Intel’s P35 chipset was only just released, but ASUS already has seven motherboards which utilize it. We are taking a look at one of their top models, the P5K3 Deluxe. This board utilizes DDR3 memory and has WiFi capabilities built-in. It also turns out to be a great overclocker.
Nothing can prove the performance of a PC better than real-world benchmarks. The only downside to real-world tests is that it’s difficult to compare to a friends computer, unless they happen to have the same software and media files that you are encoding/converting. We can show direct differences though, since we run the exact same tests on each board.
To test video encoding capabilities, we ripped our “Lamb of God – Killadelphia” concert DVD and then used Nero Recode to convert it into something that can be burned on a normal sized DVD. The direct DVD rip is 7.7GB, and Recode compresses it into a 4.5GB frame.
It’s not surprising to see the P5K3 and eVGA board so close in the results, but the XBX2 fell far behind. On that board, I ran the test twice with a reboot in between to verify the result.
Similar to our video encoding test, we originally ripped a solid FLAC file from our “Tiesto – Elements of Life” album. From there, we decompressed it using flac -d and then compressed it into a 320Kbits MP3 using lame -b 320. FLAC 1.1.2 and LAME 3.97b2 were used for testing.
The P5K3 fell slightly behind with our decode tests, but gained speed for our encoding tests. In the end, the results are incredibly close all around.
As mentioned earlier, I have performed numerous tests using 3DS Max 9 on multiple motherboards, to find that the end performance results hardly differed at all. My tests consisted of a 3200×2400 render, in addition to an export of 100 frames at 640×480. With both tests, the results were either exact or one second different.
Cinebench is used to evaluate a systems performance for this kind of scenario, by rendering a high-resolution image. This test relies heavily on CPU power, but even so, the results vary quite a bit in multi-threaded mode. Again, the P5K3 board gave us a higher score than the others.
Different motherboards use different chipsets for SATA controllers, so these tests are a good way to see how one board will compare to another. The first test is synthetic, using HD Tach RW/3, while the File Compression is real world, which involves compressing a 4GB folder (4,809 files) using 7-Zip.
I don’t think it needs to be said, but the P5K3 once again outperformed the other two boards we used during testing. The File Compression test was the most impressive, as it proved about 5% faster than the Intel XBX2.
No motherboard review is complete without gaming tests, so lets get right on it.