We discovered quite a few interesting technologies in the BIOS Setup of ASUS P5W DH Deluxe mainboard. First of all, I would like to mention EZ Flash 2 technology that implies that there is a special BIOS reflashing code integrated directly into the BIOS itself. Note that this utility can read reflashing files not only from floppies, but also from USB flash drives, which makes even more useful in the long run.
In case the BIOS reflashing still fails, there is CrashFree BIOS 3 that will come to rescue. It will restore the corrupted BIOS code from the file on your floppy disk or USB keychain.
Hardware monitoring is also implemented quite decently. Of course, ASUS P5W DH Deluxe allows monitoring the usual parameters such as CPU and environment temperature, major voltages and rotation speeds of five fans. However, ASUS P5W DH Deluxe can also adjust the fan rotation speeds basing on the status of the monitored parameters. This function is implemented with the help of Q-Fan 2 technology. Here I have to say that I had some concerns about the temperature measuring algorithms for the processor core. For some reason ASUS didn’t use the data from the digital diodes built into the new Conroe processors. Instead they used an analogue thermal diode and moreover, the reported temperatures were considerably lower than the actual ones.
ASUS offers the traditional PC Probe II utility to monitor the mainboard status directly from Windows. This utility works great with the new platform.
And of course, they couldn’t help implementing the AI NOS dynamic overclocking technology in the BIOS Setup. Unlike similar technologies from other manufacturers, AI NOS’ decision whether or not to increase the processor frequency is based on the processor’s power consumption rather than temperature. As a result, we get faster and more precise reaction to the actual situation. The mainboard also supports Intel Enhanced SpeedStep technology that can even be enabled together with AI NOS.
Automatic overclocking is good, but we are certainly much more interested to see how ASUS P5W DH Deluxe copes with manual processor overclocking. Luckily, the board offers a lot of overclocking-friendly options:
- Adjustable FSB frequency in the interval from 100MHz up to 450MHz;
- Independently adjustable PCI Express frequency in the interval from 90MHz to 150MHz;
- Possibility to lock the CPI frequency at the nominal value of 33.3MHz;
- Adjustable Vmem in the interval from 1.8V to 2.4V with 0.05V increment;
- Adjustable processor Vcore that can be set in the interval from the nominal value up to 1.7V with 0.0125V increment;
- Adjustable FSB Termination voltage that can vary from 1.2V to 1.5V with 0.1V increment;
- The voltage on the chipset North Bridge can be adjusted from 1.5V to 1.65V with 0.05V increment;
- The voltage on the chipset South Bridge can be set to 1.05V or 1.2V.
Unfortunately, despite this relatively long list of overclocking-friendly options of ASUS P5W DH Deluxe, they may not be enough in some cases. Our biggest concern is the relatively low maximum FSB frequency. Although 450MHz FSB may be more than enough during Celeron D, Pentium 4 or Pentium D overclocking, it will be fairly easy to hit the maximum when working with Core 2 Duo processors. The thing is that Core 2 Duo processors work at relatively low clock speeds, but use high bus frequency. As a result, we get very low clock speed multipliers, that are 7x and 8x by the youngest Conroe models respectively. Therefore, we may need to raise the bus frequency even higher than what the BIOS Setup of ASUS P5W DH Deluxe mainboard can offer us.
However, don’t give way to despair: there is a solution to this problem. It is the well-known ClockGen utility that allows increasing the FSB frequency on ASUS P5W DH Deluxe up to 500MHz from Windows.
As for the other features that could be of interest to computer enthusiasts, we would like to mention the options for memory subsystem configuring. ASUS P5W DH Deluxe mainboard allows changing the major timings and dividers for the memory bus and FSB frequencies. Note that this platform offers a very extensive set of FSB:Mem dividers. For the FSB frequencies of 266MHz+ we get 4:3, 1:1, 4:5, 3:8, 2:3, 3:5, 1:2.
Summing up everything we have just said, we can conclude that ASUS P5W DH Deluxe is a true solution for overclockers and enthusiasts. Let’s see how good it turns out together with the new Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 in our practical test session. Of course, the most exciting part of our session will be connected with overclocking. So let’s get down to it right now.