriate component, included in the package.

There are two more connections for extra USB, as well as two for firewire and four SATA connectors.

Below you can see the standard IDE channel connectors.

The P5N32-SLI Deluxe, offers two PCI Express slots used for graphics cards and two PCI Express x1 slots. The two PCI Express x16 slots are colour coded. In SLI mode, the user should always remember that the graphics card installed in the blue PCI slot should be considered as the primary VGA card that will handle all signal transfers to the monitors. The secondary card (black slot), is used only for graphics acceleration. Both slots however are 16X even in SLI mode. The monitor connected to the secondary VGA card will go blank in SLI mode. There are also three PCI slots.

In order to switch from single VGA mode to SLI mode, no interface card is necessary anymore, this is automatic. A power cable is required for the VGA cards. If this is not connected, the red LED next to the connector, will light up.

The IT8712F is the newest member of ITE Tech's growing family of Low Pin Count Interface-based Super I/O devices with Environment Controller integration. It provides enhanced hardware monitoring, fan speed control, SmartGuardian control, and can also support a SmartCard reader, Two 16C550 UARTs, one Game port, one parallel and one serial port, floppy disk controller, keyboard controller and one ITE innovative automatic power-failure resume & power button debounce.

The Marvell Yukon 32-bit 88E1111 offers an additional network connectivity solution. It is Yukon's Gigabit Ethernet controller with Integrated PHY. It also provides advanced cable diagnostics functions, (Virtual Cable Tester technology) that will enable IT managers to more easily pinpoint the location of cable problems.

Marvell Yukon 88E8053 is a PCI-E Gb LAN controller.

For audio, Asus has equipped the board with Realtek's ALC850 chipset, providing four 16-bit two-channel DACs and a stereo 16-bit ADC. The ALC850 is an AC'97 Rev 2.3 compatible multi-channel audio CODEC designed for PC multimedia systems. The ALC850 incorporates proprietary converter technology and fully meets performance requirements for PC99/2001 systems.

The ALC850 supports host/soft audio from Intel ICHx chipsets, as well as audio controller-based VIA/SiS/ALi/AMD/nVIDIA/ATI chipsets. Bundled Windows series (98/ME/NT/2000/XP) and Linux drivers, EAX/Direct Sound 3D/I3DL2/A3D compatible sound effect utilities (supporting Karaoke, 26 types of environment sound emulations, 10-band equalizer), HRTF 3D positional audio, and Sensaura™ 3D (optional), providing an excellent entertainment package and game experience for PC users. In addition, the ALC850 is embedded with an impedance sensing capability to detect when a device has been connected to input or output jacks.

- The package

The retail package for the P4ND2-SLI Deluxe includes a large list of accessories :

Accessories InterVideo WinDVD Suite (OEM version)
1 x SLI connector
1 x IEEE1394 port module
4 x SATA cables
SATA power cables for 4 devices
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / Game module
1 x COM Port module
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x IDE cable
1 x FDD cable
2 x Option Fan
1 x I/O Shield
User' s manual
Support CD Drivers
ASUS PC Probe 2
ASUS Update
ASUS AI Booster
NVIDIA® NVFirwall
NVIDIA® RAID
Anti-virus software (OEM version)

For SLI, you'll need the following bridge:

We liked the manual a lot. Very detailed, very helpful...

For this review, we populated the ASUS P5N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard with two ASUS Extreme N6600GT graphics cards and compared it to the ASUS P5ND32-SLI Deluxe. We also compared it to the P5WD2 PREMIUM with a graphics card from AOpen, the Aeolus 6800Ultra. The comparison is rather interesting in order to find out the differences from a dual 16X VGA and see in single mode, which is better, the 955X chipset or the NForce4?


3. Test System - Configuration


Benchmarking Software
3DMark05,03,01
PCMark04, 05
Codecreatures Benchmark Pro
AquaMark3 v3.0
Performance Test V5.0
Half Life 2
Doom 3
F.E.A.R
Need For Speed - Most Wanted


4. 3DMark2005

With 3DMark05, Futuremark continues the tradition in its benchmarking software by providing a state-of-the-art Microsoft ® DirectX ® 9 3D performance benchmark.

