Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared


The TForce P965 Deluxe offers an adequate range for included BIOS settings, but lacks MCH or ICH voltage adjustment. It's also the first board in this comparison to limit minimum RAS to 9 cycles, where performance RAM often supports RAS 8 or lower. You wouldn't expect an inexpensive board to support the most expensive RAM, so the lack of a DDR2-1066 setting is understandable.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency 100 - 500 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier Adjustment No
PCIe Clock 100-200 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore 1.10000-1.80000V (0.00625V)
Memory 1.80 - 2.2V (0.2V)
FSB Termination 1.2-1.5V (0.1V)
Northbridge (MCH) N/A
Southbridge (ICH) N/A
ICH I/O 1.5 - 1.8V (0.1V)
Available Memory Ratios (DRAM:FSB)
DDR2-533 (1:1) Yes
DDR2-667 (5:4) Yes
DDR2-711 (4:3) No
DDR2-800 (3:2) Yes
DDR2-888 (5:3) No
DDR2-1066 (2:1) No
CAS Latency Range
tCAS: 3-6; tRCD: 3-7; tRP: 3-7; tRAS: 9-23; Command Rate: N/A

Our Take

In spite of its lack of Northbridge and Southbridge voltage adjustments, the TForce P965 Deluxe overclocked our Core 2 Duo E6700 to the same 346 MHz limit as most other boards. Getting there wasn't "too difficult": rebooting at each setting, we jumped from 266 to 320 MHz and 334 MHz, then increased it by 4 MHz every reboot to "sneak up" on 346 MHz. As with other boards, higher speeds caused program crashes.

Documentation & Software Motherboard Manual
Driver & Tools CD
Hardware 4x Serial ATA cables
4x SATA Power Adapter
1x 80-conductor round ATA cable
1x Floppy Cable
1x I/O Panel Shield
1x Digital Audio Slot Plate (coaxial + optical)
1x Stereo Headset w/Microphone
1x USB mobile phone charging kit

Special Features

In addition to BIOS voltage controls, Biostar's TForce P965 Deluxe includes a jumper to force the memory voltage to 2.20 V. This could be especially useful at first boot, since a few users have reported difficulty booting up at the default 1.80 V using certain older models of performance RAM. Other additions include onboard reset and LED-lit power buttons, to ease testing prior to assembly.

The TForce P965 Deluxe bundle is as unique as the board itself: rather than including a big software suite or tons of promotional materials, Biostar adds two gift boxes containing a clip-on headset and a cellular phone recharging kit. The remaining items are packed in a nylon mesh bag.

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