As ever with Asus, it's the first company to get us final, working hardware so it's the first full review of an Intel X58 board we've put together. We have others testing, although we're happy to point out from the start that the Asus has just worked thus far. We've already featured the P6T Deluxe in a first look, as well as demonstrated its overclocking ability in our Core i7 920 at 4GHz article.
It's worth pointing out though that the P6T is designed as a feature heavy hitter so it's not exactly from the more general "Digital Life" mould we'd expect. The Republic of Gamers, Rampage II Extreme is the "gaming/extreme" end of things, so the P6T Deluxe is left with being almost workstation-esq in what it offers. While not in the strictest sense as a workstation board since it's sub the super serious WS model, the very niche SAS, or Serial Attached SCSI, support and lack of 3-way SLI affords a different take to the high end than what other companies have pursued.
However, currently the P6T seems like a popular choice for early adopters, despite its high price, but that's not unusual from X58 boards in general it seems. We've been using the P6T Deluxe on and off for quite a while, among other boards, but it's finally come a time where it had to take on our in depth testing to see if it is really worthy of being the backbone of an expensive upgrade.
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Six SATA cables
PCI bracket with one 4-pin Firewire and two USB 2.0
Two Molex and SATA to SAS+Power adapters
Optional heatpipe cooling fan
Stand-offs for an additional northbridge fan
Manual, quick start guide and driver disk
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The bundle is a good one with plenty of SATA, a minimalist combo PCI bracket and the spongy Q-shield is always a welcome and now regular addition for Asus. There are a couple stand-offs for a 40mm fan to be bolted to the northbridge, although Asus failed to include the actual fan, but we expect most people will probably want to use something bigger anyway.
While we expect the low end of single percent figures to actually use the SAS option, Asus includes adapter cables anyway for both plugs on board - great for those splashing on powerful new drives, but an extra cost for the rest of us. The manual is good, as is the driver disc which features the usual auto-installation feature that's always useful.