Asus P5Q Deluxe - P45 Chipset with DDR2

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The BIOS and Overclocking


Like a number of previous Asus high-end motherboard offerings, the P45-based P5Q Deluxe is outfitted with an embedded Linux-based operating system that’s available upon initial power-up.  The feature is dubbed “Express Gate”, but it is based on the SplashTop platform technology developed by San Jose-based company DeviceVM.  With this new motherboard, however, the Express Gate OS has been updated to v1.1.1.22 and offers a couple of new applications.


     

   


When the P5Q Deluxe is first powered up, a menu is displayed that gives users the option to boot the OS, enter the system BIOS, power down the system, or launch the Express Gate applications.  If you choose to boot the OS, enter the BIOS, or recycle power, the P5Q Deluxe behaves just like any other motherboard.  If you launch the Express Gate applications though, which are comprised of a web browser, a music-playback application, a photo browser, an IM client, and Skype, the embedded Linux-based OS is launched from an integrate on-board ROM and seconds later it’s available for use.  Like previous iteration, we found the Express Gate technology easy to use and quite handy.

If, for example, you need to download a driver or BIOS file and the hard drive-based OS isn’t functioning properly.  With Express Gate you can access the web and integrated peripherals even if the system’s full blown OS has a problem and won't boot.


     

     


As you can see in the screen captures above, the Asus P5Q Deluxe is equipped with an AMI BIOS derivative that is very complete and relatively easy to navigate. From within the BIOS users have the ability to configure, enable or disable all of the board's integrated peripherals, and monitor voltages, system temps, and clock speeds. The P5Q Deluxe also has an extremely extensive set of memory timing options that offer excellent flexibility for fine tuning memory performance or overclocking.

The  Asus P5Q Deluxe's standard BIOS menu screens don't reveal anything unusual, but they will give you a feel for the general layout and organization of the options. Each individual screen has a host of menus that tunnel deeper and deeper as the options get more complex. As we've seen with most of Asus' recent motherboard offerings, other than the color scheme used, the P5Q Deluxe's menus are very similar to the BIOS derivatives used on most other high-end motherboards today.

Overclocking The Asus P5Q Deluxe
Plenty of Options


     

      


It is inside the "Extreme Tweaker" section of the Asus P5Q Deluxe's BIOS that users will find most of the board's performance tuning options.  From within the "Extreme Tweaker" section of the BIOS, users have the ability to alter clock frequencies and voltages for every major on-board component. The CPU front side bus and PCI Express frequencies can be altered in 1MHz increments, and the CPU multiplier and memory ratio can also be manipulated manually.  There are also extensive voltage options for the CPU, Memory, chipset, CPU PLL, CPU GTL (reference 0/2 and 1/3), FSB termination, Southbridge and SATA.

Another useful feature is that the BIOS is designed to allow users to key in voltages and frequencies directly without having to tunnel into a menu option.  We found this type of interface easy to use and especially liked the notes in the right margin that explained what each setting did, and which values were recommended.

We should note, that while the Asus P5Q Deluxe does have an wide assortment of voltage and memory options geared for overclockers, tinkering with all of them is not necessarily required to achieve high FSB and memory frequencies.  Asus actually includes a feature called "Mem OC Charger" that acts as a signal quality compensation mechanism to help system memory to reach higher frequencies.  Asus also states that due to the P45's 65nm manufacturing process, high NB voltages aren't necessary for moderate overclocking.

Obviously, we spent some time overclocking with the Asus P5Q Deluxe to see just how much untapped horsepower it had left.  We began by increasing our processor's core and the memory voltages by .1v.  Then we dropped our processor's multiplier to 6x, initially lowered the memory speed, and increased the front side bus frequency until our test system was no longer stable.  In the end, we were able to increase the FSB to 500MHz and memory to almost 1.2GHz with stock cooling and only a couple of minor tweaks.  Anything higher than 500MHz and the system wasn't stable with the stock chipset, FSB, and PLL voltages.  We're sure higher frequencies are possible though, with more experimentation though.
 

Tags:  Asus, P45, DDR, DDR2, Chipset, Chip, P5Q, chips, P4, IPS, UX, IP

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