ASUS P5Q3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n
Environmentally aware, but also speedy
- Reliable performer, can be easily underclocked to save energy, plenty of connectivity (including eSATA), 802.11n Wi-Fi
- Splashtop doesn't really fit in with this board's overall image, but it's useful for getting online in a matter of seconds without booting into Windows
There's plenty of features to explore on this board, and it's also a good performer. We like its 'six engine' utility, which allows you to easily underclock the board in order to save power, yet also to put it into turbo mode and get a little extra out of your CPU.
There's much to like about the P5Q3 Deluxe, which is a motherboard that makes use of Intel's P45 chipset. It's a fully-featured board that's perfect for a mid-level or high-end system, but it runs DDR3 memory, which means you probably won't be able to use your existing RAM if you're planning an upgrade. However, DDR3 isn't too expensive these days.
The Intel P45 chipset gives this board the ability to run at front-side bus speeds up to 1600MHz, and it offers up to 32 PCI Express lanes. With three full-sized PCI Express slots (one x16 and two x8 slots) the board can be used for a CrossFire graphics configuration. The P45 is paired with Intel's I/O Controller Hub 10, which supplies the P5Q3 Deluxe with two more PCI Express x1 slots, two PCI slots, as well as six Serial ATA ports and 10 USB 2.0 ports.
We ran it with an Intel Core 2 Extreme QX6850 CPU, 2GB of DDR3 1066MHz RAM, an ATI Radeon HD 2600XT graphics card and a Western Digital VelociRaptor hard drive. Set up proved to be a little tedious using the supplied CD-ROM and 'install all' option, as the CD is bootable; this meant we had to tell the BIOS not to boot from the CD-ROM. But once we were up and running, the board ran smoothly at the native speed of our CPU (3GHz) and even handled a bit of overclocking (up to 3.4GHz).
Using WorldBench 6, the board didn't crash at all while running the CPU at 3.4GHz; this overclocking improved its scores in the Photoshop and WinZip tests by 27sec and 22sec, respectively. In the Blender 3D test, a four-threaded 3-D rendering job took 32sec to complete at 3GHz and 28sec at 3.4GHz. These were expected results. The only test it couldn't run while overclocked was 3DMark06. Nevertheless, at 3GHz, 3DMark06 returned a fast score of 5217.
To overclock the board, we upped its front-side speed and the clock multiplier. You can also select the latency (referred to as the strap setting) of the chipset, depending on the front-side bus speed you choose. These are set values of 200, 266, 333 and 400, but there is also an auto setting. In our tests, we used a front-side bus speed of 340MHz and a clock multiplier of 10, as well as a strap setting of 400.
But as well as being able to supply fast bus speeds for your system, the P5Q3 Deluxe has also got one foot firmly planted in environmental consciousness. This is by way of its eco-friendly 'six engine' utility, which can save power by running the CPU and other system components at a rate below their default.
The 'six engine' utility runs in the background; its maximum power-saving setting reduces power consumption by up to 35 per cent compared to the default 'high' setting. Of course, this also means that performance is hindered, as the CPU is underclocked by 10 per cent. We measured this performance using Blender 3D to render a four-threaded job. At the 'high' setting, this took 34sec and our system consumed a maximum of 138W. At the 'max power saver' setting, the same job took 53sec and consumed a maximum of 102W.
Funnily enough, the 'six engine' utility also has a 'turbo' setting, which overclocks the CPU automatically by five per cent. It consumed about one Watt more than the 'high' setting and ran the Blender test in 30sec. If you don't want to get your hands dirty in the BIOS, this is a nice way to get some extra performance out of your CPU.
Another interesting feature of the board is its Splashtop interface, which is a Linux-based operating system that sits on a flash chip. You don't even need a hard drive to be connected to your PC in order to boot into Splashtop. Its inclusion on a board such as this one fits in with the overall theme of saving power; it's only really useful for when you just want to boot up your PC to browse the Web.
You can connect to a network without even purchasing any extra adapters, too, as the board ships with a built-in 802.11n wireless adapter. It picked up our wireless network without much fuss, and it even has a dual-antenna setup.
Other connectivity features include two Gigabit Ethernet ports (by way of Marvell controllers), 10 USB 2.0 ports, eight SATA ports (six via the P45 chipset and two via a Silicon Image controller), an External SATA port, an ADI AD2000B audio chip, and two FireWire ports.
The chipset's heat sink didn't get very warm during our tests (not nearly as warm as the nForce 750i SLI FTW ), and its copper piping and fins looks nice. We like the upright SATA ports, although two are also at right-angles — it's the best of both worlds really — and there are also dedicated buttons on the board for power and reset functions.
All up, this board is a great piece of work by ASUS. There is plenty to tinker with, and using its 'six engine' utility you can squeeze more power out of it reliably without getting your hands dirtied by the BIOS.
Join the PC World newsletter!
Most Popular Reviews
- 1 Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- 2 Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- 3 LG G6 phone: full, in-depth review
- 4 Samsung Galaxy A5 2017 phone: Full, in-depth review
- 5 Oppo R9s Plus phone: Full, in-depth review
Latest News Articles
- EVGA's GTX 1080 FTW2 and SC2 graphics cards get updated with faster memory
- Qualcomm: First Windows 10 ARM PC coming in the fourth quarter
- User-created patch lets Kaby Lake and Ryzen PCs receive Windows 7 updates
- Samsung ready to make chips faster than the ones in Galaxy S8
- Intel scraps annual IDF event as it looks beyond PCs
PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
- Samsung Galaxy S8 phone: full, in-depth review
- Ryzen 5 vs Intel Core i5 CPU Australian review
- Mass Effect Andromeda review: One for the fans
- What's the difference between an Intel Core i3, i5 and i7?
- Laser vs. inkjet printers: which is better?
- FTSenior Front End DeveloperNSW
- FTSolution ArchitectVIC
- FTBusiness Analyst/Project ManagerQLD
- FTSenior Infrastructure Business AnalystVIC
- FTProduct Manager - FintechNSW
- FTAgile Scrum Master/TrainerNSW
- FTSenior Project Manager - Digital / MediaNSW
- FTTest AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Security Engineer (Aruba ClearPass) - Contract - SydneyNSW
- CCApplication Developer - Datastage & SQL ServerVIC
- CCDevops Consultant - 12 month contractVIC
- CCSoftware Licencing SpecialistNSW
- TPBusiness Project Manager - DigitalNSW
- TPDigital Business AnalystNSW
- CCSenior Project OfficerNSW
- FTSystem AnalystSA
- CCSenior Project CoordinatorNSW
- TPWeb DeveloperNSW
- TPIT Service ManagerNSW
- FTSenior .NET DeveloperVIC
- TPSenior Project Manager - Life InsuranceNSW
- FTData Analyst - Tableau and Power BI suiteNSW
- FTSenior C# DeveloperNSW
- FT.Net Developer - work on cutting edge BAU projectsVIC
- FTSalesforce Developer - UrgentNSW