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Appeared on: Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Asus P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP


1. Introduction

Asus is a well known and established manufacturer presenting innovative products for the majority of users. The Core2Duo platform needs a stable and at the same time powerful motherboard to fulfill most users expectations. Asus has released for sometime now, the P5B series, aimed at enthusiast users who want nothing less than the ultimate performance with high overclocking features. Today, we will examine the top model from the P5B series, the P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP edition, which includes, as the titles indicates, a WiFi option.

- Asus P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP

The Asus P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP is based on Intel's 965 chipset, which supports Intel®Core™2Extreme, Core™2Duo, Pentium®4EE, Pentium®D, Pentium®4, CeleronD processors for Socket (LGA775). It features 1066/800/533MHz(FSB), dual-channel un-buffered DDR2 667/533/400 x 4DIMMs with a maximum of 4GB.

- Main features

This motherboard supports the most powerful and energy efficient Intel® Core™2 processors. It features the Intel® P965 chipset and supports DDR2 800MHz dual-channel memory architecture. Quiet thermal technologies – 8-Phase Power Design, Stack Cool 2, Heat Pipe Design, Q-Fan 2 and Optional Fan – together provide a comfortable environment for the processor, memory, graphics card and other components to interoperate effectively. With exclusive innovative tools – AI NOS™, AI Gear and AI Nap – users can adjust operation speed according to their specific needs.

AI Lifestylestyle Series
AI Lifestylestyle Series motherboards bring lifestyle and personal computing together. They provide you with better system performance allowing you to enjoy graphic-intensive games and applications. The cutting-edge audio feature dramatically enhances the quality of voice signals. Thoughtful design allows you to set up your system easily. To create a peaceful environment, several new and improved innovations are included to reduce noise and temperature. Don't change your way of life for a computer. Instead let the ASUS Lifestyle Series improve the quality of your life.

Vista Premium Ready
To stay in step with Windows Vista™ hardware requirements, ASUS motherboards are optimized for the ultimate user experiences. With excellent stability, compatibility, and performance, ASUS motherboards provide a powerful platform to run Windows Vista™.

* Official driver to be released after Vista launch
* This product meets Vista Premium hardware requirements

LGA775 Intel® Quad-core Processor Ready
This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Quad-core processors in LGA775 package. It's excellent for multi-tasking, multi-media and enthusiastic gamers with 1066/800 MHz FSB. Intel® Quad-core is one of the most powerful CPUs in the world

LGA775 Intel® Core™2 Processor Ready
This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Core™2 processors in LGA775 package. With new Intel® Core™ microarchitecture technology and 1066 / 800 MHz FSB, Intel® Core™2 processor is one of the most powerful and energy efficient CPUs in the world.

Intel® P965 Chipset
The Intel® P965 Express Chipset is the latest chipset designed to support maximum 8GB dual-channel DDR2 800/667/533 architecture, 1066/800 FSB (front-side-bus), PCI Express x16 graphics and multi-core CPUs. It especially includes Intel® Fast Memory Access Technology that significantly optimizes the use of available memory bandwidth and reduces the latency of the memory accesses.

ATI CrossFire Technology
ATI's CrossFire boosts image quality along with rendering speed, eliminating the need to crank down screen resolutions to get the high image quality you want. CrossFire ignites with the higher antialiasing, anisotropic filtering, shading, and texture settings you desire. Adjust your display configurations, experiment with your advanced 3D settings, and check the effect with a real-time 3D-rendered preview within ATI's Catalyst™ Control Center to rule your CrossFire system.

ASUS C.G.I. (Cross Graphics Impeller)
CrossFire performance optimization offered by C.G.I occurs in Direct Media Interface (DMI) between the P965 Northbridge, which carries one x16 PCI Express slot (x16 PCI Express Lanes), and ICH8R Southbridge, where another x16 PCI Express slot (x4 PCI Express Lanes) resides. C.G.I streamlines data transfer between the Northbridge and Southbridge, delivering enhanced performance during Crossfire dual-GPU mode.

Dual-Channel DDR2 800
DDR2 is the next generation memory technology to replace the current DDR. With the highest speed up to 800MHz, DDR2 memory provides great performance for 3D graphics and other memory demanding applications.

Kingston® HyperX® PC2-8500 Ready (default overclock at 1066 MHz)
The Kingston HyperX PC2-8500 is high-frequency memory that delivers outstanding performance. Built with only the best components, the P5B Deluxe and PC2-8500 HyperX memory are optimized for each other to reach maximum performance. Both are validated for stability and compatibility.
*The Kingston DIMM modules are not included in the ASUS motherboard package.

