Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 1
Introduction & Specification
 
Asus P5E3 Premium
Back in December '07 Overclock3D took a look at Asus' P5E3 Deluxe motherboard. Based around Intel's X38 chipset and with  DDR3 support, the board managed to impress us with it's great performance and excellent bundle. Therefore, when Asus contacted us a few weeks back and asked if we'd be interested in reviewing the P5E3 Premium, the first question to blurt out of our mouths was "Haven't we already done that?"
 
However, after a lot of explaining, Asus finally convinced us that there was a lot more to  the P5E3 Premium than a few minor changes to the motherboard and some extra accessories thrown in the box. For a start it was furnished with Intel's very latest X48 chipset and had some other nifty modifications to help increase its overclocking performance.
 
Obviously the X48 chipset is what a lot of enthusiasts have been waiting for. After all it was probably only a couple of weeks after the X38 was released that the X48 was announced, leaving a lot of people wondering if they should wait out a bit longer to get an extra ten X's on their future motherboard.
 
So, what does the X48 actually offer? Well the general consensus is that the X48 is just an X38 chipset speed-binned for use with the latest Intel CPU's that use a 1600mhz FSB. While this certainly holds a lot of truth, the X48 does bring a couple of new tricks to the table - mainly in the memory department. So let's quit the small talk and take a look at the specs of the board:
 
CPU
Intel Socket 775 Core™2 Quad/Core™2 Extreme/Core™2 Duo/Pentium® Extreme/Pentium® D/Pentium® 4 Processors
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
Support Intel® next generation 45nm CPU

Chipset
Intel X48
Intel ICH9R
Intel Fast Memory Access Technology

Front Side Bus
1600/1333/1066/800 MHz

Memory
4 x DIMM, Max. 8 GB, DDR3 1800*/2000*/1600/1333/1066/800 Non-ECC,Un-buffered Memory
Dual Channel memory architecture
Supports Intel® Extreme Memory Profile (XMP)
* Overclocking speed
** For the X.M.P. support, CPUs with FSB 1333 or above are recommended.

Expansion Slots
3 x PCIe x16 (blue @PCIe2.0 x16 mode, black @PCIe x4 or x1 mode) supports CrossFire Technology
1 x PCIe x1
2 x PCI

Storage
Southbridge
6 xSATA 3 Gb/s ports Support RAID Intel Matrix Storage Technology 0,1,5,10
JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
1 xUltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
2 xExternal SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
Support RAID 0,1,JBOD

LAN
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers
Marvell 88E8056® PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
Realtek RTL8110SC® PCI Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2

Wireless LAN
ASUS WiFi-AP @n
- 300Mbps* IEEE 802.11n (Draft) and backwards compatible with IEEE 802.11g / b
- Software Access Point mode
*300Mbps is IEEE 802.11n draft specification. Actual throughput will vary depending on the wireless environment and other parameters

Audio
ADI® AD1988B 8 -Channel High Definition Audio CODEC
Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
Support Jack-Sensing, Enumeration, Multi-streaming
AI Audio 2

IEEE 1394
Agere® L-FW3227 1394a controller supports 2 x 1394a ports (one at midboard; one at back panel)
 
USB
10 USB 2.0 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 6ports at back panel)

ASUS AI Lifestyle Features
ASUS Power Saving Solution
- ASUS EPU (Energy Processing Unit)
- ASUS 3rd Generation 8-phase Power
- ASUS AI Nap
ASUS AI Lifestyle
- ASUS Express Gate
- ASUS WiFi-AP @n
- ASUS AI Direct Link
ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution
- ASUS Fanless Design: Pure Copper 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 AI Audio 2
ASUS EZ DIY
- ASUS Q-Connector
- ASUS Q-Shield
- ASUS O.C. Profile
- ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
- ASUS EZ Flash 2
- ASUS AI Slot Detector

