"Come, Watson, come!" he cried. The game is afoot..."

This quote from the short story, The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, by noted Scottish writer Sir Arthur Conan Doyle expresses the current marketplace in regards to the Intel 975X chipset. Although motherboards based on the Intel 975x chipset have not reached the retail market yet, the game is afoot as there have been numerous product release announcements from several suppliers over the past few weeks. We recently reviewed the Asus P5WDG2-WS and Gigabyte GA-G1 975X with promising results. We have several more 975X boards on the way to us for a complete roundup in the near future.

The Asus P5WD2-E Premium is a follow-up to the Asus P5WD2 Premium, which was based on the Intel 955x chipset. Both boards are targeted towards the enthusiast market along with the Asus P5N32-SLI. Due to the enhancements made on the 975X board, we can expect to see the 955X product move down to the middle of the market for the short term and then disappear based upon the performance and pricing of the 945P product line. Asus also offers the Intel 975X based P5WDG2-WS for the workstation market.

The chart above lists the standard feature set available to manufacturers using the Intel 82975X chipset. The Intel 975X Express Chipset enables full support for multiple 2x8 PCI Express graphics cards, Intel Memory Pipeline Technology (MPT), Intel Flex Memory Technology, 8GB memory addressability, and ECC memory support.

The Intel MPT has been enhanced over the 955X iteration to offer improved pipelining to enable a higher utilization of each memory channel resulting in better performance through increased transfers between the processor and system memory. Intel Flex Memory Technology allows different memory sizes to be populated and still remain in dual-channel mode.

The new architecture also supports both asynchronous and isochronous data traffic, with dedicated internal pipelines and specialized arbitration. In addition, the 975X chipset has improved electricals with optimized ball-out for better latency compared to the 955X chipset.We noticed small but not significant improvements in our test results.

The 975X chipset offers full support for graphic based PCI Express x16 lanes that can be configured as two PCI Express x8 slots for multi-view or GPU capability. The system currently supports ATI CrossFire technology.

Asus chose to augment this feature set with additional SATA II and PATA capabilities via the Marvell 88SE6141 chipset, additional LAN capabilities via the Marvell GbE 88E8053 chipset, and Firewire 1394a support via the TI TSB43AB22A chipset.

Let's see how this board performs against other 975X offerings.

Basic Features: Asus P5WD2-E Premium
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  • Dfere - Thursday, May 18, 2006 - link

    Just bought this and I am having a problem even getting this to post. Fans boot and HD starts to boot. No video image, monitor resets and then blanks.

    I stripped out unnecesary components- still no joy.

    I have an Thermaltake XaserIII 480 with adapter and EZ 4 plug molex connected.
    SATA 1 Port using WD 80 gig HD
    Pentium D 805 w/ stock heatsink.
    Inno3d 6200 TC video in 1st PCI 16 slot.

    2X1 Gig PNY memory in Black series of slots.

    I will be trying to use only one stock of memory, and then will be taking MB out of case and trying to boot on non-conducitve surface. Anyone else got advice?
  • TechJunkie - Friday, March 3, 2006 - link

    I've had it now for almost a week and have started noticing problems. Many forums are now littered with complaints, mainly aimed at the Marvell issue.

    I mistakenly had set up my system the first time with the Intel chipset and using "Standard IDE"... system worked fine other than the issue with the Marvell. Benchmarks ran fine and 3DMark06 looked great.

    I then reinstalled the OS, this time doing the PITA F6 procedure and set up the drives on the Intel controller using RAID (but didn't actually set up a RAID, simply wanted the AHCI with the ability to in the future set up RAID).

    This morning I tried to run the 3DMark06 benchmark and while it ran to completion, the graphics screen seemed all corrupted throughout...I'm thinking power problem but it didn't have this issue last go around. Can setting up the drives differently have caused this from a power perspective or is this just one of the possibly many things wrong with this board?

    I am wondering if I should RMA it back to zipzoom and get the Intel board, which has always been my choice, except this time the extra SATAII ports provided by the Marvell persuaded me to give ASUS a shot...ironic, isn't it!

    In your opinion, based on what you know, will the issues with this board be resolved by BIOS/driver updates? It is a PITA to take my rig apart to swap out the motherboard but I will bite the bullet and get the Intel 975X board if this board can't be fixed via BIOS/driver updates.
  • medic91b2 - Monday, February 6, 2006 - link

    I've had this m/b for a few week's and I have to say that it has many bug's in it. As far as i know, no one has gotten the marvell sata driver's to work and on the intel side people have gotten many mixed result's. I gave up trying to make a raid on this board. Asus support is nowere to be found, I think if any one want's to rate it then yhey should test all of the components of the board
  • Gary Key - Saturday, February 11, 2006 - link


    I've had this m/b for a few week's and I have to say that it has many bug's in it. As far as i know, no one has gotten the marvell sata driver's to work and on the intel side people have gotten many mixed result's. I gave up trying to make a raid on this board. Asus support is nowere to be found, I think if any one want's to rate it then yhey should test all of the components of the board

    Email me and I will provide you with an updated bios that solves the USB issue and voltage spikes. I still have not had an issue with the Marvell RAID setup and two Raptors.
  • Zucker2k - Wednesday, February 15, 2006 - link

    Could you please e-mail me the updated bios? email: qommonsense@gmail.com. Thanks.
  • Joepublic2 - Wednesday, January 18, 2006 - link

    As far as the motherboard goes, it looks pretty good. NB/SB are passively cooled, the layout is good and the MOSFETs are heatsinked (I've heard of problems with the voltage regulators on cheaper intel boards failing, often because they got too hot). I like how Anandtech's motherboard articles are very critical and mention things that other sites seem to glaze over, such as if the board's voltage regulator is three, four or eight phase.


    considering this processors penchant for electricity

    should read "processor's"
  • Gary Key - Thursday, January 19, 2006 - link


    should read "processor's"

    It is corrected. I had it marked on the final edit but missed it before publication, excuse the Homer moment please. :-) It is a good board but we felt like Asus did not go all the way on it and should have considering the price point. Although the board is not in retail yet we were somewhat disappointed with the bios also. Asus is working on a new release at this time and we hope to be able to test it in the next roundup.
  • ghg - Monday, January 23, 2006 - link


    When may we expect the ANANDTECH 975x shootout ?


    Gary G.
  • Gary Key - Monday, January 23, 2006 - link


    When may we expect the ANANDTECH 975x shootout ?

    We should be finished in about three weeks. We have two additional boards in house and another two on their way. We will also have an overclocking shoot out with the Presler and Cedar Mill chips.
  • ghg - Friday, March 3, 2006 - link


    Any news about the 975x shootout ?


    Gary G.

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