11-Way P45 Motherboard Shootout

Maximus II Formula Onboard Devices

Asus Maximus II Formula (Revision 1.02G)
Northbridge Intel P45 Express
Southbridge Intel ICH10R
Voltage Regulator Sixteen Phases
BIOS 0802 (07/10/2008)
333.3 MHz (FSB1333) 334.0 MHz (+0.20%)
Clock Generator ICS 9LPRS918JKLF
Connectors and Interfaces
Onboard 2x PCIe 2.0 x16 (Modes : One x16 or Two x8)
3x PCIe x1
1x PCI
3x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x Floppy
1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
8x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Asus "LCD Poster" Interface
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
5x Fan 3 pins (Chassis/Power)
1x Internal Power Button
1x Internal Reset Button
IO panel 1x PS2 (keyboard )
6x USB 2.0
1x Clear CMOS Button
2x RJ-45 Network
1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
1x External SATA
Mass Storage Controllers
Intel ICH10R 6x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
Marvell 88SE6121-NAA1 PCI-E 1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)
1x External SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1 JBOD)
1x SATA Host for SteelVine Controller
Silicon Image Sil5723CNU SATA 2x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1, Cascading)
Network
2x Marvell 88E8056-NNC1 PCI-E Dual Gigabit LAN with Teaming
Audio
SupremeFX X-Fi Riser Card ADI AD2000BX HD Audio Codec
Eight-Channel (7.1 Surround) Output
FireWire
VIA VT6308P PCI 2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mbit/s)

Three controllers and three x1 slots consume all six of the ICH10R’s PCI Express lanes. Asus does us a favor in the allocation of USB 2.0 headers however, providing three connections to support a total of six front-panel devices or ports.

The chipset’s other six USB 2.0 ports can be found on rear panel, along with an old-fashioned PS/2 keyboard port, dual Gigabit networking ports, IEEE-1394 FireWire, eSATA ports, and a CLR_CMOS button.

Asus’ big new feature is its SupremeFX X-Fi riser card, which uses an ADI AD2000BX HD Audio codec along with software emulation to provide EAX 4.0 effects. This riser card uses a specialized dual-mode slot at the motherboard’s top position, which has been modified to allow either PCI Express x1 cards or Asus’s custom riser cards to work. It may only have a codec, but many users will find that the best thing about the SupremeFX X-Fi riser is that it doesn’t rely on any problematic Creative components.

Hidden under the southbridge ’sink, the Marvell 88SE6121 controller supplies one eSATA port, one Ultra ATA header, and the SATA interface for a Silicon Image “SteelVine” port multiplier. The Sil5723 SteelVine controller is more than just a hub, as it adds advanced features such as drive cascading and RAID modes to the two ports.

Network devices can operate at the Marvell 88E8056 Gigabit network controller’s peak speeds, thanks to its PCI Express interface. A second Gigabit network controller of the same model is hidden under the extended portion of the northbridge sink.

IEEE-1394 FireWire doesn’t need PCI Express speeds, so Asus gets by with an ancient VT6308P PCI controller.

Summary
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  • nickchalk
    Where are the lower price P45 M/B ?
    Asus P5Q pro is out for €110 and P5Q deluxe for €165 the price difference is about 70$ in Greece.
    1
  • nihility
    51 pages... You won't be upset if I read just the last 3 pages right?
    5
  • Proximon
    I suppose I can get some good from having read this. Did you get paid by the word? Maybe next time you could just put together a complete features chart so that we can have some convenient comparison? You know, so someone could go to a chart and see at a glance which boards had eSATA or firewire, or 8 USB.
    1
  • JPForums
    I'd rather have the overabundance of information than a lack of information. Presentation could use a little refining (I.E. comparison charts and the likes), but having the relevant information available at least is a good thing.
    5
  • Anonymous
    the introduction and specifics are nice, the comparision isn't. so, why don't you test with an 8500 or qx9650? 6850 are outdated... and a mobo handling a c2d doesn't mean it can handle a quad too, see P5K for example (it stinks when it comes to a q6600).
    1
  • Crashman
    procithe introduction and specifics are nice, the comparision isn't. so, why don't you test with an 8500 or qx9650? 6850 are outdated... and a mobo handling a c2d doesn't mean it can handle a quad too, see P5K for example (it stinks when it comes to a q6600).


    Tom's Hardware wants the performance of current articles to reflect that of recent articles, so a "standard test platform" was chosen a while ago. It will get updated, but probably not before the new socket becomes widely available.
    2
  • zenmaster
    I would have liked to see something such as a P35 and an X48 as controls to help analyze the P45 Performance.

