The P5N-E SLI is an impressive motherboard, offering the very best performance for the LGA775 platform along with all the essential features. The P5N-E SLI costs just $140, making it roughly $130 cheaper than the cheapest ASUS 680i SLI board (P5N32-E SLI), which we also used through our performance comparison tests.
Knowing this I was interested in learning what features or options had been removed from the P5N-E SLI to allow for such a large price drop. However, after comparing the boards side by side on the desk and in the BIOS, it is clear that very little has been sacrificed when creating the P5N-E SLI.
While the boards look physically different and also utilize different Nvidia chipsets, they deliver almost the exact same performance. Overclocking on the P5N-E SLI was excellent, though not quite as easy to configure as we would have liked, the potential for great results is there. We did not bother to show any overclocking figures as I believe that wouldn’t have done the board any justice, we did have quite a lot of success in the end.
When testing the board last month we were limited to an early revision of the BIOS and while it did deliver in the end, getting a stable overclock was not easy. The BIOS appeared to have the same problem as that of the more expensive Striker Extreme. This problem restricts DDR2 memory modules from operating well over 900MHz without compromising system stability. Nevertheless, we were able to run our E6300 processor on a 500MHz FSB resulting in a 3.5GHz total clock frequency. This is the fastest frequency this processor has reached on any motherboard, so needless to say we are pleased with the P5N-E SLI. Unfortunately, running the DDR2 memory below 1000MHz is not ideal, but we have found no way around it at this stage. We still hope ASUS can deliver soon a new BIOS that can address the issues we faced when overclocking.
Overall, we believe the P5N-E SLI is a great overclocker and are confident there is a lot more untapped potential. When operating at standard frequencies the P5N-E SLI worked flawlessly and was able to run the pair of 8800 GTX cards with the Core 2 E6700 without a problem. The performance and price is what we have found to be the most impressive aspect of the P5N-E SLI, the features and overclocking abilities are just a nice big bonus as far as we are concerned.
We highly recommend the ASUS P5N-E SLI to anyone looking for an affordable motherboard capable of delivering high-end SLI performance.