Initial Thoughts

As March approaches, the question on most enthusiasts' minds is going to be whether to go with Intel's next extreme performance desktop chipset, the X48, or NVIDIA's upcoming DDR3 chipset, the 790i. While it would be premature for us to answer this question, considering that NVIDIA has yet to send out samples for review, we can't help but be pleased by the performance increases we have seen recently with the X48 chipset. When properly paired with DDR3 memory, the X48 is capable of memory read and write speeds normally reserved for the likes of AMD with their on-die controller. All that remains is to see if NVIDIA can match these speeds and stability.



The ASUS P5E3 Premium BIOS already looks good - plus the board just works. We have exercised just about every possible combination of settings and options with a variety of hardware and have come up with no more than a few small concerns worth mentioning. Lately, ASUS has consistently led the pack when it comes to BIOS preparation, testing, and qualification, and it shows here as well. Look for "premium" performance from this truly impressive board when we pit it head-to-head next month against some of the latest X38 and X48 motherboard offerings.  While we are respecting the wishes of Intel in not providing absolute benchmarks in a variety of applications, all we can say is that this board led all others overall.  With the extra time afforded by the latest launch delay, we are completing further testing with our Wolfdale processors.

To be brutally honest about the current market situation, ASUS has almost entirely swept the field lately when it comes to producing high-performance motherboards based on the X38 or X48 chipset. We hope other companies like DFI, Foxconn, Gigabyte, or abit have an ace up their sleeves and are polishing the cannonball as much as they can before next month's X48 launch. If we had to speculate, we would attribute a lot of ASUS' recent success on their decision to listen - really listen - to what the typical overclocker wants to see in a motherboard. Here's to hoping they keep it up.

While the board has not officially launched (although ready), we decided to bestow the AnandTech Editor's Gold Choice Award upon the ASUS P5E3 Premium based on our overall experiences with the board over the last several weeks of brutal testing. Although the board's exceptional overclocking abilities cannot be overlooked, the wonderful design and layout, along with the liberal use of just about every possible high-quality component imaginable, and an extensive feature set makes the P5E3 Premium one of the most "well-balanced" platforms we have ever tested. ASUS has shown us that a great overclocking system does not need to be built around a very specialized, stripped-down motherboard nor one that is full of glitz and glitter that does not serve a true purpose. It is clear to us that ASUS put forth a great deal of effort to ensure the P5E3 Premium delivered the goods without compromise.

ASUS has also worked hard to make owning a high-end X48 motherboard some what affordable. With an estimated retail price of around $299, there is a lot of value in the purchase of the P5E3 Premium for those looking at a high-end motherboard to use in the coming years. You get one of the best sounding audio solutions we have ever heard in an integrated chipset, plus built-in draft-N wireless connection with access point (AP) capabilities. Those two items alone account for at least $100 - provided you use them, naturally. We won't go so far as to call the P5E3 Premium inexpensive, because it's not. However, it provides an overall experience you just can't match with a $100 motherboard, and if you're planning to overclock a Penryn CPU you definitely don't want to skimp when it comes to motherboard quality. All you need to do now is wait for X48 boards to officially launch, which should thankfully occur within the next month (believe us, we are tired of the previews and constant retesting also).

A First Look at Overclocking Results
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  • ArthurCanada - Thursday, October 02, 2008 - link

    Indeed folks. This is the most advanced and powerful board I have ever installed in a computer. I am running Vista Ultimate 64 bit and pushing my E8500 to 4 Ghz per core, much like in the testing. I can't begin to tell you how fast this motherboard with the E8500 is.

    For overclockers ... this is the board they have been waiting for. Period!

    Arthur
    Canada
    Reply
  • drnick79 - Tuesday, April 01, 2008 - link

    Hello

    I purchased this board with 2x1GB sticks of OCZ DDR3 1800 memory to use with my e8400 CPU (which I can get stable to at least 4050mhz on other mobos). What RAM did you use for this testing? I can't even come close to running stable at the settings you have listed, nor can I score any higher than about 11,500MB/sec read and 46ns with everest benchmark, and the settings I used to achieve those values are very unstable. And 1N memory settings??? This board won't even post if I set the memory to 1N running the memory over 1333mhz.

    Just wondering if you could share the RAM brand you used along with your motherboard and RAM voltage settings to achieve such a feat.

    Thanks,
    Nick
    Reply
  • HotBBQ - Monday, February 25, 2008 - link

    "With an estimated retail price of around $299, there is a lot of value in the purchase of the P5E3 Premium for those looking at a high-end motherboard to use in the coming years."

    Where did the $299 come from? The X38 version of this board comes it at $340.
    Reply
  • fabz - Saturday, February 23, 2008 - link

    Hi

    Great review! I have been reading alot here att anandtech and generally all over the web preparing my first ever pc-build. Intel seem to be the way to go.

    But,

    have a look at the link posted below:

    http://www.hardware.info/nl-NL/productdb/bGRkapiTm...">http://www.hardware.info/nl-NL/productdb/bGRkapiTm...

    The DDR3 power circuit is different to the one here att anandtech. Still it claims to be the same board. At least so it seems to me. A couple of other sites have the same pics with different power circuits.

    Are there different versions of the P5E3 PREMIUM/WIFI-AP@N in circulation? If so, how do i tell them apart before buying?

    /Fabricio@cold, dark winter-sweden.







    Reply
  • Aivas47a - Friday, February 22, 2008 - link

    The one request I've had for Asus lately is to provide greater flexibility for fine-tuning of GTL reference voltages, as this is key especially for quad core overclocking. I'm delighted that Asus has apparently listened and responded. Reply
  • KainAT - Thursday, February 21, 2008 - link

    Hi Kris. Very nice view for the mobo.
    As you have been practicing and analizing a lot on how doe sthe GTL reference voltage works, which settings for CPU and NB on GTL did you used for 550 FSB?
    Also, which voltage should you consider to be the max for 24/7 situations? Around 1.4v?

    If we had to do an analogy, between conroe and Wolfdale, when Conroe max voltage for 24/7 was around 1.5-1.6volts, on that time, being 1.3v the stock aprox. Now, with Wolfdale, 1.125v is about the common VID, so, which would be the voltage limit for 24/7?
    Thanks on advise.

    Kain
    Reply
  • PolymerTim - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - link

    Maybe I missed the system specs. I can see the proc in the CPU-z shots, but I'm really curious what RAM you used for this test. Even though I know the MB is critical for getting this kind of performance out of the RAM, not mentioning which one you use seems to imply that you can get these results with any decent DDR3 RAM. Is that so?

    Thanks very much for the article. I very much appreciate reading a well crafted piece like this with lots of insight.
    Reply
  • Xvys - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - link

    While this looks like a nice m/b, I am not as astounded by the memory performance as the writer of the article. On my Asus P5K-D, I acheived 44.5ns latency and memory read of 11,250...with only 2/3rds of the memory bus of the tested board. I am sure I could improve on that figure a fair bit if I was optimized the speed and timings for that purpose. Reply
  • AllanLim - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - link

    Yes, the X48 looks impressive as it should, but let's not forget this is NOT a retail sample. I just think it's misleading and premature to claim "To rule them all" when we haven't even looked at other X48 mobos. Reply
  • kjboughton - Wednesday, February 20, 2008 - link

    Hi, to date we have reviewed the following Intel X48 boards: Gigabyte GA-X48T-DQ6, ASUS R.O.G. Rampage Formula, MSI X48 Platinum and ASUS P5E3 Premium (with the possibility of more to come). Thank you. Reply

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