Overclocking Features
Intelligent overclocking tools
- ASUS AI Booster Utility
Precision Tweaker 2
- vDIMM: 65 -step DRAM voltage control
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
- vChipset (N.B.): 49-step voltage control
- vFSB Termination: 16-step reference voltage control
- vCPU PLL: 65-step CPU PLL voltage control
SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 800MHz 1MHz increment
- Memory tuning from 800MHz up to 3200MHz
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz 150MHz at 1MHz
Overclocking Protection
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Back Panel I/O Ports

1 x PS/2 Keyboard
2 x External SATA
1 x S/PDIF Out
1 x IEEE 1394a
2 x LAN(RJ45) port
6 x USB 2.0/1.1
8 -Channel Audio I/O
2 x WiFi-AP @n antenna jack

Internal I/O Connectors
2 x USB connectors support additional 4 USB ports
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x IDE connector
6 x SATA connectors
1 x IEEE 1394a connector
1 x CPU Fan connector
1 x Chassis Fan connector
1 x Power Fan connector
1 x COM connector
1 x S/PDIF Out connector
2 x4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
24 -pin ATX Power connector
Front panel audio connector
Chassis Intrusion connector
CD/AUX audio in
System Panel Connector
 
Asus are well known for packing their motherboards full of features, and with a specs list longer than a roll of Andrex the P5E3 Premium certainly isn't any different.
 
FSB 1600Starting with CPU and Memory support, the P5E3 supports all current LGA775 Intel chips along with the most recent 1600FSB 45nm parts. However, while the X48 chipset only natively supports DDR3-1600 memory, Asus have ramped up the unofficial support on the board to DDR3-2000 (memory permitting of course).
 
 
EPUNext up on the list is Asus' "little bit for the environment" - the Energy Processing Unit (or EPU for short). The EPU is an onboard, hardware-based power saving IC controller that digitally monitors and fine tunes your CPU's power supply in real-time, providing improved VRM efficiency under light and heavy loads. According to Asus, this can provide up to 58.6% CPU power savings - but only when Intel's on-chip energy saving "C1E" technology is disabled.
 
WiFiJust like on the previously reviewed P5E3 Deluxe, the P5E3 Premium also supports the latest 802.11n WiFi technology while also keeping backward compatibility for the older (and more widely used) 802.11g standard. Asus have also included two WiFi antenna's in the box -but we'll get on to that over the next few pages.
 
 
 
Now that we've got some of the lesser interesting features out of the way, let's move on and take a look the contents of the box, and more importantly - the board itself...


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 2
Packaging & Contents
 
Asus Premium and Republic of Gamer motherboards probably have some of the best packages in the motherboard industry. From LCD displays to remote controls and LED lit I/O shields, Asus have included it all in with some of their previous motherboards. With this in mind, let's take a look at what the P5E3 has in store for us today...
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Box Asus P5E3 Premium Box
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Box Asus P5E3 Premium Box Flap
 
Starting with the outer-box, the P5E3 Premium follows roughly the same design as all of Asus' previous P5* series motherboards. The front of the box is fairly plain featuring only a semi-transparent "AI" logo on a black background, while around the back Asus have printed a specifications table (much like the one on page #1) along with a collection of four images depicting some of the most prominent features of the board.
 
Much like the Asus Republic Of Gamers boards, the P5K3 also features a flap at the front of the box which can be lifted to reveal even more details about the features of the board.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Contents Asus P5E3 Premium Package Contents
 
Packaging inside the box is fairly standard, with each of the accessories being individually sealed inside their own plastic bags. The motherboard is separated from the accessories by a cardboard insert, and placed inside its own anti-static bag.
 
