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EPU-6 Technology

We were pretty upset about our quad-core processor overclocking ordeal. However, we were willing to rehabilitate this promising mainboard on one of the most advanced Intel chipsets at least partially.

So, what else can ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe please its potential owners with? Performance? No, the new Intel P45 chipset uses the same exact memory controller as the previous chipsets that is why the mainboards based on it performs practically as fast as the previous generation solutions. This is the reason we didn’t test ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe performance this time. Instead, we decided to focus on its power consumption, because ASUS’ enormous marketing efforts in promoting their EPU-6 technology simply cannot remain unnoticed. According to the marketing slogans, power efficiency is the main advantage of the new ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe.

In reality, it turned out that this board works not exactly the way you would expect it to. At first we were sure that the main advantage of EPU-6 is still the special EPU chip managing the processor voltage regulator circuitry. This chip switches the number of active regulator phases from 16 to 4 in order to increase its performance index and reduce the losses with low current.

However, it turned out that EPU-6 is a more overwhelming technology. Namely, its main core is not the chip, but a special program called Six Engine. Without this program EPU-6 can’t work at its full potential.

This utility adds to the hardware part of the technology, the EPU chip. It controls dynamically the bus frequency and processor multiplier. Namely, it lowers the FSB speed below the nominal value. It also sets the multiplier at the minimal value during low CPU utilization and slightly overclocks the processor during high CPU utilization. The frequency intervals can be adjusted in this case.

So, Six Engine offers to additionally tweak the default processor power-saving technologies. And it could certainly be as interesting as the EPU chip itself, however, unfortunately, in most cases it will be useless, because Six Engine doesn’t work if you overclock your processor manually.

Moreover, power-saving is not the best feature of ASUS mainboards lately. Contemporary ASUS boards disable EIST technology during overclocking, so that we ca no longer optimize the processor power consumption in idle mode. Moreover, it suddenly turned out that the overclocking potential of ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe mainboard worsens significantly once you enable C1E. Therefore, overclockers may want to disable this power-saving technology, too, otherwise the mainboard is unstable even at 450MHz FSB.

We have all witnessed recent mutual accusations of ASUS and Gigabyte marketing departments that blamed the competitor for being careless about power consumption. The reality shows that both companies actually deserve it. In fact, neither ASUS, nor Gigabyte thinks economical here: it is all nothing but big slogans. In reality, ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe can be economical only when operating in its nominal mode. During overclocking the mainboard not only prevents you from using any of its own power-saving tools, but also eliminates the effect from all processor power-saving technologies. Therefore, we are not very enthusiastic about their EPU-6 technology.

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