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Published August 28, 2006
Although I was quite impressed with the P5WD2-E Premium, the former ASUS 975X heavyweight, I feel the P5W DH Deluxe is a more solid product. The biggest improvement comes from the upgraded cooling system which I have found to be highly effective. The board design itself is also cleaner, and the updated features and processor support could be excuse enough for the new model. Another design improvement includes the PCI Express x16 expansion slot placement. Rather than featuring a single space between these two slots, ASUS has placed a PCIe x1 and PCI slot between the dual graphics ports.
Performance-wise the P5W DH Deluxe did well, matching the Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 every step of the way. Clearly the Intel 975X and P965 chipsets are very evenly matched in terms of performance. However, when it comes to overclocking, the P5W DH Deluxe completely blows the Gigabyte 965P-DQ6 out of the water. While the 965P-DQ6 was limited to a 300MHz FSB using the Core 2 Duo E6700 processor, the P5W DH Deluxe went all the way to a comfortable 366MHz FSB. This resulted in a total clock frequency of 3.66GHz using nothing more than a $50 after market HSF (Thermalright XP-120).
In fact, overclocking with the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe seemed almost too easy, as I found there were very few settings that required changes to achieve the 366MHz FSB. There has been countless posting of users reaching a 400MHz FSB and beyond with the P5W DH Deluxe. However most appear to have been using processors with lower clock multipliers, such as the E6300. Actually, this is an overclocking aspect of the P5W DH Deluxe which I did find quite disappointing. There seems to be no option to adjust the processors' clock multiplier down.
Given the Core 2 Duo E6700 features a 10x clock multiplier, reaching extreme FSB frequencies could prove to be quite challenging. If this could be reduced to 9x or even 8x, there is a good chance the P5W DH Deluxe would support a FSB overclock of at least 400MHz. Nevertheless, even without the ability to adjust the processors clock multiplier, I found the P5W DH Deluxe to be the best LGA775 overclocking motherboard that I have tested to date. That said, it is also one of the most expensive LGA775 motherboards available today, so keep that in mind.
The other features that are not commonly found on motherboards, such as the DH Remote, WiFi-AP Solo and MP3-In, can also be very useful. The WiFi-AP Solo in particular could prove invaluable to anyone using the P5W DH Deluxe as a central hub of their home wireless network. Those using the P5W DH Deluxe as a home theater PC will also find the wireless function very handy, but probably not as handy as the DH Remote. Overall I feel the ASUS P5W DH Deluxe is an extremely well equipped motherboard, and even at $250 itís quite a good buy if you plan on taking advantage of its unique features and can afford the cost.
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