Here's a run-down of exactly what's included:
 
UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
FDD cable
6 x Serial ATA cables
1 x 2-port Serial ATA power cable
ASUS Q-Shield
User's manual
ASUS WiFi-AP @n manual
3 in 1 Q-connector
1 x 2-port USB2.0 / 1-port IEEE1394 module
2 x Optional Fan for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only
ASUS WiFi-AP @n omni-directional antenna
Support Disks
 
Asus P5K3 Premium I/O Plate Asus P5E3 Premium I/O
 
Have you ever build an entire PC only to find that when you go to insert a network cable or USB device that a stupid little bit of metal from the I/O blanking plate is wedged in there? I most certainly have, and judging by Asus latest Q-shield idea, they have too. As we can see from the images above, Asus have done away with the metal tabs in favour of a padded conductive surface. Top idea!
 
Asus P5E3 Premium 3-in-1 Asus P5E3 Premium Optional Fans
 
Moving on to the optional fans...these coolers have been included with many of Asus' Premium, Deluxe and ROG motherboards for quite some time. Designed to clip on to the finned heatsink that covers the mosfets at the top of the board, the fans pull air up through the heatsink fins and expel the hot air out the back of your PC case. They are reasonably quiet and come complete with 3-Pin connectors so that they can easily be controlled using the BIOS or Asus software.

Finally we have the 3-in-1 connectors. These three small blocks are quite simply a godsend for the enthusiast who regularly disconnects their motherboard and is then faced with the frustration of trying to place the power/reset/activity LED connectors back on the motherboard header. They are also very clearly labelled - so no need to refer to the manual while setting your new motherboard up ;)


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 3
Board Layout & Features
 
On the surface, the P5E3 Premium looks to have exactly the same layout as its elder brother the P5E3 Deluxe (and indeed a lot of the P5* series). However, a little birdie at Asus tells me that there's more to this board than meets the eye, so let's take a closer look.
 
 Asus P5E3 Premium Motherboard Asus P5E3 Premium Motherboard
 
Both the P5E3 Premium and Deluxe follow exactly the same black, orange, red, blue and white colour scheme, with the only recognisable difference between the boards being a change in colour for the Northbridge and Southbridge heatsink covers.
 
As per usual for Asus, the 8-Pin EPS-12v connector is located on the top-left of the board, keeping any cables trailing across the board to a minimum. Over on the right side of the board, the ATX connector sits just below the floppy disk connector and allows for easy routing of the PSU's ATX cable around the top of the motherboard without interfering with the CPU socket area.
 
The board features two PCI slots, three PCI-E x16 slots and one PCI-E x1 slot. In most scenario's you will have access to at least two PCI slots (or one PCI slot and one PCI-E x1 slot) for expansion cards. However when running any kind of Crossfire setup this will be reduced to only one PCI slot.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium I/O Ports Asus P5E3 Premium SATA/PATA
 
In terms of connectivity, the P5E3 Premium is fully loaded. The rear I/O panel features 8-channel audio, six USB 2.0 ports, two eSATA ports, two WiFi antenna jacks and an IEE1394 port. At the bottom of the board you will also find six SATA ports, one legacy PATA port, one IEE1394 header and two USB 2.0 headers.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Socket Area Asus P5E3 Premium Mosfets & Chokes
 
No expense has been spared on the 8-Phase VRM power circuitry; with Asus opting for low RDS (on) MOSFETs, Ferrite chokes and Japanese made conductive polymer capacitors. All of this should ensure extremely stable and clean voltage being provided to the CPU while also maintaining around 95% efficiency.
 
Clearance around the socket area is also very good despite the close proximity of three aluminium heatsinks. During our testing we were able to use several large CPU coolers including the Sycthe Infinity and various models from OCZ.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium 3-Phase DDR3 Asus P5E3 Premium Overvolt Jumpers
 
While most motherboards (including Asus' high-end ROG series) implement 2-phase power system for the memory modules, the image above-left shows that Asus have gone above and beyond the call of duty by installing a 3-phase solution on the P5E3 Premium. This should provide the DDR3 slots with rock solid, droop-free voltages essential for successful memory overclocks.
 