AI Gear
* Optimize performance and quietness as you wish!
To balance both system performance and quietness, AI Gear allows users to choose from profiles to adjust CPU frequency and vCore voltage, minimizing system noise and power consumption. Users can real-time change the mode under operating system to suit their needs.

AI Nap
* Minimize noise and power consumption when temporarily away!
With AI Nap, users can instantly snooze their PC without terminating the tasks. System will continue operating at minimum power and noise when user is temporarily away. It keeps downloading files or running applications in quietest state while you're sleeping. Simply click keyboard or mouse, you can swiftly wake up the system in few seconds.

8 Phase Power Design

* Cooler and quieter system
* Longer components lifespan
* More stable and reliable under heavy-loading and overclocking

The ASUS 8-Phase Power Design provides highly efficient operation to generate less heat (at least 15°C (59°F)) than other conventional power solutions. It reduces input ripple current and output ripple voltage, which keeps the CPU and power module from suffering the risk of high power stress. It has the advantages of quick transient response and stability, especially beneficial when the CPU requires more current immediately after heavy loading or overclocking mode.

Fanless Design - Stack Cool 2
* Effective and zero-noise heat dissipation
Stack Cool 2 is a fan-less and zero-noise cooling solution offered exclusively by ASUS. 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 - Heat Pipe
* Zero failure
* Support side-flow fan or passive cooler
The Heat Pipe design effectively directs the heat generated by the chipsets to the heatsink near the back IO ports, where it can be carried away by existing airflow from the CPU fan or bundled optional fan. The purpose of the innovative heat pipe design on this motherboard is that the groundbreaking fanless design does not have lifetime problems as a chipset fan does. Furthermore, it provides options for users to install side-flow fan or passive cooler. The Heat Pipe design is the most reliable fanless thermal solution to date.

Optional Fan (for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only)
* Maximize Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling performance!
The optional fan is specifically designed to provide sufficient airflow over the CPU power modules and chipset area when water-cooling or passive-cooling is utilized, ensuring effective heat dissipation for the entire system.

Q-Fan 2
* Adjusts both CPU fan and chassis fan speeds according to system loading
ASUS Q-Fan2 technology intelligently adjusts both CPU fan and chassis fan speeds according to system loading to ensure quiet, cool and efficient operation.

Q-Connector
* Make connection quick and accurate!
The ASUS Q-Connector allows you to connect or disconnect chassis front panel cables in one easy step with one complete module. This unique adapter eliminates the trouble of plugging in one cable at a time, making connection quick and accurate.

O.C. Profile
* Conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings
* Freely share and distribute favorite overclocking settings
The motherboard features the ASUS O.C. Profile that allows users to conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings. The BIOS settings can be stored in the CMOS or a separate file, giving users freedom to share and distribute their favorite overclocking settings.

CrashFree BIOS 3
* Simply restore corrupted BIOS data from USB flash disk
The ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 allows users to restore corrupted BIOS data from a USB flash disk containing the BIOS file. This utility saves users the cost and hassle of buying a replacement BIOS chip.

EZ Flash 2
* Simply update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS
EZ Flash 2 is a user-friendly BIOS update utility. Simply launch this tool and update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS. You can update your BIOS only in a few clicks without preparing an additional floppy diskette or using an OS-based flash utility.

Power LED
* Remind you to unplug the power cable before changing any device
The motherboard comes with a newly designed ASUS Power LED that lights up in two colors to show the system power status. Blue indicates that the system is in sleep/soft-off mode and red indicates that the system is ON. The ASUS Power LED helps remind you to shut down the system and unplug the power cable before removing or plugging in any motherboard component.

AI NOS™
* Boost performance when you need it the most!
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 speed .

Precision Tweaker
* Achieve system maximum performance!
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. This motherboard gives you 13-step voltage control to the DIMM.
vCore - Find out "exactly" how much power your CPU needs. Fine-tune it with 0.00625 volts at a time!
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) allows
- FSB tuning from 100MHz up to 650MHz at 1MHz increment
- Memory tuning from 533MHz up to 1066MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment

PEG Link
* Boost graphics card performance for superior video quality
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.

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.

Noise Filter
* Eliminate background noise while recording
This feature detects repetitive and stationary noises like computer fans, air conditioners, and other background noises then eliminates it in the incoming audio stream while recording.

