Our Summary and Conclusion
Performance Summary:There are two performance comparisons that should be made in this article, the comparison between the X48 and X38 chipsets, and the comparison between the newer P5E3 Premium and Maximus Extreme and the more mature P5E3 Deluxe. For all intents and purposes, the X48 and X38 performed at virtually identical levels in all of the benchmarks we ran. The X48 is really just a speed-binned X38 that's guaranteed to run with a 1600MHz FSB anyway, so we really weren't expecting any major differences. In comparison to the more mature X38-based P5E3 Deluxe, we also found that the newer P5E3 Premium and Maximus Extreme performed right in line with expectations.
Asus P5E3 Premium:
Users in the market for a cutting edge, Intel-chipset based motherboard should definitely look into the Asus P5E3 Premium. Although it's technically based on a "new" chipset in the X48, the P5E3 Premium is really just a new revision of the original Deluxe model, using a chipset that's been tested to run at higher front side bus speeds. The combination of this board's extensive feature set and up-to-date design makes for a potent combination. The Asus P5E3 Premium has an excellent BIOS, it proved to be a solid overclocker, and performance and stability were top-notch throughout testing. Overall, we'd consider the Asus P5E3 Premium to be an exceptional product. If you plan to build a new Intel-based rig using a Wolfdale or Yorkfield CPU, do yourself a favor and put this motherboard on your short list of potential candidates. It will likely carry a street price in the $269 range when it is eventually made available, but you do get what you pay for. The Asus P5E3 Premium is an excellent motherboard and worthy of an Editor's Choice award.
Asus Maximus Extreme:
The Asus Maximus Extreme is sure to pique the interest of even the more discriminating PC enthusiast. Ask an enthusiast what he looks for in a motherboard and he's likely to say that it should have a high-performing cooling solution, it should be feature-rich, overclockable, highly tweakable, and performance should be second to none. In this regard, the Asus Maximus Extreme has all of those bases covered and then some. This motherboard has easily one of the most extensive set of BIOS options we have ever come across, it's cooling solution is powerful and flexible enough to work with water or air cooling systems, and performance and overclocking were both excellent. If you prefer the more hardcore gamer / enthusiast oriented feature set of the Maximus Extreme, by all means give this board consideration for your next build. It will probably be just as expensive as the X48-based P5E3 Premium, but once again, you do get what you pay for.