Over to the right of the DDR3 modules are two jumpers labelled OV_NB and OV_CPU. Disabled by default, these two jumpers open up a whole range of dangerous Northbridge and CPU voltages in the BIOS which would otherwise be hidden. While most users on air/water cooling will more than likely kill their hardware by using these options, the extreme cooling enthusiasts amongst us will probably be grinning from ear to ear.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Power Asus P5E3 Premium Realtek
 
Just when you thought the power delivery orgy was over, Asus have also implemented a 2-phase system for the X48 Northbridge. While a lot of overclocking issues are often blamed on vdroop of the Memory and CPU, the stability of voltage supplied to the Northbridge often goes hand in hand with the boards ability to reach high FSB's.
 
Also seen in the images above is the Realtek RLT8110SC chip responsible for the on-board gigabit ethernet.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Express Gate Asus P5E3 premium Southbridge
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Jmicron Asus P5E3 Premium Firewire
 
Sandwiched in between a PCI and PCI-E slot is Asus' latest invention, the "Express Gate". Essentially a USB stick hard wired to the motherboard, the Express Gate features bootable operating system that can be invoked during system startup. Some screen shots of the OS can be found on the next page.
 
As the X48 chipset doesn't provide native support for IDE, Asus have installed a JMicron JMB363 controller. The JMB363 connects to the PCI Express bus and provides support for a single PATA device and two SATA II devices. Similarly, support for IEE1394 (Firewire) is provided via Agere's FW3227 controller.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 4
The BIOS
 
On most of Asus' previous motherboards, the more "advanced" BIOS options have been left for their top end Republic Of Gamers motherboards. However, with the P5E3 Premium featuring some impressive hardware upgrades that even the ROG boards can't match, let's take a look at what the BIOS has to offer.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium BIOS Asus P5E3 Premium
 
Skipping past the boring Hard Disk/IRQ sections of the BIOS and straight into the good stuff, we can see that all of the overclocking options on the P5E3 Deluxe are held under a single header called "AI Tweaker". The top few lines of this section cover areas such as CPU Ratio, FSB Strap, FSB frequency, PCIE Frequency and DRAM Frequency all of which can be adjusted either by directly keying in the values or using the +/- keys to toggle through each option. Preparations have been made for the new Intel Penryn chips with the CPU Ratio setting supporting 0.5 multipliers. Additionally, the FSB Frequency can be set at anything up to 800mhz - but you can carry on dreaming if you think you'll get anywhere near that!
 
Asus P5K3 Premium BIOS Asus P5K3 Premium BIOS
 
Asus P5K3 Premium BIOS Asus P5K3 Premium BIOS
 
Moving down the page (and its a bloody long one) takes us to the Memory options. While a lot of Asus' previous non-ROG motherboards only provided users with a handful of the most basic memory timings, the P5E3 Premium takes things to the other end of the spectrum by literally bombarding you with a whole host of intriguing settings that will more than likely have even the most hardened enthusiasts reaching for the how-to guides.
 
However, to be fair on Asus, a large number of the options are briefly explained over on the right-side of the screen with some basic pointers as to whether the option is likely to improve system performance or stability when overclocking.
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Voltages Asus P5E3 Premium Voltages
 
Voltage options is yet another area where some of Asus' non-ROG boards suffered - but not any more! Once again Asus have tipped the scales in totally the opposite direction by not only providing a massive (and potentially dangerous) range of voltage options, but also by allowing the user to manually type in the voltage they require. However, don't be fooled - while the BIOS does allow you to type in exactly what voltage you require, it will always round it up/down to the nearest selectable option. Some of the voltage ranges can be seen below:
 
CPU Voltage: 0.85000v - 2.1000v (0.00625v steps)
CPU PLL Voltage: 1.50v - 2.78v (0.02v steps)
FSB Termination Voltage: 1.20v - 1.50v (0.02v steps)
DRAM Voltage: 1.50v - 2.78v (0.02v steps)
NB Voltage: 1.25v - 2.21v (0.02v steps)
SB Voltage: 1.05v - 1.20v (0.15v steps)
Clock Overcharging Voltage: 0.70v - 1.00v (0.10v steps)
 
 Asus P5E3 Premium Tools Asus P5E3 Premium BIOS Flash
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Profiles Asus P5E3 Premium Profiles
 
While most motherboard manufacturers will have you reaching for the bootable floppy disks in order to update your BIOS, Asus have included their extremely easy to use EZ Flash 2 utility on the P5E3 Premium. Simply copy the BIOS binary file to a floppy disk, USB stick or FAT32 hard disk and perform the upgrade from within the BIOS. It really couldn't be easier.
 