3DMark05 is an all new 3DMark version making the most of Microsoft's DirectX 9. The previous version 3DMark03, did a nice introduction into this level of technology. However 3DMark03 used DirectX 9 specific features in a limited manner, because fully supporting hardware was rare at the time of its launch. In contrast, 3DMark05 requires DirectX 9 hardware with full support for at least Shader Model 2, and takes shader usage to never before seen levels.
Just like its predecessors, 3DMark05's point system is set so that at the moment of release, the high-end VGA cards available in stores can only score around 5000 3DMarks, whereas the worst card that meets the programs requirements yields a score of 1000.

Game Test 1 -Return to Proxycon

Click to enlargeBeing the sequel to the "Battle of Proxycon" from 3DMark03, in "Return to Proxycon" we're once again set in space and the battle continues as space pirates invade a cargo ship in order to take control of its valuable cargo.

This test, tries to simulate a future first-person shooter game with all the high details that entails. The dynamic shadows, high-detailed environment and advanced lighting techniques ensure that under normal circumstances, no recent card can run it with decent frame rates.

Game Test 2 - Firefly Forest

Click to enlargeA forest gets filled with magic fireflies in the night. The moon is nearly full, illuminating the forest with a bluish faint light. The magic fireflies have flickering bright green lights that playfully move around the forest.

This scene is a nice example of a smaller scale outdoor scene with rich vegetation. Immediate visibility is not so far, and there is a skybox surrounding the whole scene.

A large number of trees with their branches swinging separately, and dense vegetation being dynamically distributed according to the camera movements, make this test the most demanding of the three.

Game Test 3 - Canyon Flight

Click to enlargeA Jules Verne type airship flies through a canyon guarded by a dangerous sea monster. The airmen defend their ship using heavy cannons, but these seem to have no effect on the huge sea monster. Finally the crew manages a narrow escape using the "last resort" afterburners of the airship.

This scene is fairly complex with large areas of water reflecting the high canyon walls. The water actually is one of the key points of interest in this scene. The water not only does realistic looking reflections and refractions, it has a depth fog, making the sea monster swimming under the airship actually look deep down in the water. The air in this scene also uses a volumetric fog, making distant cliffs of the canyon really look far away.

Almost identical results for both NForced4 based boards in the GT2 and GT3 tests, while with GT1, the P5N32-SLI is slightly better. It seems that 3DMARK05 does not make use of the X16 dual, therefore there's no great difference in performance.

As you may notice, using of a single graphics card, the 955X based motherboard reported better performance.

Final Score

 3DMarks on 3DMark05 are now calculated by the following formula:

(Game Test 1 * Game Test 2 * Game Test 3)^0.33 * 250

This is basically the geometric mean of the total frames in each game multiplied by 250. This means that all game tests are now equal.

Slightly better score for the P5N32-SLI Deluxe in comparison to the P5ND2-SLI.

In single VGA mode it seems that the P5WD2 is rather better than the P5N32-SLI.


5. 3DMark2003

3D Mark is a widely used and accepted benchmark that stresses the DirectX performance of a VGA card. A very strong point of 3DMark is that it's VGA card measuring is does not require any CPU power. So the resulting fps are a good reference a VGA card's rendering performance. For testing the performance of each card we used the 4 game benchmarks 3DMark has.

3Dmark03 also includes sound and CPU tests as well as some other feature tests.

- Game Test 1 - Wings of Fury (DX7)

This test is a combat flight simulator written for older hardware (DirectX 7). Particles are used a lot in this test - smoke and vapor trails, flak and gunfire, and explosions are produced using point sprites and quads.

- Game Test 2 - Battle of Proxycon (DX8)

This test is a simulation of first person shooter game types. 1.1 and 1.4 Vertex shaders are widely used since all character models are skinned using vertex shaders.This makes this test a good vertex shader comparison for VGA cards.

- Game Test 3 - Trolls' Lair (DX8)

This test should be the favorite of all RPG lovers. It is a cut scene of a female warrior facing two malicious trolls. Again the same vertex and pixel processing is used as in game test 2.