Array Mic
* Eliminate interferences in the reception cone
* Enhance speech-centric applications
The bundled Superbeam Array Microphone receives only the sound coming from the reception cone and ignores the sound coming from other directions. This mechanism eliminates a large number of interferences including neighboring speakers and reverberations. It also uses advanced de-reverberation techniques to reduce echo and minimize its effect on the speech engine. This feature can enhance speech-centric application like Skype, online game, video conference and recording.

ASUS WiFi-AP Solo™
Why buy wireless AP off the store when you can have it on board?
WiFi-AP Solo™ allows a new level of versatility for your PC, enabling it to create a complete wireless home network in either AP or wireless client mode. Users will be able to play LAN games, connect to the Internet, access and share printers, and use Skype from anywhere within range. WiFi-AP Solo™ can provide these functions even when the PC is in sleep mode, so users can use Skype as a true replacement for tradition long distance telephone service. WiFi-AP Solo™ is an on-board feature, which means that user will save the extra WiFi AP cost.

Other features:

SATA on the Go
This motherboard 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. The external SATA port located at the back I/O provides smart setup and hot-plug functions. Easily backup photos, videos and other entertainment contents on external devices.

Dual RAID
The Intel P965 chipsets incorporate six Serial ATA connectors with high performance RAID functions in RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. The JMicron controller provides another two Serial ATA connectors for RAID 0, 1, and JBOD functions. This motherboard is the ideal solution to enhance hard disk performance and data back up protection without the cost of add-on cards.

Dual Gigabit LAN
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.

IEEE 1394a interface
IEEE 1394a interface provides high speed digital interface for audio/video appliances such as digital television, digital video camcorders, storage peripherals & other PC portable devices.

High Definition Audio
Enjoy high-end sound system on your PC! The onboard 8-channel HD audio (High Definition Audio, previously codenamed Azalia) CODEC enables high-quality 192KHz/24-bit audio output, jack-sensing feature, retasking functions and multi-streaming technology that simultaneously sends different audio streams to different destinations. You can now talk to your partners on the headphone while playing a multi-channel network games. All of these are done on one computer.

S/PDIF-out on Back I/O Port
This motherboard provides convenient connectivity to external home theater audio systems via an 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.

- Full specifications

Genuine Windows is authentic Windows software that is properly licensed and legally installed. Learn more about the special benefits reserved for genuine Windows customers by visiting www.microsoft.com/Genuine
CPU
Intel® Quad-core CPU Ready
LGA775 socket for Intel® Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Duo / Pentium® Extreme / Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 / Celeron® D Processors
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06B processors
Intel® Hyper-Threading Technology ready
* Please update the latest BIOS to support Intel Quad-core CPU
Chipset

Intel® P965 / ICH8R with Intel® Fast Memory Access Technology

Front Side Bus
1066 / 800 / 533 MHz
Memory
4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR2 800 / 667 / 533 MHz, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Dual channel memory architecture

Expansion Slots
2 x PCI-E x16 (blue @  x16 mode, black @ x2 or x4 mode)
1 x PCI-E x1 (x1 or disabled mode)
3 x PCI 2.2
CrossFire
Supports ATI CrossFire graphics cards (blue @ x16 mode and black @ x4 mode)
Storage
Southbridge
 - 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
 - Intel Matrix Storage Technology supports  RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10.
JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
 - 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
 - 1 x Internal SATA 3.0 Gb/s port
 - 1 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
 - Support SATA RAID 0, 1 and JBOD (by 1x External SATA & 1x Internal SATA)

LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers, both featuring AI NET2
Marvell® PCI-E and PCI Gigabit LAN controllers

Wireless LAN
ASUS WiFi-AP Solo
54 Mbps IEEE 802.11g and backwards compatible with 11 Mbps IEEE 802.11b
 - Software Access point mode
 - Station mode : Infrastructure mode and Ad-Hoc mode
Audio

ADI® AD1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
 - Support Jack-Sensing, Enumeration, Multi-streaming and Jack-Retasking
 - Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
 - ASUS Noise Filter
 - ASUS Array Mic

IEEE 1394
TI® 1394a controller supports 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (one at midboard; one at back panel)
USB
8 x USB2.0 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 4 ports at back panel)
ASUS AI Lifestyle Features
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
 - ASUS AI Gear
 - ASUS AI Nap
 - ASUS 8-Phase Power Design
 - ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
 - ASUS Fanless Design: Stack Cool 2
 - ASUS Q-Fan 2
 - ASUS Optional Fan for Water-cooling or Passive-Cooling only
ASUS Crystal Sound:
 - ASUS Noise Filter
 - ASUS Array Mic
ASUS EZ DIY:
 - ASUS Q-Connector
 - ASUS O.C. Profile
 - ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
 - ASUS EZ Flash 2
 - ASUS Power LED
ASUS WiFi@Home:
 - ASUS WiFi-AP Solo
Other ASUS Special Features

