Asus Maximus Extreme and P5E3 Premium

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Like the X38-based Asus P5E3 Deluxe, the X48-based P5E3 Premium features an embedded Linux-based operating system that’s available upon initial power-up.  The feature is dubbed “Express Gate”, but it is based on the SplashTop platform technology developed by San Jose-based company DeviceVM.

      
 

When the board is first powered up, a menu is displayed that gives users the option to boot the OS, enter the system BIOS, power down the system, or launch the Express Gate applications.  If you choose to boot the OS, enter the BIOS, or recycle power, the P5E3 Premium behaves just like any other motherboard.  If you launch the Express Gate applications, however, which are comprised of a web browser and Skype at this time, the embedded Linux-based OS is launched from a ROM and seconds later it’s available for use.  We found the Express Gate technology easy to use and quite handy.  Say, for example, you need to download a driver or BIOS file and the hard drive-based OS isn’t functioning properly.  With Express Gate you can now access the web and integrated peripherals even if the system’s full blown OS has a problem and won't boot.  Very handy indeed.
  

Asus P5E3 Premium - The BIOS

It's All Right There

     
 
     

Like most of their other motherboards, the Asus P5E3 Premium is equipped with an AMI derivative that is very complete and relatively easy to navigate. From within the BIOS users have the ability to configure, enable or disable all of the board's integrated peripherals, and monitor voltages and clock speeds. The P5E3 Premium also has a very complete set of memory timing options that offer excellent flexibility for fine tuning memory performance.


The  Asus P5E3 Premium's standard BIOS menu screens don't reveal anything out of the ordinary, but they will give you a feel for the general layout and organization of the options. Each individual screen has a host of menus that tunnel deeper and deeper as the options get more complex.

Overall, other than the color scheme, they are very similar to the BIOS derivatives used on most other high-end motherboards today, but navigating through Asus' BIOS menus does take some getting used to if you've never experienced them before.


Asus P5E3 Premium - Overclocking

As Good As They Get


     
 
     
 
  

Within the "Extreme Tweaker" section of the Asus P5E3 Premium's BIOS you'll find most of the board's performance tuning options.  From within the "Extreme Tweaker" section of the BIOS, users have the ability to alter clock frequencies and voltages for virtually every major on-board component. The CPU and PCI Express frequencies can be altered in 1MHz increments, and the CPU multiplier and memory ratio can also be manipulated manually.  There are also extensive voltage options for the CPU, Memory, chipset, and PLL.  And what's interesting is that the BIOS is designed to allow users to key in voltages and frequencies directly without having to tunnel into a menu option.  We found this type of interface easy to use and hope Asus incorporates the ability to key in settings directly in all of their motherboards.

 


Overclocking Report:

We also spent some time overclocking with the Asus P5E3 Premium with excellent results.  We began by increasing our processor's core, the northbridge, and the memory voltages by .1v.  Then we dropped our processor's multiplier, lowered the memory speed, and increased the front side bus frequency until our test system was no longer stable.  In the end, we were able to increase the FSB to an impressive 528MHz with stock cooling and a couple of minor tweaks.  We should note, that Asus included a document with the P5E3 Premium that showed a front side bus overclocked speed of 668MHz using a dual-core processor and exotic LN2 cooling for the chipset and CPU.  The more adventurous among you should find this board to be an extremely competent overclocker.

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