ASUS P6T Review
Thanks to its integrated triple-channel DDR3 memory controller, HyperTransport-like Quick Path Interconnect, an 8MB L3 cache, and quad processing cores, Intelís Core i7 CPU is universally regarded as the worldís fastest processor. Whether youíre a gamer looking for the best processor for the next-generation of games, or an audio/video buff seeking the best for media encoding, Core i7 is considered to be the best processor available for these tasks.
In addition, unlike their most recent quad-core Kentsfield and 45-nm Yorkfield launch in October 2007, Intel offered Core i7 at a wide variety of price points on launch day. At the low end of the spectrum resides the $284 Core i7-920 clocked at 2.66GHz, while the Core i7-940 is priced at $562 and runs at 2.93GHz, and finally, for the hardware enthusiast who must have the very best, Intelís flagship CPU offering is the Core i7-965 Extreme Edition which runs at 3.2GHz with faster QPI link and an unlocked clock multiplier for improved flexibility when OCíing. This processor runs rings around Intelís fastest Yorkfield-based Penryn Core 2 Quad QX9770 processor and officially costs $400 less
As hard as Intel has tried to make their Core i7 processor itself affordable though, the costs for the rest of the platform are harder for them to control. The cheapest triple-channel DDR3 memory kits can now be found online for less than $90 on Newegg, but this is still over two times higher than high-end DDR2 kits can be found for. At launch most X58 motherboards were also priced in the stratosphere, hitting the $300 mark and up. Even X48 motherboards can be found for considerably less than that.
These prices created a stigma early on that the X58 platform was ridiculously expensive, and while that was definitely true back in November and part of December, newer X58 motherboards have hit the market with more affordable price tags. Some X58 boards can even be found for less than $200 today.
But usually with the lower-end sub-$200 X58 motherboards you have to give up a lot. These boards usually ship with just four DIMM sockets, limiting the max amount of RAM you can affordably house inside the motherboard, and they also lack SLI certification and ship with just two PCI Express graphics (PEG) slots. Sure, in some cases you can hack the motherboard to support SLI, but you canít get around the hardware limitations present on these cheaper X58 motherboards.
Fortunately for the user who doesnít want to fork over $300 or more for a high-end X58 motherboard but still wants an affordable feature-packed solution with 6 DIMMs, SLI, and 3 PEG slots there are newer motherboards hitting the market. ASUS is one of the latest manufacturers to jump into this space with their P6T motherboard. The P6T has all the features most users would need, yet it costs just $250.
While the P6T is ASUSí entry level X58 offering, itís by no means what youíd expect from an entry-level motherboard. The board comes equipped with six DIMM slots and three PEG slots, just like the latest ultra high-end X58 motherboards. The ASUS P6T is also SLI-certified and supports ATIís CrossFireX, making it multi-GPU ready for either GeForce or Radeon users. Finally, the P6T also features built-in power and reset buttons, as well and heatpipe cooling for the North Bridge and MOSFETs. These are all features you expect on high-end motherboards.
Despite its name, the P6T is also based on a completely different board design than previous ASUS X58 motherboards like P6T Deluxe and Rampage II Extreme. ASUS has incorporated so many changes to the design, the P6T almost deserves its own name; for instance we actually prefer the layout ASUS has implemented on the P6T for the PCI Express graphics slots. Because of its layout, the P6T Deluxe couldnít house three GeForce GTX 260 cards for 3-Way SLI.
Letís go over more of the P6Tís featuresÖ