This test also uses post-processing effects, such as Depth of Field and Bloom effects which are widely used in today's game cut scene sequences.

- Game Test 4 - Mother Nature (DX9)

Mother nature represents the level of effects and realism that are possible using 2.0 vertex and pixel shaders, plus some other features that DirectX 9 offers.

This time, there is a huge difference in performance between the two NForce4 based motherboards.

The 955X is still better, in single VGA mode however.

- 3DMark Official score

If you test your machine with 3DMark, you can post the results at 3DMark's online result browser. For more information visit futuremark.com.

In all tests, the reported framerates were higher when using the P5N32-SLI.

Higher framerates for the P5WD2.


6. Codecreatures

CodeCreatures is a synthetic 3D benchmark that is a good reference for VGA performance comparison. This is a high-end 3D benchmark that also requires DirectX 8 hardware, making a good tool for measuring the potential of DirectX 8 game performance.

The Codecreatures benchmark is written with Microsoft's DirectX 8.1 API and incorporates the use of Vertex and PixelShaders popular on next generation 3D accelerators.

The benchmark plays a photo-realistic nature scene and calculates the performance of the graphics adapter by measuring the fps that it can display at 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200 resolutions.

-Codecreatures number

The codecreatures number is the resulting score of the total benchmarking process and is basically the geometric mean of the three frame rates multiplied by 100.

Similar framerates for both the P5N32-SLI and P5ND2-SLI, with two N6600GT in SLI mode. In single mode, with the AOpen Aeolus 6800Ultra, the P5WD2 reported higher performance than the P5N32-SLI.


7. Aquamark - 3DMark01

Since the majority of today's applications and games are compatible with DirectX 9, the need of benchmark applications that use DX 9 has been brought up. The benchmark uses the 3D engine (Krass engine) of the Aquanox game.

 

Aquamark Triscore

The Aquamark Triscore comprises 3 values: the overall system performance, the performance of the graphics system and the CPU performance. Keep in mind that this is not the total result of the tests, but the result of the whole benchmark process including all 9 chapters.

Unexpected results for the P5N32-SLI...

The 955X based P5WD2 once again reported slightly better results.

3DMark 2001

3DMark 2001 is the predecessor to 3DMark03. It's mainly a directx8.1 benchmark and the score depends a lot on the CPU power of your computer. However for reference use only we decided it'd be best to just leave it in our benchmark list so you can compare the next generation cards with the possibly outdated you have at home.

Similar performance for the P5N32-SLI and the P5ND2-SLI. Don't forget that 3DMARK01 is too old to take advantage of dual X16 SLI mode.

This time, the P5N32-SLI reported slightly better performance than the P5WD2.


8. Half Life 2

Half life 2 is no doubt the most anticipated pc game of all times. Gamers keeping the excellence of Half Life 1 in their mind as well as the remarkable E3 demo preview, have been anxiously waiting for the much delayed release of HL2.

Characters - Advanced facial animation system delivers the most sophisticated in-game characters ever seen. With 40 distinct facial "muscles," human characters convey the full array of human emotion, and respond to the player with fluidity and intelligence.

Physics - From pebbles to water to 2-ton trucks respond as expected, as they obey the laws of mass, friction, gravity, and buoyancy.

Graphics - Source's shader-based renderer, like the one used at Pixar to create movies such as Toy Story® and Monster's, Inc.®, creates the most beautiful and realistic environments ever seen in a video game.

AI - Neither friends nor enemies charge blindly into the fray. They can assess threats, navigate tricky terrain, and fashion weapons from whatever is at hand.

To measure performance we used the Video Stress Test(VST) that is available in the CounterStrike:Source beta available through Steam. We set all the details to the highest level and each time changed the resolution from 800x600 up to 1600x1200.

The P5N32-SLI is a gaming motherboard and the results confirmed this, at least with the Half Life 2 engine. In almost all cases, with advanced filtering enabled and disabled, the P5N32-SLI reported higher framerates.


9. Doom 3

A massive demonic invasion has overwhelmed the Union Aerospace Corporations? (UAC) Mars Research Facility leaving only chaos and horror in its wake. As one of the few survivors, you struggle with shock and fear as you fight your way to Hell and back, in an epic clash against pure evil.