Similarly, the Asus O.C Profile utility allows users to save their current BIOS settings to an external storage device. Considering the sheer volume of options available in the P5E3 BIOS, this will undoubtedly prove to be a massive time saver for restoring your previous BIOS settings after a CMOS battery failure or other fault
 
Asus P5E3 Premium Express Gate Asus P5E3 Premium Skype
 
As we've already mentioned, the Asus Express Gate is essentially a bootable USB memory stick soldered to the motherboard. During the startup of the P5E3 Express, you are given a default of 5 seconds to choose if you'd like to boot into the Express Gate environment for quick access to applications such as Skype or a Firefox-like web browser.
 
While some people will probably find this handy, I cant help but feel that this feature could have been put to much better use with the inclusion of some stability testing tools (Prime95, OCCT, Memtest...etc) to avoid the need to boot into Windows every time you want to test a new overclock setting.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 5
Test Setup & Overclocking
 
To ensure that all reviews on Overclock3D are fair, consistent and unbiased, a standard set of hardware and software is used whenever possible during the comparative testing of two or more products. The configuration used in this review can be seen below:
 
DDR2 Motherboard(s)
DFI LANPARTY UT X38-T2R (X38)
XFX nForce 780i SLI (780i)
Asus Maximus Formula (X38)
Asus Striker II Formula (780i)
DFI LANPARTY UT P35-T2R (P35)
 
DDR3 Motherboard(s)
Asus P5E3 Premium (X48)
Asus Maximus Extreme (X38)
 
Processor
• Intel Core 2 Quad Q6600 "G0" 2.4GHz 2x4MB
 
Memory Modules
• Cellshock PC2-6400 @  DDR2-800 (4-4-4-12)
• Cellshock PC3-14400 @ DDR3-1066 (7-7-7-20)
 
Graphics Card
• Sapphire Ultimate X1950 Pro 256mb PCI-E
 
Hard Disk
• Hitachi Deskstar 80GB 7K80 SATA2 7200RPM 8mb
 
Operating System
• Microsoft Windows Vista Ultimate (Latest Updates)
 
During the testing of the boards above, special care was taken to ensure that the BIOS settings used matched whenever possible. A fresh install of Windows Vista was also used between switching boards, preventing any possible performance issues due to left-over drivers from the previous motherboard install.

To guarantee a broad range of results, the following benchmark utilities were used:

Synthetic CPU & Memory Subsystem
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c
• Lavalys Everest 4.0

File Compression & Encoding
• 7-Zip File Compression
• River Past ViMark

Disk I/O Performance
• HDTach 3.0.4.0
• Sisoft Sandra XII 2008c

3D / Rendering Benchmarks
• Cinebench 10
• 3DMark05
• 3DMark06

3D Games
• Quake 4
• Bioshock
• F.E.A.R
 
 
Overclocking
 
With the P5E3 Premium having probably the most advanced power delivery system of any board we've tested to date and a BIOS with more options than you can shake a very large stick at, the board certainly looks like a good candidate for being a top overclocker. So without further ado, let's see what its capable of...
 
Maximum Overclock
 
The Asus Maximus and DFI Lanparty boards have always been favourites of mine for for their ability to take a CPU to its overclocking limits. However, the P5E3 Premium totally blows them out of the water, managing to squeeze an extra 100mhz out of our Q6600 CPU with 1.5vcore. Similarly the board also beats out its elder X38 based "Deluxe" brother by 60mhz.
 
