Asus' LGA1366 board, the P6T Deluxe, snagged an award when we reviewed it last year here on bit-tech. Since then, the firm has refreshed it, and then refreshed the refresh (insert Yo Dawg joke here), but we've been a little cautious about a complete re-review on bit-tech as it's not been radically overhauled.
However, when Asus suggested the newest version of the board, the P6TD Deluxe could overclock a Core i7-920 D0 to 4GHz and run it all day, everyday, we became a lot more interested. Having recently reviewed the board for Custom PC and found that it was good enough to get the magazine's top gong, the Premium Grade award, we were intrigued enough to put the claims to the test.
To start you off, we've got Mark's full review. Then we've added in the basics of our Premium Player system (including a Radeon HD 5870) from our most recent buyer's guide to create a high-end system so we can stress test the machine using Asus' settings - and we've included these settings for your reference, too.
Around this time last year there was quite a kerfuffle in the CustomPC and bit-tech labs. Someone spilled my tea, Intel had just released its LGA1366 CPUs and we were having a ball breaking all the benchmark records under the sun. The king of the motherboard hill at launch time was Asus’ P6T Deluxe, which was later superseded from its throne by the P6T Deluxe V2.
The V2 wasn't a major overhaul, but it was still a solid refresh, featuring all the overclockability and features of the original but without the silly SAS controller that added a minute to boot time for no good reason. Asus has now refreshed this refresh with the P6TD Deluxe - and true to form, it's removed something else, namely the floppy port.
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In general though, this board is very much made of the same stuff as its predecessors: the unusual black X58 chipset heatsink, accented in silver, sits between copper Southbridge and VRM heatsinks. With its black PCB, and orange and black memory sockets, the P6TD still looks like the P6Ts of old. Underneath the glossy black surface lies one of the board’s hidden new additions though. Asus has beefed up the copper layer of the PCB to use 2oz, an enhancement we first saw in Gigabyte’s Ultra Durable 3 motherboards. The theory is that the thicker copper layer will disperse heat more quickly and evenly. While this is plausible, it’s impossible to verify whether or not it does.
The P6TD Deluxe uses Asus’ "Xtreme Phase" technology, which means it now features a ‘True 16+2-phase’ design to run power to the CPU. The idea is that if the power being delivered can be spread out over more phases, the load on each phase will be reduced. Asus claims that the result is more stable power delivery and lower temperatures, both of which should help with overclocking. Finally, the board has Turbo Key and Turbo V, which provide one-button overclocking and software overclocking respectively.
Being an LGA1366 motherboard, the P6TD is based around Intel’s X58 chipset. There are three 16x PCI-Express 2.0 slots, and the board will provide two graphics cards in either CrossFire or SLI modes with the full 16 lanes of bandwidth. Adding a third graphics card will mean that the secondary and tertiary cards receive eight lanes of bandwidth each, but three-way SLI or triple-card CrossFire is feasible.
Asus has also used a single 4x PCI-Express slot and two regular PCI slots. The 4x slot may be open-ended, but cards with a connector longer than the slot itself will clash with the heatsink. We’ve included photos of the slot layout above so you can plan how much of your kit you’ll be able to squeeze in.
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Asus usually lavishes its Deluxe motherboards with more ports and headers than you could shake a fistful of cables at, and the P6TD Deluxe is no exception. The board provides 14 USB 2.0 connections, two FireWire connections, two Gigabit LAN ports and the full complement of 3.5mm analogue audio jacks for 7.1 surround sound. There are both optical and coaxial S/PDIF out ports, too. Onboard power and reset buttons on the PCB will make bench-testing and overclocking that much easier, but the board lacks a Clear CMOS button. There are six SATA 3Gbps ports, which are RAID-capable and powered by the ICH10R Southbridge. Asus hasn't replaced the expensive SAS controller with additional SATA controller, and only having six feels a little mean on a £200 motherboard.
The layout of the P6TD harbours no surprises, and is generally executed in a sensible fashion. There’s plenty of space to install oversized heatsinks such as the Thermalright Ultra-120 eXtreme 1366RT or the Titan Fenrir we use for testing, and the power headers are all where you’d want them to be as well.