ASUS MyLogo 2
Multi-language BIOS

Overclocking Features
Intelligent overclocking tools:
 - AI NOS™ (Non-delay Overclocking System)
 - AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
 - ASUS PEG Link - Automatically performance tuning for graphics card
 - ASUS AI Booster utility
Precision Tweaker:
 - vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
 - vDIMM: 13-step DRAM voltage control
 - vChipset: 4-step Chipset voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
 - FSB tuning from 100MHz up to 650MHz at 1MHz increment
 - Memory tuning from 533MHz up to 1066MHz
 - PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment
Overclocking Protection:
 - ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x PS/2 Keyboard
1 x PS/2 Mouse
1 x Serial port
1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
1 x External SATA
1 x IEEE1394a
2 x RJ45 port
4 x USB 2.0/1.1
1 x WiFi-AP Solo antenna jack
8-Channel Audio I/O
Internal I/O Connectors
2 x USB connectors support additional 4 USB ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
7 x SATA connectors
1 x CPU Fan connector
5 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x IEEE1394a connector
Front panel audio connector
1 x Azalia Digital Header
1 x S/PDIF Out Header
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD audio in
24-pin ATX Power connector
2 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
System Panel
BIOS
8 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
UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
FDD cable
SATA cables
SATA power cables
I/O Shield
User's manual
USB2.0 port module
3 in 1 Q-connector
IEEE1394 port module
InterVideo® Media Launcher (OEM version)
Optional Fan for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only
ASUS WiFi-AP Solo omni-directional antenna
Array Mic
Support CD
Drivers
ASUS PC Probe II
ASUS Update
AI Booster
ASUS AI Suite
ASUS WiFi-AP Solo Wizard
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.5cm)

2. The Package

The Asus P5B Deluxe package is quite big. It can be found at a price ranging from US $200~250, making it an expensive solution for entry level users. On the other hand, enthusiast users will find the price very affordable:

The package includes all information about the board's design and special features

Below is a list of what's included in the retail package

The board itself, looks very "tidy" and most parts can be identified easily:

Let's zoom- in on the CPU area. We can clearly notice the passive cooling solution for the northbridge. As Asus comments "...The Heat Pipe design effectively directs the heat generated by the chipsets to the heatsink near the back IO ports, where it can be carried away by existing airflow from CPU fan or bundled optional fan...". Nearby components are low profile so there shouldn't be any problem with large 3rd party cooling solutions:

Click to Enlarge!

Moving to the southbridge, we can see the passive heatsink and the eight SATA 2 connections

The Asus P5B Deluxe board is ATI Crossfire enabled, hence the two PCI-E slots for your Crossfire setup. Between the two PCI-E slots, we find two PCI slots and in total, the P5B Deluxe has three.

There are several extra connections for USB, Front Panel Audio, COM2 and Firewire on the rear. Asus has include all port modules in the retail package. The back I/O panel has the usual connectors

We notices what could lead to a rather difficult situation, if you decide to install a large sized VGA card, like the MSI 7600GT Silent. There are two capacitors very close to the PCI-E slot that may get damaged if you aren't careful when installing and removing the VGA card. On the other hand, using a passively cooled card, won't present any problems:


3. BIOS

The BIOS is the usual one seen with most ASUS boards. The first tab includes the system time/date and storage devices:

Under System Information, we can see our Bios Version and Build Data, the CPU processor type and available RAM:

The Advanced chipset feature, is the "heart" of Asus P5B Deluxe, where we can tweak all major overclocking settings. By default, AI Tuning and DRAM Frequency are set to AUTO:

In order to take control of your board, set AI Tuning to Manual and all available settings will appear:

The CPU Frequency sets the FSB, while the DRAM Frequency has several settings, from Auto to DDR2-1067MHz. Each setting represents a different CPU:RAM ratio, so be careful what to select:

If you overclock and increasing the FSB, the DRAM Frequency changes on-the-fly accordingly, a very useful feature:

Memory, CPU, FSB, NB, SB and ICH voltages can also be set. Note, that unfortunately, the P5B Deluxe doesn't support 2.2V for DRAM:

 

Moving on to the Advanced CPU settings, we can set important information about our processor, in this case the Core2Duo, Ratio status (set modify Ratio Support to Enabled) and disable SpeedStep Technology (set C1E Support to Disabled):

If we decide to manually set the CPU ratio (internal multiplier), another dialogue menu appears, and with +/- we can increase/decrease ratio value:

The Northbridge chipset controls the DRAM. By default, all settings are set to Auto.

