Core 2ís rabid popularity
Without a doubt, Intelís new Core 2 processor lineup seems to be the hot CPU of the moment right now. Everywhere you look people are talking about Core 2, and while theyíve only been on the market for a few weeks now, enthusiasts are plucking up Core 2 chips faster than Intel can crank them out. Most retailers are sold out of their inventory of Core 2 CPUs, and as a result many end users are stuck on waiting lists hoping to get their CPU within 2 weeks of initially placing their order.
It has been a long, long time since a new CPU has caused a stir quite like this. Already weíve openly wondered if Intelís Core 2 Duo E6400 in particular is the Celeron 300A reincarnated. The E6400 delivers a great deal of bang for the buck at stock speeds, but really shines with a little bit of overclocking. The fact that these chips can be had for under $250 at some retailers makes it an incredible bargain.
If youíve got another $120 or so to spare, the Core 2 Duo E6600 is another price/performance champ. The CPU runs at 2.4GHz, versus the E6400ís 2.13GHz, and more importantly, ships with twice the amount of L2 cache memory, 4MB in the E6600 versus 2MB in the E6400.
But what about finding a motherboard to pair Core 2 with? Hereís where ASUS comes in. With Core 2ís rabid popularity, ASUS has a Core 2-ready motherboard for every market. If you want CrossFire compatibility, ASUS has got you covered. Looking for SLI support? ASUS has got that too. What if you want to save a little money, and go with a P965 motherboard? ASUS has a wide range of P965 options custom tailored to serve multiple markets (and price points). Basically no oneís got Core 2 covered better than ASUS. In this article weíre going to go over four Core 2-ready motherboards from ASUS that you may want to consider if you plan on upgrading to Core 2 in the near future. Letís get startedÖ
For the NVIDIA gamer ASUS currently offers two options, the nForce4 SLI X16-based P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe motherboard and the nForce 570 SLI-powered P5NSLI.
Obviously with its newer chipset, youíd naturally expect the P5NSLI to be the more attractive option for prospective Core 2 owners but it isnít that simple. The P5NSLI is ASUSí value offering for the SLI segment, and therefore doesnít have some of the bells and whistles found in ASUSí higher-end motherboards. The P5N32-SLI SE Deluxe is an older motherboard based on an older chipset, but it was designed for the high-end market from the start. In other words, it has more of the features youíd expect to find in an enthusiast-level motherboard.
For ATI enthusiasts interested in CrossFire, the choice is simple: ASUSí P5W DH Deluxe. This motherboard features Intelís 975X chipset, providing native support for ATIís CrossFire technology, and is loaded with features. Weíve been using this motherboard extensively over the past month, and have found it to be a top-notch board.
The P5W DH Deluxe is one of the most expensive Core 2 motherboards on the market right now, selling for north of $250 at many online retailers. If you want to save a little money and donít plan on upgrading to dual graphics technology like SLI or CrossFire, ASUSí P5B line would be the ideal choice. ASUS offers a wide range of motherboards on the P5B line, ranging from the cost-conscious consumer all the way up to the high-end hardware enthusiast. The P5B has also proven to be a popular choice among many overclockers, with reports of boards hitting 400MHz FSB with Core 2 CPUs. For this review weíre taking a look at ASUSí high-end P965 motherboard, the P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition.
With that quick intro of the participants out of the way, letís take a closer look at the motherboards.