Activision made it's miracle again with Doom 3 which is said to be the best-looking game ever, thanks to the brand-new OpenGL graphics engine used to generate its convincingly lifelike, densely atmospheric, and surprisingly expansive environments. If you are a fan of the previous Doom games then you will get many flashbacks with this revision, since you will find re-imagined versions of almost every monster from both Doom and Doom II.

To measure performance on the game we used the timedemo demo1 command from the console (Alt+Ctrl+~).
Enabling the high quality setting and executing the timedemo demo1 command twice for each resolution, we witnessed the following:

First, without the Anti-Aliasing and Anisotropic Filtering settings enabled, we logged the following results:

Similar framerates in some cases, but overall, the P5N32-SLI seems to be faster.

With the Doom 3 engine, it seems that the P5WD2 is better overall, even if only by a small difference.


10. F.E.A.R.

You aren't a soldier. You are a weapon. A paramilitary force infiltrates a multi billion dollar aerospace compound taking hostages, but issuing no demands.

The government responds by sending in its best special operations teams, only to have them obliterated. Live footage of the massacre is cut short by an unexpected wave of destruction that leaves military leaders stunned and in disbelief.

First Encounter Assault Recon (F.E.A.R.) is one of the new-generation FPS. The graphics are really stunning, the plot behind the whole shooting successfully keeps it interesting and even the A.I. seems to work out well.

F.E.A.R. offers a lot to the First Person Shooter world. The graphics are very clear with excellent textures, great new effects that will stress your graphics card and ragdoll physics that are waiting to be exploited as you progress through the game.

- Benchmark Settings

F.E.A.R. allows you test the video settings on a mini-benchmark involving a lot of weapon firing, explosions and several other effects. After the benchmark is run, you're presented with a screen showing your minimum, average and maximum framerates and also percentages of how often the framerate was below 25fps, between 25 and 40, and finally above 40. For this presentation, we're just sticking to the minimum and average framerates.

The resolutions we used were 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x960 and 1600x1200. We measured performance with high and highest details.

With High Settings, the P5WD2 and AOpen 6800Ultra reported higher framerates than the P5N32-SLI.

As in the previous case, here too, the P5WD2 is overall faster.


11. Need For Speed - Most Wanted

Wake up to the smell of burnt asphalt as the thrill of illicit street racing permeates the air.

Combining illicit street racing and tuner customization with the intensity of strategic police pursuit that surpasses any Hollywood-style chase scene, Need for Speed Most Wanted will be on every gamer's 'must-have' list this holiday season. Out-race rivals, evade cops and exploit hundreds of miles of open road as gamers make their way up the Blacklist.

To become the most wanted racer, players must build up their street cred and Rap Sheet with gripping, white knuckle, head-to-head races with the top drivers on the streets, as well as pull daring, evasive moves to out-run and out-fox the cops that patrol the open road. Players can manage their heat or utilize a number of strategic tactics to keep the cops off their tails as they leave their rivals behind to suck their exhaust fumes.

- Benchmark Settings

NFS Most Wanted includes no default benchmark. To measure the card's performance, we've chosen to record the framerate at the start of a circuit race with end-game cars. The starting point tends to be one of the most graphically demanding parts because of the smoke coming from spinning wheels added to the rest of the game's visual effects. If a card can pass this step with an acceptable framerate it is guaranteed that it will face no problem with the rest of the game.

The resolutions we used are 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x1024 and 1600x1200. We measured performance at the lowest and highest possible settings.

Same results here, the P5WD2 is better, in single VGA mode.


12. Performance Test v5.0

The suite of the PassMark Performance Test contains a number of suites with different tests to measure different aspects of a computer system.

The "PassMark rating" is a weighted average of all the other test results and gives a single overall indication of the computers performance. The bigger the number, the faster the computer. The "PassMark rating" can only be calculated if the results from all other tests are available. The value is calculated as follows.

