I am configuring a new computer and am uncertain whether the Asus P5W DH Deluxe or the P5B Deluxe (not WiFi) is the better choice. I've read the TechReport comparison, which was helpful, but am not sure how important the ability to set the multiplier is. I'd appreciate comments.
My primary need for speed is image processing, particularly raw conversion with Nikon Capture and other raw converters and editing with Photoshop CS2.
I want the system to be both quiet and fast. I'd like to achieve 3.6 MHz on the E6700 (or Xeon 3070). I think that quad core would not offer noticeable advantage for my applications, but maximizing memory will. I will run Windows XP, probably for at least two years before considering Vista.
This will be my first experience with overclocking, so I am uncertain how important some o/c features are.
The configuration I am looking at is this:
o Antec P180B case
o SeaSonic S12 Energy Plus SS-650HT PSU
o Asus P5W DH Deluxe or P5B Deluxe (no WiFi)
o E6700 or Xeon 3070
o Tuniq Tower 120
o 4 GB PC6400 (DDR2-800) RAM, Cas4
o 150 GB Raptor as boot drive, 320 GB Seagate 7200.10 as scratch and work drive, two Samsung 400 GB drives in RAID 0 for data
o Floppy drive, 18x DVD RW (both IDE)
o Gigabyte GV-NX76T256D-RH GeForce 7600GT 256MB fanless video card
As I understand it, the pros and cons of the two motherboards as they might affect me are:
o Marginally faster
o Better second GigE port
With only three 3.0 Gb/s SATA ports through the ICH7R, I would have to run on of the hard drives (probably the Seagate) through a 1.5 Gb/s SATA port. I'm not sure whether that will have a measurable effect or not.
P5B Deluxe Pros:
o Can change multiplier of processor downwards
o ICH8R supports 4 3.0 Gb/s hard drives
How useful is it likely to be to be able to reduce the multiplier on the E6700? At the default of 10, FSB of 360 would give me 3.6 MHz and be comfortably within DDR2-800 specs. A multiplier of 9 with FSB of 400 would give the same 3.6 result, with memory still within specs. I do not have a clear understanding of how useful that second option might be and would appreciate guidance.
Well if the only two reasons you are reluctant to get the P5W DH Deluxe is that you can't lower the mulitplier, and it doesn't support 3.0GB transfers, stop worrying because both facts are incorrect. I have said motherboard and I can lower the multiplier, can't raise it, because that's locked in the processor. Yes, I have tried it and it works, so you can rest assured that this isn't speculation. I also run my HDD in 3.0G or SATA 300 or SATA II with NCQ enabled. The only real difference between ICH7R and ICH8R is that you get more SATA ports with ICH8R at the expense of not getting any IDE ports. Of course motherboard makers usually make up for this on their P965 boards by using a third party chip to give us IDE ports (namely for optical drives). Of course there are some other differences, but as for what you are concerned about, they are virtually identical.
EDIT: The main reason to get the P965 is for reason's you haven't listed, namely overclocking. From what I have read, the P965 is more tolerant of really high FSB's. If you are looking to hit 3.6 with an E6700, you would need a FSB of 360 (if you leave the multiplier alone), the P5WDH Deluxe should do this without a problem. Now if you had a E6300 or E6400 and where trying to get into the 3G's, it would definitely be better to go with the P965 since the FSB is getting up to and exceeding 400.
One thing in favor of the P5WDH Deluxe is formal CrossFire support where you get a supported 8X8 configuration, not a hacked 8X4 configuration. If CrossFire's not your thing then this isn't much of a selling point.
Well if the only two reasons you are reluctant to get the P5W DH Deluxe is that you can't lower the mulitplier, and it doesn't support 3.0GB transfers, stop worrying because both facts are incorrect.
Of course there are some other differences, but as for what you are concerned about, they are virtually identical.
Thanks. I had read that lowering the multiplier could be done only on the P5B. Perhaps Asus updated the BIOS since I read that?
I know the P5W will do 3.0GB transfers, but I believe that is on only three of the ICH7R ports, and I will have four drives. So one will have to be on a slower port.
It's beginning to seem like a toss of the coin between these two motherboards for me.
Are you RAIDing all four drives together? If not, there is a Promise (I believe) controller on the board too. This supports the 3G / NCQ / and hot swap I believe. Not trying to swing you either way, I'm sure the P5B board is great. Just giving you the correct info for the equipment I am familiar with.
One last thing to note is that SATA 300 and NCQ will not likely impact performance much. I have used both in the same system (ie first time install I didn't know I had to set BIOS to AHCI and install F6 drivers to get NCQ) and I can't say that it has made a huge difference. The interface speed only affects transfer rates when the data being read is in the buffer or data written will fit in the buffer, otherwise your stuck with the uncached speed which is about 5X slower than SATA 300. Also if you want 3G, make sure you remove the jumper, not everyone knows this.