P45 Showdown - Asus P5Q Deluxe vs MSI P45 Diamond

Test Setup & Overclocking

Test Setup
 
As both motherboards make their way to the ring, I'll give you a brief rundown of the test setup I intend to use to best stress the two components. Obviously, with one board being DDR2 and the other DDR3, it was impossible to follow strict controlled hardware balancing.  If nothing else, this sub test will show the reader whether it is yet worth the jump to go for the decreasing price of DDR3 or stick with the still cheaper DDR2.
 
Specs
 
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 leftover drivers from the previous motherboard install.
 
As the OCZ memory only runs at 1600mhz when overclocked, the stock setting of 1066mhz was used throughout the non-3D tests.
 
For the 3DMark and gaming tests, both single card and CrossfireX configurations were used for the purposes of testing the scaling of the P45's 8x8 configuration. 

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
• 3DMark 05
• 3DMark 06

3D Games
• Oblivion
• F.E.A.R
• Call of Duty 4
 
 
Overclocking
 
First we shall give the Asus board a chance to throw some punches and see if it has the power to match its snazzy packaging.
 
 Asus FSB Asus Max OC
 
Well, there is no doubting now that the Asus certainly can walk the walk, pulling a whopping 4ghz and a max FSB of 513mhz. Again, only the Vcore adjustment (1.45v for FSB - 1.5v for max overclock) was needed to achieve this, and with everything else set on Auto this was perhaps the quickest and easiest overclock I have ever had the pleasure to witness. Sadly, without delving further into the BIOS settings and playing around with the GTL's I couldn't get any further, but a 1.6ghz overclock is certainly nothing to be sniffed at. Let's see how the MSI fairs.
 
 MSI FSB MSI Max OC
 
Sadly the MSI didn't fair as well as the Asus, but still has nothing to be ashamed of with a very respectable overclock. There is, however, a very important factor here. In order to get to that overclock on the MSI, I spent a whole day adjusting settings and resetting the CMOS, chasing my tail and going around in circles. Have no doubts here: the MSI will bite you if you try and push things too far. Perhaps the most ridiculous feature of the MSI is the jumper settings. Not only are they positioned very badly (directly under the top most PCIe slot), but the motherboard manual is very vague about the use of them. It was only when I found out that I couldn't exceed 233 mhz in the BIOS that I realised something was desperately wrong. 
 
I scoured the motherboard manual and found these jumpers. You have to set them correctly depending on your prospective overclock ambitions. If you don't, then you can get ready for some heartache and lots of BIOS resets. Luckily the BIOS reset switch is on the rear panel so it's relatively easy to reset; however, you then have to go through the BIOS setting it all up again for prefered boot drives, time, date, etc, and then try an alternative overclock. This was very frustrating as the BIOS is very thorough and shouldn't require the use of jumper settings to 'aid' you. It's not since the days of old AMD T-birds that I have had to use jumpers to overclock, and I certainly don't miss it after the trials this board has put me through.
 
Having said all that, the board does have potential and I'm sure the overclock could be increased given more time (and patience) to familiarise oneself with the quirkiness of the board. Sadly, due to time constraints this was the best I could do. 
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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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