Uncharacteristically late for ASUS, the P55 based Maximus III Extreme was rolled out to retail a couple of weeks ago.

ASUS’s “M3E” follows in the footsteps of boards from EVGA and MSI, by teaming up nVidia’s NF200 chipset to multiplex sixteen native PCIe lanes out to provide additional front-end bandwidth for multiple graphics cards and other devices. Overall, it’s not a solution that ends up high on most enthusiast shortlists because Intel’s X58 seems to be the logical choice and offers superlative performance in almost every way over the “lesser” P55.

 

The truth is, we’re waiting on vendors to send us their second-gen X58 motherboards so that we can provide you with a round-up of which makes the best buy. As we’ve probably got a few weeks before things will be ready, a review of the M3E is the first of our time fillers, to be followed by a test of the mini-ITX ECS H55H-I next week. On top of that, Richard will be taking a look at Gigabyte's P55A-UD7 shortly, and we've also got AMD 890FX boards to squeeze in somewhere. Put simply, lots to do but so little time.

Back to what's going down today, given the limited demand for $349 P55 boards, we’ll spare you any further drivel and get down to the facts...

Summary/Overview

Our retail sample arrived pre-flashed to the public release 0606 BIOS. For the most part, overall compatibility is good barring an alarming tendency to set high DIMM voltage on Corsair Dominator GT modules if VDIMM is left on AUTO in BIOS. As part of our stock benchmark compares we use 4GB of Corsair memory at 1333MHz just as a starting point to see how boards measure up to one another. Setting primary memory timings, and the correct memory multiplier ratio and proceeding to reboot, we found the ASUS BIOS had seen fit to jam 1.82V into our favorite Corsair 2200 Dominator GT kit – eek! We’re told this has been fixed in the latest release BIOS, so just a heads-up not to leave things in the hands of AUTO settings on the shipping BIOS.

Other than that glitch, things are fairly rosy on the functionality front. Overclocking recovery is workable; at worst, we had to switch off at the PSU and reboot to encourage the board to POST in safe-mode so that we could enter BIOS and adjust settings. Peripheral compatibility is good, overclocking & stability are excellent and on-par with the very best P55 boards. S3 suspend/sleep resume works over 200 BCLK if need be, and you also get very comprehensive fan control spanning no fewer than eight headers. Bottom line is that the M3E is a well executed product, marred only by price of entry...

Performance Summary and Overclocking
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  • duploxxx - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    nice looking, nice features expensive board and really expensive knowing that the platform is dead early next year.

    what a waste
    Reply
  • miburns100 - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    Nice board, but way too expensive. Reply
  • jriofrio - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    Too expencive compare with alternatives... Reply
  • Micki57 - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    Super Nice of you to give this system to some lucky reader! Reply
  • DLeRium - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    You're promising a new X58 roundup - Yes quite honestly your first X58 roundup was a joke. It was really like a 4 mobo roundup of the motherboards that were available at launch. Tom's Hardware had like 4 roundups or something to cover the budget end and the enthusiast end.

    You also promised an in depth i7 overclocking guide. Really, there was nothing. The most you ever mentioned about overclocking was in those investigations into high vDIMM or whatever. And it's obvious most of those articles were really more like lab testing notes geared for those with systems ready to OC.... not the general reader.

    Also there was never a DDR3 roundup as you promised.

    So yes, let's hope you deliver on this one. I know there's been a gradual shift in the change where Anand likes smartphones and stuff, and don't we all, but there have been cell phone geeks from the beginning, and that's why there are places like Mobile Review, Howard Forums, GSM Arena, Phone Arena, etc. Let's stick to our core and get the cpu+motherboard+video card reviews down yeah?
    Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    Hi,

    It'll be pleasing for you to know that this X58 'round-up' is only going to be the refresh boards only. It's four boards.

    later
    Raja
    Reply
  • gasgas - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    If you’re in such a dire need of an i7 over clocking guide, you really should not be near a PC. It’s the easiest platform to overclock ever.

    Anandtech’s coverage of H55/H57 was unsurpassed in honesty. The very fact you mention Tom’s here shows the line is very fuzzy for you.

    Granted, things were promised in the past that did not get posted, but it looks like everything that’s been promised over the past 6 months has arrived. Maybe you should stick to cruising Tom’s instead of trolling here.
    Reply
  • Taft12 - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    You're awfully quick to rush to AT's defense and ignore every issue the original poster said. How does "H55/H57 was unsurpassed in honesty" refute any of his points?? Almost every AT article refers to an upcoming roundup that never appears. The quality of Toms articles are not as high as AT, but give them credit for much wider coverage of available parts than AT provides. Reply
  • Rajinder Gill - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    Hi,

    Fully respect what you guys are saying. We've been trying hard to stick with the articles we've promised this year and so far everything we've said was coming has been delivered. I shall re-iterate, don't expect anything huge on the X58 - there are four new boards we'll be comparing (they're high-end).

    later
    Raja
    Reply
  • thorgal73 - Monday, April 26, 2010 - link

    In support of Raja, I don't think any of you realise how much time goes into the review of one motherboard (they're generally the worst in my experience, followed by ram reviews), let alone four or more.
    As a reviewer, it's sometimes hard not to fall for the abundance of products different manufacturers offer you, which in the end gets you frustrated because of lack of time and lack of progress, further leading to long waiting times for the readers or even outdated products before you even get to publish the product review. In my opinion it is a virtue to stick to the stuff you can manage within a reasonable deadline.
    Reply

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