P45 Showdown - Asus P5Q Deluxe vs MSI P45 Diamond

P5Q Deluxe Features & BIOS

Features
 
Most of the features of this board have been covered elsewhere in previous reviews, so I won't dwell on them. Rather, I will briefly cover the newer features of the P5Q Deluxe that may be of interest to you.
 
Asus Express Gate
Fancy getting on-line within 5 seconds of booting your system up? With Express Gate you can! In addition to having a quick browsing session, you can also perform basic tasks like picture viewing and using a messenger service such as MSN or Skype.
 
Asus P5Q Deluxe Express Gate  Asus P5Q Deluxe Express Gate
 
Asus P5Q Deluxe Express Gate Asus P5Q Deluxe Express Gate
 
While this is a very handy little tool, I can't help feel it could have also been used to test for system stability when overclocking. I appreciate that not everyone is an overclocker, but this board is clearly aimed at the enthusiast market and as such, this just seems like a missed opportunity to me. However I'm sure it's useful for those in a rush who cannot be bothered to wait for the main OS to boot up just to check email or the weather.
 
Asus EPU-Six Engine
The new Asus EPU engine (now upgraded to a 6 engine version) provides total system power savings by detecting what load your system is under and then adjusting the power as required in real-time. This can be done automatically or manually, depending on your preference.
 
Asus DieHard BIOS
Updating a BIOS is always a nerve jangling affair, so what this has to do with Det. John McClaine (AKA Bruce Willis in the Die Hard series of films) I don't know, but thanks to Asus you can now rest easy in that they are now providing 2 BIOS chips, one primary and one backup. Should your BIOS flash go wrong, the backup BIOS chip will restore the primary chip's corrupt BIOS with a clean version, enabling you to try flashing again. I won't be trying this feature out as this could bring an abrupt end to the review, so I will just take Asus' word on it. I did, however, use another feature which I find very reliable..
 
Asus E-Z Flash
This is a DOS based semi-automated BIOS flashing utility that can be either initiated on POST (ALT+F2) or in the BIOS section itself.
 
Asus P5Q Deluxe EZ Flash Asus P5Q Deluxe EZ Flash
 
This is a much safer alternative to using Windows-based flashing utilities. I have never had a problem using E-Z Flash in the past, so when I needed to upgrade the P5Q's BIOS, I had no fear of using this nifty little utility. You can use most formats be it floppy, USB drive or CD to transfer the BIOS, which is a much better idea than expecting everyone to have access to the now near-obsolete floppy drives. This brings me neatly onto the BIOS itself:
 
 
BIOS
 
Rather than bore you with the usual BIOS settings I'll jump straight in with the main reason you will be entering the BIOS: the overclocking 'AI Tweaker' section.
 
Asus P5Q Deluxe BIOS Asus P5Q Deluxe BIOS
 
As you can see, all of the main voltage adjustments are there and can be increased further by the use of an onboard jumper for those wishing to indulge in a little extreme cooling. The voltages are set by directly typing them in rather than choosing from a set value. The '+' and '-' keys can be used to set values and cycle through them, but with the amount of adjustments available, it can take an age to get to the setting you wish to input. While the direct type method is a quicker way of setting voltages, I urge people to be careful when setting them, as a typo could easily fry your hardware! Asus in their wisdom have coloured the BIOS settings blue(safe), yellow (mid), red (madman) as a gentle reminder of the level of voltage your are intending to pump through your hardware.
 
The memory section is once again very thorough, with varying clock skews and nominal/sub timings, and provides everything you need to get the memory subsection of your PC setup to its most efficient. The usual load line calibration feature is there to help prevent Vdrop, which will please overclockers. This is something I will be looking into to see how much Vdrop and droop there is with this board.
 
If you are not as clued up with the inner workings of the BIOS, then Asus have kindly provided a software-based overclocking suite that will squeeze a little extra performance from your CPU. However, I would advise giving the manual a good read as with this BIOS you will be missing out on a key component of the board if you don't make the best use of it.
 
Now that we've taken a brief look at the Asus offering, let's head on over to the MSI stable and take a peek at the Diamond...
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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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