When Intel introduced the new Socket 775 architecture in late June, two new chipsets were launched to drive the new 775 Prescotts. The 915 was targeted at mainstream users, and the more expensive 925X was to drive the enthusiast level boards. In our August roundup of all the top 925X motherboards, the Asus P5AD2 Premium received our Gold Editors Choice as top Intel motherboard. It is worth looking back at Intel 925X Roundup: Creative Engineering 101 to see the challenges faced by board makers. Most were trying to find creative ways to circumvent design limitations for the 925x/915, which limited overclocking to about 10%. Asus had the most successful solution, packaged in an incredibly full-featured board whose only drawback was the very high price compared to the competition.

Fast forward 3 months and the Enthusiast seems to be moving in large numbers to the AMD Athlon 64 platform, so Intel has souped-up the 925X/775 to stop the bleeding. We first looked at the new 925XE in Pentium 4 3.46 Extreme Edition and 925XE: 1066MHz FSB Support is Here. We found that the 1066 speed bump was not all we expected, since there was very little improvement in performance compared to the 800FSB 925X. Perhaps even more disappointing was the fact that the only 1066 CPU for some time to come was a 3.46GHz P4EE based on the Gallatin core and the 130nm process. There were no announced Prescott 90nm cores with huge L2 caches running at 1066 in the near future, and there would not be a 4.0GHz Prescott either. For the immediate future, the only official support for 1066FSB would come with the $1050 3.46EE and a to-be-announced 3.73GHz P4EE with the multiplier boosted from 13 to 14.

This is not meant to be a depressing scenario of the current state of Intel, but it would not really be meaningful to look at the new Asus P5AD2-E in isolation. Those looking for the absolute fastest performance should look at Athlon 64 solutions. However, the P5AD2 was and is a brilliant motherboard design, and the -E version should take it even further. It is reasonable to expect the P5AD2-E to take you to the highest levels of Pentium 4 performance.

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  • ceefka - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    oh yeah and of course EE, 1-2MB caches.
  • ceefka - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    #12 Makes you wonder why Asus would go through their trouble ;-) The 1394b is nice of course, but not with a CPU like that. If a boost in FSB isn't doing it for Intel, then what will?

    #8 I have been wondering about Intel's answer to AMD64 since it came out. There's no (real) answer still, but we've seen Prescott, 1066 FSB, DDR2, BTX and 3.8GHz. They're missing a key element to improve performance and it's not been in the above.
  • jimmy43 - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    This is depressing...I honestly dont see the point of any of these intel reviews, its like their purpose is to remind us occasionaly about that other company that makes cpus, what was their name? OH RIGHT! Intel
  • Aikouka - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    It's nice to see ASUS whomp on the sell-out and his fancy little board ;). But I think the Gigabyte NF4 board Anandtech showed a little bit ago may either win or tie in features. The Gigabyte board does lack an awesome sound codec, though.

    Maybe nVidia will be the saving grace of Intel like it was for AMD back in the nForce 2 days. We certainly know VIA wasn't helping to raise performance by a lot :P.
  • j@cko - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    Obviously, Intel didn't learn from it's previous lessons..
  • j@cko - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    Moving to new standard is a rather old trick from Intel. If you look back at Pentium III with PC1333 in which involved VIA's PC133 and INtel's RAMBUS...

    Now, Intel is doing it again... While cannot beat AMD with its DDR, they move on to DDR II...
  • overclockingoodness - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    It is being speculated that dual-core from Intel and AMD will bring them closer in performance, but until then Intel is in deep waters. Seriously, what was the world's largest chip maker thinking by moving to newer standards so suddenly?

    While Intel is facing some serious loses right now, I have a feeling that Intel may get the last laugh in a couple years when it is back in lead. By that time, all these technologies will mature and slowly start to spread out in the market. AMD is moving to PCIe soon so that's good news, but what about DDR2?

    Ah well, it's a constant debate that will never settle. :)
  • Bozo Galora - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    Intel has checkmated itself.
    They have no options - except dual core.
  • robbase29a - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    So Mr. Fink, did you say that you can put an intel 560 in this and it would still work, and probably work better than in a 925x motherboard? I would like to see those numbers along with some overclocking numbers too.
  • bob661 - Monday, November 29, 2004 - link

    Oh, one more thing. Let the flaming begin!!!!!

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