P45 Showdown - Asus P5Q Deluxe vs MSI P45 Diamond

Introduction

Introduction
 
Today we will be pitching two hardware heavyweights against one another in the first head to head between two motherboards based on Intel's new 'Eaglelake' P45 chipset.
 
Being the direct replacement/refresh for its highly praised and successful predecessor, the 'Bearlake' P35 chipset, the P45 is pitched to be the logical evolution for enthusiasts, providing an increase in FSB support to a now official 1600mhz. PCIe 2.0 is now supported too, along with the incorporation of an updated Southbridge to the ICH10/10R.
 
ATI's CrossfireX is now also supported, albeit in an 8+8 configuration, reserving the higher bandwidth 16+16 for the X38/48-based motherboards. While 8+8 lanes have been seen before on certain variants of P35 (Asus Blitz), this was done by the use of a separate Crosslinx bridging chip and these boards were as rare as hen's teeth. Most P35 based boards were in a 16+4 configuration with the 2nd PCIe slot gererally crippling a dual card setup. With the P45, CrossfireX is supported natively and will be widely available upon release rather than just limited editions. This could give ATI a leg-up in helping them crack Nvidia's current stranglehold on the GPU market. If I was a cynic I might think that Intel may also be paving the way for their own 'Larabee' GPU's...but that's another story.
 
Intel P45 Specs 
 
So in the red corner, representing the tried and tested DDR2 format, we have the Asus P5Q Deluxe. With a thoroughbred pedigree and being widely regarded as one of the best manufacturers of P35 & X38 based boards, it is of no surprise that Asus are seen as the dominant force in motherboard production.
 
In the blue corner we have the MSI P45 Diamond, which has taken advantage of DDR3 support. While this is a bold move considering the much cheaper DDR2 prices at the time of writing this review, it makes sense in that a high end board should make use of the latest technology. As MicroStar International is hardly a lightweight when it comes to hardware, this should make an interesting battle of silicon and copper, and with both manufacturers taking a different approach to cooling methods, this will hopefully make for an interesting read.
 
During this review I intend to perform a direct comparison of both boards rather than review each board separately. I will, however, be going into detail showing each motherboards own attributes and possible downfalls. While the Asus P5Q Deluxe is not from the pinnacle of Asus' P45 releases, not being labelled as a ROG (Republic of Gamers) board, it is pitched as a high end board aimed squarely at the overclocking enthusiast. The MSI on the other hand is at the top of the pile, being labelled as a Diamond Gamers board, hoping to lure you in with its premium features. So please, make yourself a brew and sit back while I put these two boards through their paces and see who can go the distance and be crowned the winner in this OC3D exclusive knock-out match.
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Most Recent Comments

27-05-2008, 08:16:41

JN
"With Intels latest chipset about to be officially launched we have managed to grab two P45 samples and pitch them against one another to see who is top dog."

http://www.overclock3d.net/gfx/artic...130043211l.jpg

Asus P5Q Deluxe vs MSI P45 Diamond Review by Webbo

27-05-2008, 09:11:35

PV5150
Stellar review as always Jim. The ASUS P5Q appears to have the goods where it counts although the MSI P45 Diamond is well laid out - bar the colour scheme.

Well done

27-05-2008, 10:32:12

ionicle
good review

gotta love the mass of extra's you get with the msi

but i've worked with msi's before, they're great stable boards, at stock...or when overclocked, its just so frustrating if you want to overclock, hense why i left my proccy stock when i had my P975x platinum...lol

gotta love the ease of overclocking with asus

27-05-2008, 14:21:42

FarFarAway
Great review Rich

Not sure about the conclusion although I agree about the overclocking. If the MSI board is a good price then with the extra's it's a definate contender

29-05-2008, 09:29:35

CERO
This board could be the new price performance king according to the early prices some shops got listed, espacially with the 2 x 8 Xfire implented this could be a great replacement for my current P5K Deluxe, tempting

29-05-2008, 10:25:52

Kerotan
Good review. Does anyone know if the mid-range P45 boards will support x8 + x8 XFire or if it's just on the high-end ones? I'm glad P45 is coming out soon, hopefully be able to combine it with a good PCI-e 2.0 card once all the new ones come out and settle down in price.

29-05-2008, 10:27:12

CERO
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kerotan'
Good review. Does anyone know if the mid-range P45 boards will support x8 + x8 XFire or if it's just on the high-end ones? I'm glad P45 is coming out soon, hopefully be able to combine it with a good PCI-e 2.0 card once all the new ones come out and settle down in price.
All P45 based chipsets will support x8 + x8 :up:, just like the X38 and X48

29-05-2008, 10:33:43

Kerotan
Good to know, leaves me with some options open if I ever decide to go dual-card and get a bigger monitor Seems like sckt775 is going out on a high- even once intel stop making new proccys for it, it will still probably be a competitor for the next couple of years at least.