Taking control of memory timings is important if you want to maximize the performance of your system

Other features include setting the HD Audio controller and On board LAN:

And of course, the hardware monitor:

Boot priority can be set under Boot settings menu

The user has the option to set OC Profiles in the BIOS:


4. Installation

After you install your processor and boot into Windows, use the supplied CD-ROM for drivers and useful utilities:

Using Everest Ultimate Edition 2006, we can obtain more information about the P5B Deluxe:

Both the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets unveiled:

Asus' Update software doesn't seem to work properly with the auto-update bios setting:

Of course, you can download the latest available BIOS yourself and flash the board from Windows XP. Note, that you cannot flash the board with an older BIOS version under Windows. In that case, you have to use the DOS Bios update procedure:


5. Tests - Page 1

In order to test the board, we used the following setup:

For comparison, we post results from a reference Core2Duo motherboard, Intel's D975XBX rev00 with 1351 BIOS and the Foxconn 945G7AD. In all cases, the same components were used. We tried to set the same memory timing/voltages where it was possible. Most of the tests were done with 706 beta BIOS, while the latest release 804 build may offer slightly higher performance.

- Everest Ultimate Edition 2006

Click for official website!EVEREST Ultimate Edition, is an industry leading system diagnostics and benchmarking solution for enthusiast PC users, based on the award-winning EVEREST Technology. During system optimizations and tweaking, it provides essential system and overclocking information, advanced hardware monitoring and diagnostics capabilities to check the effects of the applied settings. CPU, FPU and memory benchmarks are available to measure the actual system performance and compare it to previous states or other systems. Furthermore, complete software, operating system and security information makes EVEREST Ultimate Edition a comprehensive system diagnostics tool that offers a total of 100 pages of information about your PC.

The software has several built-in tests for both memory and CPU/FPU. The Asus P5B Deluxe provided impressive results in the memory tests:

In the FPU/CPU tests, the ASUS motherboard was again the top performer:

SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility. It should provide most of the information (including undocumented) you need to know about your hardware, software and other devices. It works along the lines of other Windows utilities, however it tries to go beyond them and show you more of what's really going on. Giving the user the ability to draw comparisons at both a high and low-level. You can get information about the CPU, chipset, video adapter, ports, printers, sound card, memory, network, Windows internals, AGP, PCI, PCIe, ODBC Connections, USB2, 1394/Firewire, etc.

We notice that the P5B Deluxe has a clear advantage in the Cache and Memory Index, while Foxconn 945G7AD seems slightly faster in the CPU tests.


6. Tests - Page 2

Click for homepage!PCMark®05 is everything you need to reliably and easily measure the performance of your PC and determine its strengths and weaknesses. With PCMark05, you will be able to select the optimal upgrades for your existing PC, or choose the right new PC that fits your specific needs. This easy-to-use product gives you the same tools and knowledge that virtually every professional tester in the industry uses.

Below you can see all three available scores for memory, CPU and total. Looking at the CPU score, the Foxconn motherboard is slightly faster, while the Asus P5B Deluxe is faster in the memory tests. The overall score is in favor of the Foxconn motherboard and surprisingly has the ASUS board last.

Click for homepage!3DMark®06 is the worldwide standard in advanced 3D game performance benchmarking. A fundamental tool for every company in the PC industry as well as PC users and gamers, 3DMark06 uses advanced real-time 3D game workloads to measure PC performance using a suite of DirectX 9 3D graphics tests, CPU tests, and 3D feature tests. 3DMark06 tests include all new HDR/SM3.0 graphics tests, SM2.0 graphics tests, AI and physics driven single and multiple cores or processor CPU tests and a collection of comprehensive feature tests to reliably measure next generation gaming performance today.

Below we can find the scores for both CPU and total. There's not a lot between the boards here.

Science Mark 2.0 is an attempt to put the truth behind benchmarking. In an attempt to model real world demands and performance, SM2 is a suite of high-performance benchmarks that realistically stress system performance without architectural bias.  Science Mark 2.0 is comprised of 7 benchmarks, each of which measures a different aspect of real world system performance.

