Power Consumption and Conclusions
The ASUS P6T Deluxe is definitely using more power at idle than the Intel DX58SO motherboard probably due to the additional accessories it has on it like the dual Marvell storage chipsets. Even taking that into consideration, a 20 watt jump is actually pretty extreme and I am curious if future updates the board will do anything to remedy it. When under a full load the two X58-based systems use almost identical power indicating that something is amiss with ASUS’ idle results.
As you no doubt saw in our various benchmarks and system tests, the performance differences between the two competing X58 motherboard solutions are close to nil. We have seen chipset differences on AMD platforms become nearly non-existent since the move of the memory controller from the core logic to the CPU and we are obviously going to see the same thing with Intel’s platforms going forward from Nehalem. With the north bridge really acting as nothing more than a glorified PCI Express hub, the best X58 motherboards will stand out with improved overclocking support and performance as well as included extras and features.
The ASUS P6T Deluxe excels in this area to a T: it offers a BIOS chock full of overclocking settings and memory tweaks and also was able to overclock faster right out of the box than Intel’s own DX58SO ‘Smackover’ motherboard. It’s hard to ask for more than that with identical-chipset motherboards.
Though not an apples-to-apples comparison by any means, the ASUS P6T Deluxe easily outpaces the likes of the P45 (paired with the QX9770 processor) and especially the AMD 790GX chipset (paired with the Phenom X4 9950 CPU). In the single chipset specific test, the evaluation of SATA, eSATA and USB storage performance, all four motherboard actually perform pretty well and within a reasonable margin of each other.
The ASUS P6T Deluxe offers up a ton of great features for a high end motherboard starting with the obvious: support for the fastest CPU on the market. One of the first X58 motherboard to hit our offices, the P6T Deluxe will likely be seen in a positive light for some time even as other manufacturers boards start to flow into the market. The BIOS on the board supplies just about any overclocking or tweaking option you could possibly be looking for though the slight confusion in how Turbo Mode works on the P6T compared to Intel’s ‘Smackover’ board leaves me well, confused.
And how can we forget that this is the FIRST STANDARD MOTHERBOARD TO OFFICIALLY SUPPORT BOTH CROSSFIRE AND SLI to hit our test bench? We have seen a couple of complete system builds used “special” drivers to offer the same experience and yes the Skulltrail platform from Intel last year also had SLI/CrossFire support but was weighed down by extreme component pricing. The Intel DX58SO motherboard does NOT support SLI either – due to Intel and NVIDIA being unable to agree on licensing terms (read: Intel and NVIDIA had a pissing match). Only X58 motherboards that pay NVIDIA a licensing fee will officially be allowed to claim support for SLI and in theory only those boards will be recognized by the NVIDIA graphics drivers to enable SLI. Either way, the ASUS P6T Deluxe will have it and we are thrilled to have a true enthusiast platform at long last that will run BOTH multi-GPU solutions. (Even if it was NVIDIA’s large head in the way of this goal the entire time.)
Let’s not forget the other features that ASUS has included on the board such as the integrated Serial-attached SCSI connection, extra SATA/eSATA ports, dual Gigabit Ethernet, six DDR3 DIMM slots and the external OC Palm display and interaction device.
Pricing and Availability
With the Intel Core i7 processor still MIA until a week from now (or so we are learning), the ASUS P6T Deluxe is similarly not available for sale. The information we have received puts availability of the motherboard at the same time as the CPU release, so keep an eye out for it early next week.
Pricing on the P6T Deluxe is estimated at $309 according to ASUS – not a low cost for a motherboard by any stretch of the imagination. In my review of the Nehalem processor that was one of the few drawbacks that I saw for early adoption of the Core i7 platform – hiked up prices on CPUs and high priced motherboards. Until vendors start making motherboards with lower prices you can expect to pay $250+ for any Core i7 motherboard and you can be sure there will be options at even higher prices. We have another ASUS model in house that will run upwards of $400 in testing right now!
If you were looking to pick up a $280 Core i7-920 CPU next week and pair it with a motherboard right away, you’d be hard pressed to find one selling for less than the cost of the CPU itself.
Even with the high price, the ASUS P6T Deluxe looks to be a fantastic motherboard for early adopters of the Intel Core i7 processor by offering up a host of unique features as well as a BIOS that would make most enthusiast overclockers envious. The idle power consumption and CPU clock ratio issues are minor annoyances to anyone that is really going to be stressing the platform so I am hesitant to put any weight to those issues in my conclusion. The P6T Deluxe is clean, fast and feature-rich without a lot of clutter or an overly-ambitious box set. It might simply be the Core i7 honeymoon rearing its head, but I think the P6T Deluxe is a great first offering from ASUS.