31-05-2008, 04:47:21

Yeungster
Great review! Really interesting read!

There's a slight mistake on one of the graphs on page 8, with the numbers, and also a reference to a picture of the asus mobo early on in the review, but it hardly matters as the review was concise and thorough. Thanks

01-06-2008, 04:30:55

w3bbo
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='PV5150'
Stellar review as always Jim. The ASUS P5Q appears to have the goods where it counts although the MSI P45 Diamond is well laid out - bar the colour scheme.

Well done
Glad to see you can't see the difference between Jim's and my own work. Yeah the MSI is very well laid out apart from the jumpers. Both are very neat and tidy boards. Regarding the colour scheme, I guess it depends on if you like a 'pink slot' or a yellow one (for your memory).

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='ionicle'
good review

gotta love the mass of extra's you get with the msi

but i've worked with msi's before, they're great stable boards, at stock...or when overclocked, its just so frustrating if you want to overclock, hense why i left my proccy stock when i had my P975x platinum...lol

gotta love the ease of overclocking with asus
Yup the Asus was the 'easier' overclocker by far but I believe the MSI could be pushed further with more time fiddling with the subsettings, as could the Asus so both boards are respectable in that department.

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='Kempez'
Great review Rich

Not sure about the conclusion although I agree about the overclocking. If the MSI board is a good price then with the extra's it's a definate contender
HAHA! To be fair Jim did alot of editing to the review and smartening it up so it's only fair he gets some credit for it (Cheers Jim!) as I was up until 2a.m getting the main bulk of it done the day before I was due to go on holiday so Jim came to my rescue!

Yeah the MSI would have to come in at a good price for me to consider it and as stated in the review I would personally consider buying a separate block for the northbridge if watercooling (which will add to the cost).

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='CERO'
This board could be the new price performance king according to the early prices some shops got listed, espacially with the 2 x 8 Xfire implented this could be a great replacement for my current P5K Deluxe, tempting
I was surprised how well the 8x8 performed tbh. I honestly thought it would throttle the 3870x2's with them having 2 GPU's each but they were fine. I doubt anyone specifically looking for a xfire board will go for P45 but the option is there for upgrading your GPU grunt if P45 is gonna be your next board.

01-06-2008, 11:20:46

NickS
Great review . I dunno about the overclocking issues with the MSI though, my P35 based MSI OC'ed just as easy if not easier than my P5B Deluxe WiFi/AP. The jumpers can be a bit finnicky though, I will say that.

01-06-2008, 14:40:19

WC Annihilus
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='webbo'
HAHA! To be fair Jim did alot of editing to the review and smartening it up so it's only fair he gets some credit for it (Cheers Jim!) as I was up until 2a.m getting the main bulk of it done the day before I was due to go on holiday so Jim came to my rescue!
He wasn't the only one >.>

01-06-2008, 17:30:46

JN
Quote:
Originally Posted by name='WC Annihilus'
He wasn't the only one >.>
Ye props to WC for "the final cut"

01-06-2008, 17:48:11

w3bbo
Cheers for the help WC

Quote:
Originally Posted by name='NickS'
Great review . I dunno about the overclocking issues with the MSI though, my P35 based MSI OC'ed just as easy if not easier than my P5B Deluxe WiFi/AP. The jumpers can be a bit finnicky though, I will say that.
Cheers Nick! The main issue I had was not the difficulty in the bios itself, despite it being a little unfamiliar and an odd layout. It was the fact that when a bad overclock was set a CMOS reset was required. While hardly a big deal it was a pain to go through and set everything up again rather than just change the bad overclocked settings. It just felt as though the Asus had a wider margin for error and was more forgiving than the MSI.

05-06-2008, 15:18:18

darkone
so is it worth buying for an upgrade from an asus p5k-e wifi?

05-06-2008, 17:18:06

w3bbo
Yes.

27-08-2008, 01:44:47

yahyaue
Nice review, cudos to you Webbo. I was lost with this MSI P45 Diamond and have made a little headway by paying attention to your settings from the bios pic from the overclock you did to the P45 Diamond. Beforehand I could not make heads of tails with it. Wish I had seen your review 1st, but oh well I'm here now, I've developed patience after working with the EVGA 790i after 6 RMA's got a refund 'which I am still waiting on' got an Asus Striker II NSE 790i and I am very pleased, easy to work with.

Dahhh! so why get the MSI, wanted to try ATI based board and the DFI UT X48TR3 came 2 doa so Newegg gave me a refund and I bought the P45 Diamond.

You are right its a pain to clear C-mos and have to reset everything, found out you can turn it off 3-4 times waiting 10 second after shut down to power back up MB automatically picks up bad OC and you can keep your previous settings. I don't know which is the bigger headache.

Thanks for the review "GREAT WORK" webbo, jim and wc.

27-08-2008, 13:09:43

w3bbo
Thank you for the comments. It's always good to get some positive feedback aswell as the negative for reviews.
Reply
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