Pov-Ray s a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows, Mac OS/Mac OS X and i86 Linux. The source code is available for those wanting to do their own ports. We used Pov-Ray 3.7beta15 for all tests, since it supports Dual Core CPUs. We used the built-in benchmark as suggested from developers.

Pov-Ray benchmark uses more CPU raw power and shows that the Foxconn motherboard was just slightly faster, while in ScienceMark, which is more memory intensive with its calculations, sees the P5B Deluxe clearly ahead.


7. Tests - Page 3

Nero Digital

One of the major advantages of getting the Core2Duo is video encoding. Nero Digital is one of the most well known Digital formats, offering both ASP and AVC encoders.

For our tests, we used the latest version of Nero Recode v2.3.1.8, as packaged with Nero Reloaded v7.5.0.1. As a source, we used a VOB file, of 5 minutes duration. We encoded in both modes (ASP, AVC) with exactly the same preferences (same bitrate and dual pass). The encoding time displayed below, is what Nero Recode reported. As you can expect, the less time that was taken, the better. All results are displayed in seconds.

All motherboards had exactly the same performance with ASP encoding. Passing to the more CPU/RAM intensive benchmark, the Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard was clearly faster.

CINEBENCH is the free benchmarking tool for Windows and Mac OS based on the powerful 3D software CINEMA 4D. Consequently, the results of tests conducted using CINEBENCH 9.5 carry significant weight when analyzing a computer’s performance in everyday use.

Especially a system’s CPU and the OpenGL capabilities of its graphics card are put through their paces (even multiprocessor systems with up to 16 dedicated CPUs or processor cores). During the testing procedure, all relevant data is ascertained with which the performance of different computers can subsequently be compared, regardless of operating system. All tests were done with the latest available build (R9.5), and the sum of each sub-test is displayed at the following chart..

The CineBench total score has the Foxconn ahead.

A Total SuperPI result from Intel XE6800SuperPI has become a utility to benchmark modern systems. In August 1995, the calculation of pi up to 4,294,960,000 decimal digits was succeeded by using a supercomputer at the University of Tokyo. The program was written by D.Takahashi and he collaborated with Dr. Y.Kanada at the computer center, the University of Tokyo. This record-breaking program was ported to personal computer environment such as Windows NT and Windows 95 and called Super PI.

The software offers up to 32M calculations of PI numbers, for all CPUs we tested up to 8M calculations and sum them up for a total score.

Due to better memory handling, the Asus P5B Deluxe had the lowest overall SuperPI calculation time:


8. F.E.A.R.

The story begins as an unidentified paramilitary force infiltrates a multi-billion dollar aerospace compound. The government responds by sending in Special Forces, but loses contact as an eerie signal interrupts radio communications. When the interference subsides moments later, the team has been literally torn apart. As part of a classified strike team created to deal with threats no one else can handle, your mission is simple: Eliminate the intruders at any cost. Determine the origin of the signal. And contain this crisis before it spirals out of control.

The game offers up to 1280x960 resolution, which was used for all our tests. We maxed all details for CPU and VGA card, except Soft Shadows and AA/AF. Using Forceware 3D Control panel, we enabled AA/AF accordingly, as shown in each graph. Below are the results after using the built-in benchmark test:

The Asus P5B Deluxe had the highest performance among the tested motherboards.

- Prey

Prey tells the story of Tommy, a Cherokee garage mechanic stuck on a reservation going nowhere. His life changes when a crisis from another world forces him to awaken spiritual powers from his long-forgotten birthright. Abducted along with his people to a menacing mothership orbiting Earth, he sets out to save himself and his girlfriend and eventually his planet.

Prey is a serious, dark story, based on authentic Cherokee mythology. Themes of sacrifice, love and responsibility are explored and the story dives into emotional territory not yet explored by similar games. Prey is based on Quake 3 engine and for sure will keep you awake many nights...

For all tests, we used hocbench that offers all benchmarking options through a GUI. We used the built-in Guru3D timedemo and all results are posted below:

Again with Prey, the Asus P5B Deluxe had the highest framerate.


9. Splinter Cell Chaos Theory

A Japanese Information Defense Force is formed to help face modern threats. Deemed a violation of international law and of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, Korea and China become outraged.

Secretly, the head of the IDF begins launching information-warfare attacks against Japan and blaming the attacks on North Korea. When the U.S. intervenes, as they are obligated to under Article 9 of the Japanese Post-War Constitution, the U.S. is attacked as well, forcing North Korea to escalate the situation with a pre-emptive invasion of South Korea.

