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ASUS P5Q-VM Motherboard

Not the best example of the Intel G45 chipset.

June 2, 2009



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This board offers standard features for monitoring voltages and temperatures. It provides automatic speed control for two fans (you can choose one of three profiles in BIOS). Besides, Fan Xpert for Windows expands its functionality to reasonable maximum. For all simplicity of the onboard cooling system, we did not expect ASUS to restrict users from overclocking CPUs. Indeed, proprietary utilities and BIOS Setup offer a wide choice of options.



The motherboard comes with a minimal bundle (photo of the bundled components is published in the motherboard gallery). Our constant readers are already familiar with ASUS utilities, and this motherboard does not have unique features that would have required new programs. We can mention only a technology that reduces the number of active channels in the CPU voltage regulator in the idle mode (it's a part of EPU-4 Engine). As all new motherboards from this company, it features the Express Gate technology. But in this case it's not Express Gate SSD with an on-board flash drive, just a light software version that uses a hidden HDD partition to load Splashtop Linux Shell.

Features



This motherboard is based on the Intel G45 chipset (G45 Northbridge and ICH10 Southbridge). You can read about its features (except for the integrated graphics core) in our Intel P45 review. Besides, the motherboard offers the following extra functions:

  • Integrated audio based on the 8-channel HDA codec Realtek ALC1200, 7.1-channel audio, front line-in/out and S/PDIF-Out jacks.
  • Gigabit Ethernet based on Realtek RTL8111C (PCIEx1), supporting 10/100/1000 Mbps.
  • IDE based on Marvell 88SE6102 (PCIEx1) supporting 2 x ATA133 devices.

The integrated audio quality was tested in the 16 bit 44 kHz mode using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.0.5 and the Terratec DMX 6fire sound card. The total grade is very good. The digital S/PDIF output on this board supports both popular sampling rates: 44.1 kHz and 48 kHz. Along with the standard audio output options, the ASUS P5Q-VM also supports DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC: to split a stereo signal into six channels and to play a multi-channel audio signal with stereo speakers to create the surround effect.

Note that the IDE controller installed on this motherboard (modern chipsets from Intel lack the integrated solution in their Southbridge) puts up praiseworthy performance. It had absolutely no problems detecting an optical drive at startup and in Windows, allowing to boot from a CD, etc.

We are going to publish a separate article about the integrated graphics in the Intel G45 chipset. What concerns its implementation on the ASUS P5Q-VM, we can say that it has only two independent video outputs (analog D-Sub and digital DVI-D). Both of them are disabled, when a graphics card is installed. The digital video output supports HDCP for Blu-ray playback.

Performance

Testbed configurations:

  • CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E8200 (2.66 GHz, 1333MHz FSB)
  • Memory: 2 x 1GB Corsair CM2X1024-9136C5D (tested in DDR2-800 mode at 4-4-4-12-2T)
  • Graphics card: PowerColor ATI Radeon HD 3870, 512 MB
  • HDD: Seagate Barracuda 7200.7 (SATA, 7200 rpm)
  • PSU: HiPro W460GC31
  • OS: Windows XP SP2

I repeat that the integrated graphics of the G45 chipset will be reviewed in detail in a separate article, where we'll provide details on GMA X4500HD performance in modern games and hardware-assisted HD video playback. And here we'll publish only the usual set of tests to compare motherboards with similar chipsets.


Test MSI P45-8D (P45) ASUS P5Q Deluxe (P45) ASUS P5Q-VM (G45), discrete graphics ASUS P5Q-VM (G45), integrated graphics
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec 3:44 3:45 3:51 3:53
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec 3:04 3:05 3:05 3:05
FarCry (Low@640x480), fps 470 468 457 157
FarCry (Medium@800x600), fps 387 384 371 110
Doom 3 (Low@640x480), fps 254 253 247 38
Doom 3 (High@1024x768), fps 248 248 237 27

This motherboard from ASUS looks a tad inferior to the previously reviewed models with the discrete modification of the G45 chipset (including ASUS P5Q Deluxe). But the difference is not relevant enough to dictate your choice of a motherboard (or chipset). It was much more interesting to make sure that the integrated graphics does not slow down non-3D applications, as it happened in UMA times. We'll benchmark GMA X4500HD in games in a separate article, but 27 fps in the minimal 1024x768 mode in a game released in 2004… well, you know what to expect now.


The ATI Radeon HD 3870 graphics card has been provided by PowerColor.

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