It was almost a year ago that Intel introduced the first Core 2 Duo processors into the market, marking the beginning of the end for the very well-regarded AMD Athlon 64. Since that moment Core 2 Duo processors have dominated the market and arguably become one of the best processor series in history. Today the Core 2 architecture is evolving from their original 1066MHz FSB to a faster 1333MHz bus, while DDR2 is getting ready to stand aside and let DDR3 take over.
Along with the Core 2 Duo came the Intel P965 Express chipset designed for mainstream and high-end motherboards. The P965 was meant to replace the i945 chipset and we can safely say today that it has done so successfully. Hoping for such continued success, Intel announced a P965 replacement last month. The new P35 chipset features updated processor and memory support, along with a few new key features that we will be talking about in this article.
The P35 is the first release on a new series of chipsets, with two more products soon to follow, the G33 and X38. Although the flagship model in the new series is actually the X38 (which will replace the 975X), other than the added PCI Express lanes, there seems to be very little difference between the X38 and P35 chipsets.
This is not all that surprising. In the past we have seen very little difference between Intel mainstream and high-end chipsets (think P965 vs. 975X). We anticipate the main differences will come from the motherboard manufacturers themselves, as they may decide to pack more features into their X38 boards. That said, motherboards such as the ASUS P5K Deluxe (WiFi-AP Edition) which relies on the P35 chipset, are going to be hard to beat. ASUS has really embraced the Intel P35 quickly, as they currently offer eight unique motherboards based on the chipset.
The ASUS P5K Deluxe comes in two flavors, while the standard version we have here today supports DDR2 memory, there is also a version that exclusively supports DDR3 memory, known as the P5K3 Deluxe. Both motherboards share the exact same PCB design with slight alterations to the cooling design and of course different memory DIMMs. Today we are testing the P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition, which currently has a retail value of $250, making this a high-end product.
Please read on as we take a close look to what this board has to offer.