As war erupts on the Korean Peninsula, Sam Fisher must thwart the alliance between the Japanese Admiral, a neurotic computer hacker, and the head of an international paramilitary company in order to prevent the rekindling of a massive world war in the Pacific.

The graphics engine supports Pixel Shader 1 and 3, HDR along with other new effects. We used hocbench that offers all benchmarking options through an easy GUI. We used the built-in "Guru3D 2" timedemo and all results are posted below, using SM3.0.

SplinterCell is quite a difficult benchmark, and while the Asus P5B Deluxe had the highest framerate, there was very little between the boards.

- Half Life 2 Episode 1

The world of Half-Life 2 has amazed everyone with its great story, graphics and Valve's great support. Half-Life 2: Episode One is the first in a series of new adventures created by Valve that extend the Half-Life 2 single player experience. It details the aftermath of Half Life 2 and launches a journey beyond City 17.

Stepping into the hazard suit of Dr. Gordon Freeman, you face the immediate repercussions of your actions in City 17 and the Citadel. Rejoin Alyx Vance and her robot, Dog, to once again aid the human resistance in their desperate battle against the totalitarian alien menace of the Combine.

Episode One exposes Alyx's combat skills and knowledge of City 17. Battle side-by-side with her through Valve's first episodic game, a four-to-six hour adventure of greater density and detail than non-episodic releases.

We recorded a timedemo and used the console to run each card with different visual quality settings. For all tests, we set the resolution at 1280x1024 with HDR shadows fully enabled. Unfortunately, the SLI results are not displayed, since HL2 refused to work in SLI mode, despite the built-in profiles and our efforts...

At 1280x1024, both the Intel DX975DX and Asus P5B Deluxe had the highest performance.


10. Overclocking - Page 1

One of the most important aspects of the Asus P5B Deluxe is its overclocking abilities. We have already analyzed in the BIOS page, the various tweaks a user can perform. Asus provides AI suite under Windows, for easy overclocking. On the main screen, the user can see the real CPU clock, FSB, Multiplier and of course, the various temperatures and voltages:

Pressing the AI Booster button, we can set various settings for CPU, Memory and PCI-E:

What cannot be set is the CPU Voltage, which during our tests was left at auto.

After every change, the system needs to be restarted in order for the settings to take affect. Not the most ideal approach, we would like changes to be made on-the-fly to save time:

AI Suite can control CPU Fan rotation speed

Lastly, AI NOS mode can perform automatic overclocking, depending on CPU Load:

After having gone through all settings, the question remains - how high can you go with the Asus P5B Deluxe? In order to answer this question, we used an Intel E6600 processor rated at 2.4GHz with a 6~9 internal multiplier. The first approach is to use the maximum Internal multiplier (x9) and raise the FSB. Our best attempts easily reached with the stock cooler, 3.150GHz (9x350). The system was rock solid with memory timings at CL5-5-5-15-30, voltage at 2.1V and CPU:RAM ration 1:1.

However, many users try a different approach, decreasing the internal multiplier and raising up FSB. In this case, we set the Internal Multiplier to 6x and got a top frequency of 430FSB, resulting in 2.580GHz.

While the absolute CPU speed may sound low, with different CPU multipliers, for example 8x, the system reaches 3.440GHz, etc...

Overclocking highly depends on which CPU and memory modules you decide to use. As usual, its a trial and error procedure to find the optimal running speed for your overclocked system.


11. WiFi-AP

WiFi-AP Solo allows a new level of versatility for your PC, enabling it to create a complete wireless home network in either AP or wireless client mode. Users will be able to play LAN games, connect to the Internet, access and share printers, and use Skype from anywhere within range. WiFi-AP Solo can provide these functions even when the PC is in sleep mode, so users can use Skype as a true replacement for traditional long distance telephone service. WiFi-AP Solo is an on-board feature, which means that users will save the extra WiFi AP cost.

Asus has a special utility that controls the Wi-Fi functions. The onboard card is powered by Realtek:

Asus includes an external Wi-Fi antenna for better reception levels and overall performance. The Wi-FI AP Solo software is very simple. You can choose from various settings, including 802.11g/b, AP or Station mode and encryption modes (WEP/WAP):

We tested the on-board Wi-Fi features with the Asus A6JA laptop and didn't have any problems setting up a Wireless network in a matter of minutes.


12. Crossfire/SLI or both

Asus advertised the P5B Deluxe as an ATI Crossfire certified system. What's rather interesting is the ability to also run an SLI setup, with of course modded display driver. The best scenario is to have a 975X motherboard, since it has 2x16x PCI-E, while the 965 chipset has 1x16x and 1x4x PCI-E slots.

