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Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard Review

Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The Asus Maximus Extreme motherboard PCSTATS is testing today is based around Intel's X38 Express and ICH9R chipsets. It comes absolutely loaded with features, almost too much in fact.
 90% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Asus Feb 05 2008   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Asus Maximus Extreme

Looking Further at the Intel X38 Express

The Intel X38 Express chipset supports Socket 775 processors running on an 800/1066/1333MHz Front Side Bus, and unofficially 1600 MHz when overclocked (though really, the new Intel X48 is better for 1600MHz FSB processors). Be it an Intel Celeron D, Pentium 4/D/XE or 45nm 'penryn' Core 2 Duo/Quad processor, the Intel X38 will and ICH9-series Southbridge chipsets will get you moving quickly.

The Southbridge chipset that is used with the Asus Maximus Extreme motherboard is the ICH9R model so it supports RAID via Intel's Matrix storage technology.

With the Intel X38 Express chipset, DDR2 memory speeds have been increased to 1066 MHz, up from 800 MHz with the previous Intel 975X Express. That increases the maximum theoretical bandwidth up to 16GB/s when running in a dual channel configuration.

The Intel X38 Express also includes full support for DDR3 memory; initial DDR3 modules are clocked at 800, 1066 and 1333 MHz speeds.

The Intel X38 Express supports a maximum of 8GB of unbuffered ECC/non ECC either DDR2 or DDR3 memory, depending on what the manufacturer chooses to implement.

This is also first Intel Northbridge chipset to come with a heatspreader. This allows the X38 Express to use a smaller heatsink and still keep the Northbridge chipset cool. Here's a quick look at how the new X38 Express stacks up to the P35 Express and 975X chipsets.

Intel X38, P35, 975, 965 Series Chipset Feature Breakdown
Intel X38 Express Express Intel 975X Express Intel P35 Express Express Intel P965 Express Intel G965 Express
CPU LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo LGA775 Core 2 Duo
Front Side Bus (FSB) 1600/1333/1066/800 MHz 1066/800 MHz 1333/1066/800 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz 1066/800/533 MHz
Intel Flex Memory Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Dual Channel Memory Support DDR2 1066/800/667
DDR3 1333(unofficial)/1066/800
DDR2 800/667/533 DDR2 1066/800/667
DDR3 1333(unofficial)/1066/800
DDR2 800/667/533 DDR2 667
Maximum Memory Capacity 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB 8GB
Integrated Graphics - - - - GMA 3000
PCI Express x16 2 2 1 1 1
PCI Express x1 4 4 6 4 4
Intel Matrix Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
SATA/IDE HDD 6/0 4/1 6/0 6/0 6/0
SATA Speed 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH9R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH7R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH9R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R) 0, 1, 5, 10 (with ICH8R)
Hard Drive NCQ Yes - Yes Yes Yes
USB 2.0 Ports 12 8 12 8 10
PCI Masters 6 6 6 6 6
Audio High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia) High Definition Audio (Azalia)

The Intel X38 Express chipset supports up to two PCI Express x16 videocards, each with a full 16 PCI Express lanes. With AMD's CrossFire technology supporting more than two videocards this could be a potential gaming monster. There are six PCI Express lanes associated with the ICH9R Southbridge and a 2GB/s I/O bus between the Northbridge and Southbridge chipsets.

The ICH9R supports six 3GB/s Serial ATA II channels (which support RAID modes 0, 1, 5 and 10) as well a 7.1 channel Intel Azalia high definition audio, 12 USB 2.0 ports in total (split between headers and the I/O slot), six PCI Express x1 lanes, and an integrated Intel Gigabit MAC that runs through the PCI Express bus specific to this chipset.

Noticeably lacking from the chipset is parallel IDE support. In this case, the manufacturer will rely upon a standalone IDE controller. Without this there would be no way to hook up a DVD-ROM or similar legacy IDE optical drive. Luckily most manufacturers are installing IDE controllers onto the motherboards so you can use older drives. If not, time for you to buy a new SATA DVD burner .

The Asus Maximus Extreme motherboard gallery is next, then it's on to overclocking.

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Contents of Article: Asus Maximus Extreme
 Pg 1.  Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 Express Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Impressive Asus Accessory Kit
 Pg 3.  Chipset Cooling Solutions
 Pg 4.  Maximus Extreme Highlights Gallery
 Pg 5.  — Looking Further at the Intel X38 Express
 Pg 6.  Overclocking the Maximus Extreme
 Pg 7.  Overclocker Friendly Asus BIOS & System Specs
 Pg 8.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SYSmark 2007 Preview
 Pg 9.  Motherboard Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 10.  Motherboard Benchmarks: PCMark Vantage
 Pg 11.  Motherboard Benchmarks: 3DMark06, Quake 4, FEAR
 Pg 12.  PCSTATS Maximum Motherboard Overclocking Chart & Conclusions

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