I just picked up the P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe after reading good things about it. I have however recently read a few threads that seem to suggest that it may have some issues when overclocking a C2D. Not 100% sure on that though...still seems a bit unclear.
I'd be interested to see what people have to say though...
I have been researching this debate for some time now as I am faced with the same dilema. I originally purchased the ASRock mobo (775DUAL-VSTA VIA PT880) and ended up returning it due to the fact that my AGP video card heatsink was touching the raid controller that I had in the PCI-Express (4x) slot next to it and was running unstable. (why do i have a raid card? i have 8 750gb hds running raid 5 with 1 hotspare).
Anyways what I have concluded is this...
After comparing virtually every single Core 2 motherboard and their respective chipsets I have chosen to go with the P5N32-SLI Premium.
There are several reasons why this would be your best choice...
First off IMO Asus has, as of this moment, the best boards on there with the most features, but picking between the Intel chipsets, the 975X and the 965, and the nVidia chipsets can be confusing. First off take a look at these newegg links so you can get a good idea of the boards' layouts visually.
Now, looking at the Intel based boards there should be one thing you immediately notice....ONE IDE PORT! Now, if this isn't a problem for you fine, but I'm already running 2 DVD Burners, and I plan on getting a Blu-Ray burner as soon as they drop in price. If you look on plextors site the Blu-Ray burner is IDE, not SATA. IDE isn't going anywhere just yet, this isnt like the switch to PCI-Express where they can just rip off the port, taking out the 2nd IDE port is stupid.
Next, With the P5B you can see thers only 1 PCI-E 1x slot, not particularly good, just expecting for the future...that could be a serious conflict. On the flip side...the P5W comes with a warning that if the mobo was shipped without the latest bios (P5W is a modified 975 chipset ( i think thats what the X is for )) then you cant even boot your sytem until you update the BIOS...problem being you need a processor in your system to do that...have fun ripping apart your existing p4=(
Now take a look at he P5N32-SLI Premium because theres a downside to that also IMO, and that is theres 2 PCI-Express slots but in order to use the audio you have to use one up. On top of that...thats another thing thats going to be congesting your air flow on your video card...but thats something I guess you gotta deal with.
The P5N32-Premium has the newer nVidia Force chipset (the 5 series instead of the nForce4) and comes with the 590 and not the 570. This is important because theres an often overlooked feature and thats the networking feature. nForce4 came with TCP IP acceleration but they improved it with the 590. (adding to the confusion i think they took it out with the 570 and readded it with the 590). But yea...its like an 8% CPU difference when the port is at load.
Now...to answer your question about both cards running at 16X. The answer, contrary to what BadDad said, is no, with the deluxe model the cards do NOT run at 16x, they run at 8x. Heres the link: http://www.legionhardware.com/document.php?id=567
However at this point in time that makes no differnce with the gfx cards currently on the market. But planning for the future would tell you that when Vista hits and you want DX10 (which they are claiming wont be released on XP) and top performance...the cards out at that time will probably have gotten there. So, IMO the solution is to not go balls out on GFX card, THG has a guide on decent vid cards with the most bang for your buck: http://www.tomshardware.com/2006/10/31/the_best_video_c...
I recommend getting the 7600, waiting for vista and dx10, then see where the cards are at the point and then go SLI.
Also the deluxe does not have the Wifi option, to me that didn't really make the difference, but still something to look at in the big picture.
Oh ya, one more thing i forgot to add was that although the P5N32-SLI Premium only has one PCI-Express 1x slot, its got THREE 16x slots, so thats why that wasn't an issue. Also that means you can go SLI with three cards if you go all out.
Ultimate Gaming Performance with NVIDIA SLI™ X16 Technology
NVIDIA® SLI™-Scalable Link Interface- takes advantage of the increased bandwidth of the PCI Express bus architecture and features intelligent hardware and software that allows two GPUs to efficiently work together to deliver earth-shattering, scalable performance. Two full-bandwidth 16-lane PCI Express links ensure maximum graphics performance for next-generation GPUs and games. Offers twice the PCI Express bandwidth of X8 SLI solutions!
Hey np...i guess i stand corrected...the article I was refering to was dealing with the 570 chipset which is different than the nforce 4.
The NVIDIA LinkBoost technology boosts the PCI Express and MCP HyperTransport buses by 25% which in term boosts the interconnect bandwidth from 8GB/s to 10GB/s. The nForce 590 SLI also includes a total of 46 PCI Express lanes, meaning SLI mode can operate at full speed. By this I mean both PCI Express x16 slots will operate at full speed when using two graphics cards. This is not a feature of the nForce 570 SLI chipset, which only operates each SLI card at PCI Express x8. The nForce 570 SLI on the other hand does not include the NVIDIA LinkBoost technology and only supports PCI Express x16 for a single graphics card. When operating in SLI mode the card will operate at PCI Express x8, which at this point in time has no influence on performance.