Maximum FSB Speed
 
With many of the lower-end Intel processors showing great overclock potential but often being crippled by low multipliers, having a motherboard that can obtain high-FSB speeds is a must. By reducing the multiplier of our Q6600 test CPU down to x6, the maximum FSB speed we was able to obtain from the Premium was 491mhz.
 
While 491mhz may not seem a great achievement where FSB speeds are concerned, the average Q6600 chip tops out at around 500fsb regardless. With this in mind we also tested a QX9650 ES chip we happened to have in the office at the time and managed a slightly more respectable 527mhz FSB.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 6
Sisoft Sandra
 
SiSoftware Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) is an information & diagnostic utility capable of benchmarking the performance of individual components inside a PC. Each of the benchmarks below were run a total of five times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average being calculated from the remaining three.
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU Arithmetic
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU Multimedia
 
Sisoft Sandra CPU Multimedia
 
Sisoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth
 
Sisoft Sandra Memory Bandwidth
 
Sisoft Sandra Memory Latency
 
 
Everest
 
Everest is in many ways similar to Sisoft Sandra. Focusing mainly on Software and Hardware information reporting, Everest also comes with a benchmark utility suitable for testing the read, write and latency performance of the memory subsystem. Each of these benchmarks were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest scores being discarded and an average calculated from the remaining 3.
 
Everest Memory
 
Everest Memory
 
Everest Memory Latency
 
 
Result Observations
 
Both the Maximus Extreme and P5E3 Premium DDR3 based boards led the pack in the majority of results. This is most likely down to the extra bandwidth that DDR3 provides, but with only minute differences between each of the results. It's extremely hard to pick any one board out as a definite winner.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 7
ViMark
 
ViMark is the latest addition to the OC3D motherboard testing process and a relatively new benchmarking application in general. Designed to take the inaccuracies and guesswork out of measuring the time taken to encode video files, ViMark produces easily comparable and consistent results for encoding raw video into Windows Media, Quicktime, AVI and Gif formats. As always, a total of 5 benchmark runs were performed with the highest and lowest scores removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 scores.
 
ViMark Windows Media
 
ViMark Apple Quicktime
 
ViMark AVI
 
ViMark GIF
 
 
7-Zip
 
7-Zip is an open source winzip-style file compression utility that has the ability to compress and decompress many file formats including it's own .7z compression scheme. 7-Zip also comes complete with its own benchmarking utility for gauging the compression and decompression speed of the system that it is installed on.
 
7-Zip Compression
 
7-Zip Decompression
 
 
Result Observations
 
Once again a fairly even range of results with the DDR3 based boards showing quite an improvement over their DDR2 based counterparts in 7-Zip compressions benchmarks.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 8
HDTach
 
HDTach is a free hard disk benchmarking program from SimpliSoftware. This benchmark is not only capable of producing results on hard disk access times but also CPU usage required during disk access. The "Long bench" was run a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
HDTach Burst Speed
 
Read Speed
 
Random Access
 
HDTach CPU
 
 
Sisoft Sandra
 
Sisoft Sandra Disk Read
 
Sisoft Sandra Disk Access
 
 
Result Observations
 
As expected, the P5E3 performs almost identically to the other Intel P35 and X38 chipset boards that make use of the ICH9R controller.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 9
Cinebench
 
Cinebench 10 is a benchmarking tool based on the powerful 3D software Cinema 4D. The suite uses complex renders to guage the performance of the entire PC system in both single-core and multi-core modes. Testing was performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being omitted and an average created from the remaining 3 results.
 