In any case, the following test results are only for evaluation since drivers are rather "old", at version 85.96. Remember, you need a SLI bridge to maximize performance and set the BIOS under SouthBridge chipset settings, 4x (FAST) for the second (blue) PCI-E slot.

After removing 93.71 forceware, we installed the newly downloaded 85.96. A possible issue is that you won't have support for the newly released games. There are two solutions for this, either create them yourself, or download nhancer and this file. You will have all the latest available SLI profiles on your system without any worries.

The modified SLi driver warns us that it is un-official:

Tick both boxes to get SLi working:

All tests were done with two Nvidia reference 7900GS boards. Below are the test results with the latest available drivers (93.71) and the modded (85.96) driver. As you can see, SLI does work, except for Prey, where despite all our attempts, the game crashed...


13. Conclusion

The P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP Edition is a high-end board for the Core2Duo platform. While the board has been on the market for sometime, the latest BIOS updates give it the stability that was needed to make it an overall, very good motherboard.

Prospective buyers don't have to worry about the future, since this motherboard supports all currently sold Intel processors for 775 socket, Intel Core2 Extreme, Core2 Duo, Pentium 4 EE, Pentium D, Pentium 4 and Celeron D, and Intel's upcoming QuadCore. Moreover, the board is Vista Premium certified, meaning you will have all the needed drivers by the time Microsoft's Vista operating system hits the retail market.

The board is based on Intel's P965 chipset that offers good performance and high overclocking abilities. In case you want high 3D gaming experience, the Asus P5B Deluxe supports ATI Crossfire Technology. There is the possibility to run Nvidia's SLI with this board, with "hacked" drivers, which is another plus for buyers.

The eight SATAII connectors allow for high storage expandability, while there is support for two ATA 100 devices. Various expansion slots are available for USB2.0, 1394 and the retail package is more than complete with printed manuals and supported software (drivers)

While the board has a very good design and ergonomic, the nearby components may cause some headaches with the more "bulky" VGA cards, as we saw in the case of the MSI 7600GT Silent. Asus' update Bios software doesn't seem to work properly, since its auto update function didn't find a new BIOS revision that had been posted on the ASUS website. It also doesn't automatically find the latest driver updates for your system.

Looking at the results, the board showed very good memory performance, compared with the other tested boards and was equal to or only slightly slower than the Foxconn motherboard in the CPU tests. Our tests were performed with 0706beta Bios. There is a good chance that many issues have been fixed with the latest BIOS updates.

Overclocking is what you will enjoy most! The Asus P5B Deluxe can be a true delight for those who want to perform maximum tweaking on their system. You can go up to 650FSB in 1MHz steps (theoretically), adjust memory timings and of course voltages for CPU/RAM. You can set the CPU multiplier for Core2Duo processors and disable Intel's speedstep. Many users around the world praise the P5B Deluxe for its overclocking abilities. We found it peaked at 430FSB, and other reviewers had better luck managing up to 460+FSB.

In case your overclocking fails, after shutting down and repowering, you can change the overclocking settings and try again, with Asus C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall) technology. No need to clear the CMOS any more.

As you may have guessed, all these special features come at a price. Yes, the Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition is not a cheap motherboard. Users will find its price at around US$220~250, making it rather expensive. Building a gaming PC system requires a stable and powerful motherboard, and the Asus P5B Deluxe covers all possible needs you might have and offers futureproof specifications. Overall, a very good motherboard. You definitely want to consider this one when buying a new motherboard for the Core2Duo platform.

Problems: Despite the fact that the Asus P5B Deluxe is a highly recommended motherboard, there are some problems still unresolved with the latest BIOS update. Specifically, we had three issues that were also confirmed by reading through several forums and users comments:

  1. Built-in JSMicro SATAIItoIDE controller doesn't work properly for many users. We faced some issues trying to boot from DOS. Some bootable discs worked fine (Memtest86+), others didn't (miniPE XT).
  2. Onboard sound (SoundMax) seems to produce crackles and clicks in random cases. While we installed the latest driver pack, the issue still exists.
  3. Selecting any setting other than Auto for CPU voltage, causes some weird problems with the Intel XE6800 processor. While we were able to overclock the CPU, with various benchmarks the CPU internal multiplier dropped from 11x to 6x, resulting in reduced performance. When CPU voltage was left at "Auto" setting, this problem didn't occur.


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