Test Suite Weighting
Disk 20%
CD / DVD 9%
Memory 18%
3D Graphics 12%
2D Graphics 14%
CPU 27%
Total 100%

This is a test for measuring the overall performance of a whole system. Your PC will perform better if you choose to install the P5N32-SLI instead of the P5ND2-SLI, but even better with the P5WD2.


13. PCMark04 - 05

PCMark04 and 05 are application-based benchmarks and a premium tool for measuring overall PC performance. It uses portions of real applications instead of including very large applications or using specifically created code. This allows PCMark05 to be a smaller installation as well as to report very accurate results. As far as possible, PCMark05 uses public domain applications whose source code can be freely examined by any user.

Both PCMark04 and PCMark05 include 5 categorized suites for benchmarking your computer. These include System, CPU, Graphics, Memory and a Hard Disk Drive benchmark. In our case, we selected the system test suite which integrates tests included in the other categories.

Both PCM04 and PCM05 reported a better overall performance for the P5N32-SLI Deluxe motherboard. Same parts and same components seem to perform better on this NForce4 based motherboard. The results in this test however, don't seems to fully agree with those of Performance Test v5.0.


14. Overclocking

You can increase your Asus P5N32-SLI Deluxe board's system performance with the AiBooster utility, bundled in the software package. The default FSB for the Pentium 4 3.73Ghz Extreme Edition is 1066Mhz.

The maximum overclocking speed we managed to achieve was 4.28Ghz with the FSB running at 1224Mhz. We tried this both with AiBooster and through the BIOS. At higher speeds, we had the blue screen of death or the system failed to boot.


15. Bios - Page 1


Asus Logo


Bios main Screen


Hardware Monitor


16. Bios - Page 2

The BIOS features for advanced use, including overclocking:

Below you can choose between an OC profile, Auto or manual overclocking...

...by setting the FSB speed.


17. Support CD

The Software CD included in the retail package includes the following:


Drivers


Utilities

Asus Update is a very helpful utility which helps locate the appropriate firmware revision for the motherboard and then flashes it.

We highly recommend that you first download the new BIOS from the internet, and then proceed with the flash procedure.

You can see the BIOS details from the appropriate selection in the drop down menu.


18. PC Probe II

We highly recommend you install this software. It will provide you with helpful information about your system.

This time, Asus has upgraded its PC Probe, providing a more impressive layout.

If something isn't within specs or isn't working properly, the right panel lights up red.

Voltage, temperatures, fan speed are some of the parameters you can monitor.

You can also monitor the HD and RAM conditions as well as CPU Usage.


19. AiBooster

AIBooster is a convenient utility to help overclock your system. There is no need to delve into the BIOS with this utility, although we still think the BIOS is still the safest way to go.

You can select from pre-defined overclocking profiles, the same as those available in the BIOS.

.

You also have the ability to manually adjust the CPU or Memory Voltage as well as the FSB speed.

After any changes, you'll have to restart your system. You'll be informed by the appropriate message.


20. Conclusion

The P5N32-SLI Deluxe comes in a full retail package with all appropriate cables being included and a very helpful manual. Taking a close look at the the black colored PCB, you will see that the it is of quality construction, and incorporates the Stack Cool 2 technology. Dual X16 PCI-Express with SLI support, double Gigabit LAN, HD-AUDIO, SATA RAID, Dual Channel, N.O.S. are only some of the board's long list of features. Maybe a WireLess LAN or IDE in RAID mode are something we would like to see. For firewire, you'll have to waste a PCI slot. The fanless cooling is rather impressive and effective too.

In comparison to the previous P5ND2-SLI, the new P5N32-SLI has better performance in SLI mode despite the fact that the latest games don't stretch the motherboard to its limits, taking advantage of the x16 dual cards in SLI. PCMark05 rated it faster than both the P5ND2-SLI and P5WD2. The overall performance in SLI mode is good but in single mode, a 955X based motherboard, such as the P5WD2, reported better results, mostly in games environments.

The price at the time of this review was US$209 from newegg.com. This is a good price, if we keep in mind what the board offers, its performance and the overall package.

 

Pros:

Cons:

Like to be fixed

Features
Performance
BIOS/Overclocking
Value for money

 



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