At the moment gamers who
want the absolute best in performance only have one alternative to turn to,
nVIDIA. ATi just doesn't have the penetration and even now CrossFire Master
cards can be difficult to find. SLI on the other hand is readily available and
is a proven technology. It took nVIDIA its sweet time to release an Intel
version of its nForce chipsets but now that it's available it is getting a great
The nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI Intel Edition has a lot of
features and it's mighty impressive. Specs wise the nForce 590 SLI beats Intel's
P965 Express or its high end 975X chipsets and the Asus
P5N32-SLI Premium motherboard tested includes even more goodies. From
peripherals like a 7.1 channel high definition audio controller to IEEE 1394a,
an additional Serial ATA II/RAID controller and 802.11g, the Asus P5N32-SLI
Premium motherboard is fully loaded.
With a retail price of $250 CDN ($230 US, £116 GBP), the
Asus P5N32-SLI Premium motherboard is definitely pricey but you expect that when
going after a high end motherboard. The P5N32-SLI Premium supports all the same
nForce 590 SLI goodies as the AMD version except for Linkboost which is supposed
to accelerate PCI Express and HTT frequency when certain videocards are used.
It's not much of a surprise nVIDIA declined to include this feature, it doesn't
really do much. The motherboard itself was designed for enthusiast users and is
very easy to work with.
You can see the Asus P5N32-SLI Premium's blistering
performance, it came in first place in every test that we threw at it. SiSoft
Sandra memory bandwidth numbers were lower than expected, but that didn't affect
Super Pi or gaming tests like 3DMark06, FarCry or Quake 4 at all. With two
GeForce 7800GTXs running in SLI mode, the 3DMark scores jumped quite a bit.
Gaming at low resolutions did not get much of a boost, which is not
The Asus P5N32-SLI Premium is not just fast at
benchmarks, it's also very good at overclocking! The nVIDIA nForce 590 SLI has
an excellent reputation for overclocking and the Asus motherboard did not
disappoint. It was able to crack 400 MHz FSB, settling for a top speed of 410
If you're thinking about building a new gaming system,
or are looking for a motherboard that allows you to port over your SLI setup,
your wait is over. The Asus P5N32-SLI Premium motherboard is truly excellent.
It's not cheap, but it is one of the best Intel Core 2 Duo motherboards on the
market right now.
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