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ASUS P7H57D-V EVO Motherboard

A truly top-class model with SLI, CrossFire, full-fledged USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps.

June 22, 2010



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The software suite is shared by all ASUS up-to-date motherboards. The AI Suite isn't the primary suite anymore, now there's the TurboV EVO utility that offers expanded voltage monitoring and a few overclocking settings. TurboV EVO, as well as other ASUS software has been described in the ASUS P7P55D Deluxe, P7P55D EVO review. Today's version has one new feature: the GPU Boost module that is responsible for overclocking Intel's integrated graphics. As you can see, TurboV EVO has everything you need for overclocking, and you might like it more than messing with BIOS.



The bundle cannot boast of anything original. But that can be said about most motherboard bundles in the market, except for some very exclusive models. There are 4 SATA cables (all with latches, 2 with L-shaped connectors), 1 IDE cable, a standard back-panel faceplate, Q-Connectors that simplify connecting front-panel interfaces to the motherboard, a SLI bridge, a user's guide, and a software DVD. 2 SATA cables are proudly named "SATA 6.0 Gb/s," but that's about it. They are identical to regular cables in all other respects, performance included.

Features



ASUS P7H57D-V EVO has D-Sub, DVI-D, HDMI interfaces which should be enough for most users. On the other hand, why not add DisplayPort as well? This is a top-class motherboard, isn't it? Audio can also be output by three means: RCA connectors, an optical S/PDIF (Toslink) and HDMI (HD-quality sound included). Then there's eSATA (not powered) and FireWire. On the downside, there are only 6 USB ports. You might want to save the 2 USB 3.0 ports for higher-speed devices, so this only leaves you with 4 ports for all peripherals that should be connected to the back panel. Definitely insufficient.

ASUS P7H57D-V EVO is based on the Intel H57 chipset (H57 PCH). The chipset functionality is expanded for an 8-port PCI Express 2.0 switch. Additional controllers include:

  • USB 3.0 based on NEC µPD720200 (PCIe x1, connected to the PLX PEX 8608 bridge), supporting 2 devices;
  • SATA 6Gbps based on Marvell 88SE9123 (PCIe x1, connected to the PLX PEX 8608 bridge), supporting 2 devices;
  • PCIe x1 (PCI Express 2.0, connected to the PLX PEX 8608 bridge);
  • Integrated audio based on 7.1+2-channel Realtek ALC889 HDA codec with an optical S/PDIF-Out (Toslink) on the back panel and an S/PDIF-Out on the PCB;
  • Gigabit Ethernet based on Realtek RTL8112L (PCIe x1);
  • IDE/SATA 3Gbps based on Marvell 88SE6111 (PCIe x1), supporting 2 IDE (PATA) ports and 1 SATA 3Gbps port (eSATA on the back panel);
  • FireWire based on VIA VT6308P (PCI), supporting 2 ports (1 on the back panel).


Reviewing the ASUS P7P55D-E Premium motherboard, we wrote that the problem was how you connect all those new fancy peripheral controllers. Since the chipset didn't support full-speed PCIe 2.0, a manufacturer either had to take some lanes from a graphics card or connect controllers via a switch connected to 4 chipset PCI Express lanes. ASUS P7P55D-E Premium featured a 3-port PLX PEX8613 switch, but ASUS P7H57D-V EVO has an 8-port PLX PEX8608 one. Why do they need more than 3 ports? (Actually 4 ports are used in this case.) The matter is that today's motherboard has a special PCIe x1 slot that can work as PCIe 2.0, thanks to being connected to the aforementioned switch. Of course, the switch cannot provide 500MB/s bandwidth for each of three "output" PCIe 2.0 lanes at once, as it only has 4 "input" lanes with the total bandwidth of 1GB/s (per transfer direction). However, both USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps controllers, as well as the PCIe x1 slot, can work in the competitive mode. If one of those transmitters isn't used (which is pretty possible), the other two get their honest PCIe 2.0 bandwidth. And the third can still work as a receiver. You have to agree that, given the circumstances, this approach deserves full marks.

On a side note, Marvell's IDE (PATA) controller worked flawlessly, with no issues whatsoever.

With ASUS P7H57D-V EVO the company returned to Realtek codecs, currently the most widespread in the market. And they used a top-class variant at that. The high-definition capabilities of S/PDIF-Out will hardly interest anyone these days, because the integrated graphics core, together with the chipset, offers more and in an easier way. BUt ALC889 has other advantages. The motherboard supports DTS Surround Sensation UltraPC technology, meaning it can play realistic surround sound on two speakers and can decompose regular stereo signal for 4-8 channels. Of the two most popular sampling rates, the onboard S/PDIF Out only supports 48kHz -- that can already be considered traditional for ASUS.

We tested the integrated audio solution in the 16-bit/44kHz and 16-bit/48kHz modes using RightMark Audio Analyzer 6.0 and a Terratec DMX 6fire sound card. The digital S/PDIF Out on the PCB supports both 44.1kHz and 48kHz sampling frequencies. This is basically it about the audio part, because the codec and drivers don't support technologies like Dolby/DTS.


Test 16-bit/44kHz 16-bit/48kHz
Frequency response (40Hz to 15kHz), dB: +0.03, -0.19 +0.02, -0.16
Noise level, dB(A) -88.5 -88.4
Dynamic range, dB(A) 88.5 89.0
THD, % 0.0062 0.0069
THD + noise, dB(A) -79.0 -78.6
IMD + noise, % 0.010 0.011
Channel crosstalk, dB -91.4 -91.9
IMD at 10 kHz, % 0.011 0.010
Overall grade Very Good Very Good

Conclusions

ASUS P7H57D-V EVO is definitely an original motherboard. However, while the support for the latest peripheral interfaces is nice, the simultaneous support for the integrated graphics and multiple discrete graphics cards seems to be a purely marketing feature that will hardly be useful. But at least you have the freedom to use anything from a low-end CPU and integrated graphics to a top-class quad-core CPU with two discrete graphics cards.

Obviously, the aforementioned features don't come free of charge. Actually you'll have to pay quite a lot, as ASUS P7H57D-V EVO is at least twice as expensive than an entry-level H55 motherboard. Well, at least it's not as expensive as those luxurious ASUS products that only differ from P7H57D-V EVO by having wired remote controls and 20-phase CPU VRMs. On the upside, for your money you get a full implementation of chipset and CPU features, high-quality power circuitry and cooling system, and lots of peripheral controllers. Moreover, aside from one of the best USB 3.0 and SATA 6Gbps implementations, you also get a full-fledged PCIe x1 slot working as PCI Express 2.0. As you can see, ASUS P7H57D-V EVO is kind of hard to criticize. Of course, you may also want Powered eSATA ports, a full-fledged POST controller, PCB buttons and whatnot. Well, you're the user. But we have to admit we actually liked the motherboard.

The motherboard has been provided by ASUS.


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