    In otherwords, What is the P45 Gaining me over the older P35.
    What would I gain by going to the X48. (Or Lose)
    3
  • Crashman
    zenmasterI would have liked to see something such as a P35 and an X48 as controls to help analyze the P45 Performance.In otherwords, What is the P45 Gaining me over the older P35.What would I gain by going to the X48. (Or Lose)

    http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-p45-chipset,1961.html
    0
  • johnbilicki
    The first 17 pages were filled with nothing but junk from ASUS. Do us a favor: don't even bother featuring or *MENTIONING* anything for any reason from a company that refuses to RMA 200-400 dollar brand new motherboards with anything other then used and usually broken junk. It destroyed my enthusiasm for the article.
    -6
  • dobby
    nickchalkWhere are the lower price P45 M/B ?Asus P5Q pro is out for €110 and P5Q deluxe for €165 the price difference is about 70$ in Greece.


    the p5q PRo is a p43 board, i should know i have one
    -1
  • dobby
    johnbilickiThe first 17 pages were filled with nothing but junk from ASUS. Do us a favor: don't even bother featuring or *MENTIONING* anything for any reason from a company that refuses to RMA 200-400 dollar brand new motherboards with anything other then used and usually broken junk. It destroyed my enthusiasm for the article.


    if you RMA through your Vendor then you get a new one, which BTW most big vendors dont even check to see whether the part is broken.

    also this article is good, way better than other recent articles especially mac orinated ones) what would be good though is a big summary table. also if the charts where updated.
    2
  • Anonymous
    "the p5q PRo is a p43 board, i should know i have one"

    Funny, so do i and it's a p45.
    3
  • Shadow703793
    You forgot the EP45-DS3L. :( . Also why include cr@ppy brands (ie JetWay) any ways?
    1
  • Crashman
    johnbilickiThe first 17 pages were filled with nothing but junk from ASUS. Do us a favor: don't even bother featuring or *MENTIONING* anything for any reason from a company that refuses to RMA 200-400 dollar brand new motherboards with anything other then used and usually broken junk. It destroyed my enthusiasm for the article.


    Lies. The first two motherboards were from ASRock. The two companies are not the same, regardless of any ties they may have.
    1
  • Crashman
    nickchalkWhere are the lower price P45 M/B ?Asus P5Q pro is out for €110 and P5Q deluxe for €165 the price difference is about 70$ in Greece.


    There are low-priced P45's in there. The ECS only cost $110 US, which, given the weakness of US currency, is cheap.
    0
  • Crashman
    Shadow703793You forgot the EP45-DS3L. . Also why include cr@ppy brands (ie JetWay) any ways?


    NO motherboards were "Forgotten". Everyone got a chance to submit up to two motherboards, Gigabyte sent one. Jetway send one. Any of the other brands you disliked that were in the review, were there because everyone got an equal shot.
    1
  • jerreece
    johnbilickiThe first 17 pages were filled with nothing but junk from ASUS. Do us a favor: don't even bother featuring or *MENTIONING* anything for any reason from a company that refuses to RMA 200-400 dollar brand new motherboards with anything other then used and usually broken junk. It destroyed my enthusiasm for the article.


    At least you have a completely unbiased view of this...

    I haven't read through the entire article. I actually skipped to the Conclusion first to see what board was rated as best (frankly that's important to me). Unfortunately, I see the second best, third best, but I'm having a hard time identifiying what Tom's calls the 1st best. It is not clearly stated.
    1
  • cruiseoveride
    that msi rocks ass. my next board.
    0
  • johnbilicki
    ASRock is a subsidiary of ASUS hence their RMA policies are likely to emulate that of ASUS.

    Don't give me a thumbs down for sticking up for consumer rights. Thumb my comments down if you LIKE getting used and often broken replacements for your $200+ brand new though malfunctioning/broken boards.

    Another problem ASUS seems to create is that it is usually the only company that builds motherboards for the GOOD AMD socket chipsets leaving us to wait for only a very select few (1~3 780A and nForce 4 true 16X SLI are examples) motherboard choices. This is *NO* different then how Dell used to use proprietary parts to lock you in. I LIKE choice and I expect ANY part regardless of it's price to have a NEW replacement for a RMA so long as it's covered under warranty.

    So long as they play politics this way and try to sucker people I will speak up for the less informed enthusiasts. Let's not forget Gigabyte busting ASUS *AND* having a couple articles featured on this very site about it earlier this year.

    My favorite is the Gigabyte board based on features. The article was interesting though what is with the inconsistencies? For example some motherboards have images of the IO panel while others do not. Still it was a good read.
    2
  • jimmysmitty
    ^I will agree with you on that part but when it comes to good quality, performance and extra features I have never had a problem with Asus. I of course have been lucky enough to never have one break one me.
    0