For one thing the board looks quite cluttered with a huge array of controller chips as well as the capacitors and chokes that Asus uses for its 16-phase power supply. This would have been perfectly OK a year ago but we have been impressed by the MSI move in using its DrMOS solid state chips on motherboards such as the X58 Platinum and would like to see this trend continue across the industry.
Another quibble is the lack of a Clear CMOS button. We regard this as a desirable feature on any motherboard that is aimed at the overclocker but it especially hurts us to see that the button is missing when Asus has found room to include a floppy connector.
Our third complaint lies within the BIOS as it doesn’t contain the overclocking profiles that you get with high end models such as Rampage II Extreme. This is especially annoying as there are only three models of Core i7 processor so you would hope it is a relatively simple job for the BIOS to understand the capabilities of your processor but instead you have to enter the settings manually.
We achieved an overclocked speed of 3.98GHz on Auto settings with a standard multiplier of 24x by raising the base clock from 133MHz to 166MHz. This was quick, simple and effective but getting more from the P6T Deluxe required some work.
Voltage settings in the BIOS change colour as you get more aggressive. The numbers start blue and progress through yellow, purple and red. Provided you are careful you should have no problem using purple and modest red settings but it took us a fair amount of trial and error to raise the base clock speed from 166MHz on Auto settings to 190MHz on manual settings. The magic numbers that worked for us were CPU voltage of 1.45V, CPU PLL set to 2.1V, and QPI running at 1.5V, with the ACPI 2.0 function enabled.
We were hard-pressed to tell the difference between the performance offered by a clock speed of 4.0GHz (21x190MHz) and 4.13GHz (31x133MHz) so there would appear to be at least two ways to skin this particular cat. Then again, isn’t that always the way with overclocking.
The alternative approach is to use the Asus TurboV utility in conjunction with the external Palm OC USB device. Once you’ve installed the Asus EPU-6 Engine utility, the Asus TurboV utility and the driver for the OC Palm device you can use the OC Palm to monitor the innards of your PC and also to change settings on the fly. It’s not the easiest tool to get the hang of and we get the feeling it will end up sitting idle after a week of playing with it. However, it is useful on occasion and worked well enough.
Ultimately, it’s not the Palm OC that decides it for us, it’s the board itself. All the above complaints are relatively minor but the P6T Deluxe doesn’t realise its potential and that is unacceptable when you’re paying more than £250 for a motherboard.
The Asus P6T Deluxe delivers good performance and a decent list of features but it is hard work to overclock your Core i7 to the max and that makes us less than enthusiastic about this model.