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The Contender: Asus P6T Deluxe

The Truth Behind ASRock's X58 SuperComputer
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Now that we’ve looked at what the latest-revision X58 SuperComputer motherboard offers by way of overclocking, let’s see how it compares to a similarly-priced product that most readers are familiar with, the Asus P6T Deluxe.

The P6T Deluxe was neglected in our previous two motherboard roundups because we simply didn’t have enough time to test multiple models per manufacturer. Though it’s recently been replaced by a newer version, our sample has proven stable through several previous overclocking articles. We thought today’s article would be a great send-off. BIOS 1405 (03-25-2009) provides full compatibility with this recent Core i7 stepping.

Proof that our D0-stepping Core i7 engineering sample simply doesn’t live up to the expectations of retail samples (and that our ASRock X58 SuperComputer board wasn't inhibiting the result at all) comes from the fact that this one wouldn’t go over 4.0 GHz stably, even on the P6T Deluxe. In fact, the very first Core i7 retail sample we ever tested reached 4.20 GHz using similar cooling, at slightly-higher voltage levels, which this D0 sample can’t tolerate. It appears that the Core i7 D0 samples Intel sent may have come from a less-than-stellar batch, and that might explain why other sites out there have set these aside and instead purchased retail versions.

The P6T pushes this D0-stepping engineering sample processor to 221 MHz base clock, approaching the limit of previous Core i7 C0-stepping tests. We were hoping to set a speed record.

A top DRAM clock of DDR3-2058 is about average for this motherboard and RAM. Again, we were hoping that improvements in the CPU memory controller might allow us to reach new heights.

ASRock’s maximum reference clock compares favorably to the Asus P6T Deluxe.

A tight race for highest CPU clock (using eight-thread Prime95) puts Asus on top by a few megahertz, probably due to its more elaborate voltage regulator.

Memory overclocking was ASRock’s weakness this time, as the board didn’t reach the DDR3-2000 rating of our Kingston HyperX modules.

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