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Asus P6T SE

X58 On A Budget: Seven Sub-$200 Core i7 Boards
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Using the same circuit board as the mid-range P6T, Asus’ P6T SE eliminates very few features but adds significant cost savings.

In fact, the only things we noticed missing were an SATA port multiplier (along with the two ports it supplied), the internal reset button (though the internal power button is still there), and the floppy connector. Of these, the eliminated floppy connector seems most questionable, since the floppy controller is still present as part of the multi-I/O interface IC.

Buyers still get the same good layout we praised in the P6T Review, and we still think the board could have been improved had Asus provided at least one more space between the two (blue) PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots. The white x16-length slot is still handicapped by x4 lane width, though it’s perfect for a lower-performance graphics card or high-bandwidth RAID controller.

One of our most frequent layout complaints concerns the traditional bottom-rear-corner placement of the P6T SE front-panel audio header, which can be extremely hard to reach with the cables of top-panel jacks. Several of Asus’ competitors have already broken away from this tradition.

Asus is one of the few companies to offer dual mounting patters for LGA 1366 and LGA 775 coolers. This could be a key value addition for anyone upgrading from LGA 775 while trying to keep their liquid-cooling kit intact.

BIOS

BIOS clock, timing, and voltage ranges can be found on Page 17’s overclocking comparison.

Use of the same circuit board as the more-expensive P6T allows the P6T SE to also use the same BIOS, though Asus has updated it since our original P6T review.

Intel XMP Profile selection works exactly as expected on every Asus motherboard we’ve tested, and that’s something we can’t say about several of the firm’s competitors. Yet overclockers with even the least amount of experience can almost-as-easily set their memory voltage and timings manually.

Voltage controls appear a little more meticulous than one might expect on a $200 X58 motherboard, but most of the added settings are little-used DRAM reference voltage levels. Extreme overclockers might appreciate these, but other component settings lack this level of detail.

In the DRAM Timing Control menu we again see an unusual focus on memory performance. Fortunately, users can decide which timings to set manually while leaving others in automatic mode.

Asus EZ Flash 2 allows saving and flashing BIOS from within a special GUI, negating the need for bootable media. Opposite that level of usefulness is the automatically-enabled Express Gate function, which slows boot times without adding functionality. Neither the P6T SE nor the P6T upon which it’s based include an Express Gate module.

Two custom BIOS configurations can be stored as user profiles on the Asus P6T SE.

Accessories

The P6T SE includes no CrossFire or SLI bridges and comes with four SATA cables.  NOTE: Asus has recently updated its P6T SE web page, removing references to SLI compatibility.

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