The Intel G45 Express chipset is largely based on the P45
Express, which has proven to be an outstanding overclocker. This made for some
pretty high expectations for the Asus P5Q-EM motherboard. As standard, PCSTATS
dropped in a 45nm 1333MHz FSB Intel Core 2 Duo E8400 processor and a 2GB set of
Twin2X2048-8888C4DF memory. Like a fine wine, we just find overclocking
'easier' with Corsair memory in the socket.
Before overclocking began the CPU clock multiplier was
lowered to 6x, and the memory set to run at 1:1. Starting at 333 MHz FSB the
speed was increased in 15 MHz jumps.
While overclocking was easily accomplished by simply raising
the FSB from 333 to 390MHz, the system became unstable in Windows until the
G45 northbridge voltage was increased from 1.22V to 1.24V. The system then
booted to 400MHz, but any further increases became unstable. Further voltage
increases brought the northbridge to 1.26V, the vCore to 1.3V. This allowed the
P5Q-EM motherboard to overclock to 430MHz FSB and remain stable in Windows
Vista, but any increases past that wouldn't fly.
Honestly, we were hoping for better results based on the
P5Q-EM's pedigree, but considering this is a microATX motherboard it's unlikely
that those that buy it will be doing a whole lot of overclocking anyway.
BIOS Tweaking Tools
The BIOS controls how the motherboard communicates with all
the peripherals connected to it, and is a crucial component for any good well
rounded motherboard. PCSTATS is only going to highlight the tweaking features so
you'll know what to expect.
As befitting an Asus motherboard, the P5Q-EM
lets you tweak pretty much every setting on the motherboard, including every
last aspect of RAM timing.
Voltages are keyed in directly in the BIOS, and can be
raised in .01V increments. Rather annoyingly the current voltage isn't listed in
the main motherboard voltage configuration screen.
Here it's possible to toggle between the various kinds of
sound output available on the Asus P5Q-EM motherboard - over the HDMI cable or
over the optical SPDIF cable to a separate home theatre stereo
system. These options can also be disabled if a discrete sound card
Prelude to Benchmarks
The details of how the Asus P5Q-EM motherboard test system
was configured for benchmarking; the specific hardware, software drivers,
operating system and benchmark versions is indicated below. In the second column
are the general specs for the reference platforms this Intel G45 Express
chipset-based motherboard is to be compared against. Please take a moment to
look over PCSTATS test system configurations before moving on to the individual
benchmark results on the next page.
|PCSTATS Test System