Cinebench Rendering 1x
 
Cinebench Rendering 4x
 
Cinebench OpenGL
 
 
3DMark053DMark06
 
3DMark is a popular synthetic gaming benchmark used by many gamers and overclockers to gauge the performance of their PC's. All 3DMark runs were performed a total of 5 times with the highest and lowest results being removed and an average calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
3DMark05
 
3DMark06
 
 
Result Observations
 
The extra bandwidth of DDR3 memory used on the Maximus Extreme and P5E3 Premium boards doesn't seem to carry much weight when it comes to Cinebench and 3DMark, with many of the DDR2 boards producing identical or better results. Similarly, there is no noticeable difference between the X38 and X48 chipsets.


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 10
Quake 4
 
Quake 4 is a game built on the Doom 3 engine. Benchmarking was performed using Quake4Bench and a custom timedemo recording along with 0xAA, 0xAF settings at a resolution of 1024x768. The benchmark was set to run a total of 5 times, with Quake4Bench automatically calculating an average result at the end of the run.
 
Quake4
 
 
F.E.A.R
 
F.E.A.R. is a game based on the Lithtech Jupiter EX engine. It has volumetric lighting, soft shadows, parallax mapping and particle effects. Included in the game is a benchmark facility that taxes the entire PC system. This benchmark was run a total of 5 times, with the highest and lowest results being excluded and an average being calculated on the remaining 3 results.
 
F.E.A.R
 
 
BIOSHOCK
 
Bioshock is a recent FPS shooter by 2K games. Based on the UT3 engine it has a large amount of advanced DirectX techniques including excellent water rendering and superb lighting and smoke techniques. All results were recorded using F.R.A.P.S with a total of 5 identical runs through the same area of the game. The highest and lowest results were then removed, with an average being calculated from the remaining 3 results.
 
BIOSHOCK
 
 
Result Observations
 
The P5E3 Premium manages to keep up with the rest of boards in the test, indeed showing that it is in no way crippled when compared to any of Asus' Replublic of Gamers boards or indeed any of the Nvidia chipset based boards (Striker II / XFX 780i).


Asus P5E3 Premium X48 DDR3 Motherboard Page: 11
Conclusion
 
Up until today there has always been a clear line between the two types of Asus motherboards. The P5* Deluxe/Premium series has always been for those who want a good board at a reasonable price with some mediocre overclocking options and on-board extra's such as WiFi. While the Republic of Gamers series has always been aimed squarely at overclockers. 
 
However, with the release of the P5E3 Premium Asus have closed the gap. Not only does the P5E3 Premium feature a BIOS that allows you to fine tune the most intricate of MCH, NB and CPU settings, but the range of voltage options and the ability to simply key in your desired setting gives the P5E3 Premium possibly the best BIOS that Asus have released to date. This has certainly paid off too, with the P5E3 Premium being able to take our stubborn Intel Q6600 chip all the way up to 3.75ghz and effortlessly hit 520FSB on a QX9650.
 
To put it simply, the Asus P5E3 Premium is a Maximus killer. Sure it doesn't have some of the fancy bells and whistles of the Asus Republic of Gamers line-up, but if Asus were to slap a couple of power buttons, a CMOS reset switch and a blue & white colour scheme on the P5E3, it could easily pass as the best ROG board they have ever released.
 
Unfortunately availability of the board at the moment is extremely limited. Searching Google, I was able to find only one website selling it for around £230. However, with none of our recommended retailers or other preferred retailers showing stock, I can only assume that the board is still on pre-order. For this reason, I will reserve opinion and pricing of the board until concrete figures are available.
 
 
The Good
- Extensive BIOS options with ability to manually enter voltage selection.
- Managed 490FSB on our Q6600 chip and 520FSB on a QX9650.
- 3-phase power delivery to DDR3 slots.
- Simple but innovative features such as the Q-Shield
- Good overall layout.
- Motherboard jumper to unleash insane voltage options.
 
The Mediocre
- Still not a fan of heatpipes and copper-look aluminium heatsinks
- Motherboard colour scheme a tad ugly.
- Express Gate could have been put to much better use.
 
The Bad
- Nowt!
 
 
Overclock3D Editors Choice
 
Thanks to Asus for making this review possible. Discuss in our forums.