915P Chipset Roundup: ABIT AG8, ASUS P5GD2 Premium, and Foxconn 915A01-P

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ASUS' P5GD2 Premium BIOS & Software

We tested the ASUS P5GD2 with beta BIOS version 1005 due to instability that was occurring with the latest publicly available file, 1004. The board shipped with 1002, but we replaced that to keep the P5GD2 as current as possible.

BIOS & Software - ASUS P5GD2 Premium

The artificial intelligence

 

As a big car nut, I'm always interested when a hardware manufacturer tries to incorporate auto terminology in its pitch. ASUS actually does a commendable job with its AI NOS technology. Designed to detect system load and automatically augment performance when it's needed, the non-delay overclocking system does function somewhat like nitrous would in a drag car. Of course, that's something we had to disable for benchmarking, but AI NOS is an interesting concept with positive results for power users.

Several other aspects of ASUS' BIOS are also tweaked for maximizing performance. Hyper Path 2, for instance, is claimed to be an optimized setting for minimizing latency between the CPU and system memory. It isn't the same as Intel's PAT (Performance Acceleration Technology) but is able to work in conjunction with PAT on the 925X platform. (The P5GD2 doesn't feature PAT, unfortunately.) There's another setting for optimizing the PCI Express graphics link mode. According to ASUS, the setting adjusts the PCI Express link to run at higher frequencies for enhanced graphics performance. For the purpose of our benchmarks, we ran the PEG Link Mode at its Normal setting. Pushing it higher indeed leads to higher benchmark numbers, though.

 

 

Like ABIT, ASUS offers quite a bit of flexibility in its BIOS features. For example, the P5GD2 Premium features memory voltages between 1.8V and 2.1V in .1V increments to reflect the board's DDR2 memory support. Moreover, it features chipset voltages of either 1.5V or 1.6V and processor voltages between 1.525 and 1.7V in .0125V increments.

There's also an entire page of settings with processor options, system frequency options, and peripheral settings. The PCI Express bus can be manually set to run faster or slower than its stock configuration, and new features, such as FSB termination voltage, purport to improve overclocking results. The AI Net2 diagnostic is able to monitor the status of connected CAT5 cables, including total length. Finally, the advanced peripheral page controls the high-def audio controller, 1394 controller, both Gigabit LAN controllers, the Wi-Fi chipset, and both RAID controllers. Let it never be said that ASUS didn't offer its customers full control.

 


P5GD2 Premium PC Probe and Wireless AP Software


PC Probe


Wireless NIC


Wireless Signal


Access Point

Again, Dave took the above shots for his shootout between ABIT's AA8 and ASUS' P5AD2 Premium, but they're just as relevant here, as the P5GD2 comes with the same utilities for monitoring system health and configuring the on-board wireless network controller. When you consider that the P5GD2 also includes two Gigabit Ethernet adapters, there's almost no limit to the networked configurations that are possible with ASUS' solution.


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