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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey   
Sunday, 13 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboard
The Intel X79 Express Chipset
Closer Look: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Details
ASUS UEFI BIOS
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Specifications
Motherboard Testing Methodology
AIDA64 Extreme Edition Tests
PCMark Vantage Tests
CINEBENCH R11.5 Benchmarks
CPU-Dependent 3D Gaming
PassMark PerformanceTest
Media Encoding Benchmarks
SPECviewperf 11 Tests
SPECapc Lightwave
Blender and POV-Ray
ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Conclusion

ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Conclusion

IMPORTANT: Although the rating and final score mentioned in this conclusion are made to be as objective as possible, please be advised that every author perceives these factors differently at various points in time. While we each do our best to ensure that all aspects of the product are considered, there are often times unforeseen market conditions and manufacturer changes which occur after publication that could render our rating obsolete. Please do not base any purchase solely on our conclusion, as it represents our product rating specifically for the product tested which may differ from future versions. Benchmark Reviews begins our conclusion with a short summary for each of the areas that we rate.

Without question, the Intel Core i7 3960X is the most powerful desktop processor produced to-date. Our benchmark performance tests illustrate how well this extreme edition processor compares to past CPUs from Intel and AMD, and also how well the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard performs with it installed. Quad-channel 64GB DDR3 system memory support makes a big difference over previous generations, and allows for speeds up to 2400MHz with XMP 1.3 support. Yielding forty PCI-Express lanes from the processor alone, we can also see why Sandy Bridge Extreme is best suited for the Intel X79 Express motherboard platform. If you're looking for a platform to build the best computer possible, Sandy Bridge Extreme and X79 Express are clearly the ideal way to go.

Yet while the 3960X is a significant step forward for CPU performance and efficiency, in terms of motherboard performance we must examine how well the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe compares to the previous generation and competing alternatives, as well as Intel's new DX79SI Desktop Board. More than anything else though, it will come down to the manufacturer-specific features that are value-added to the motherboard that make the difference. The term 'reference board' applies to video card products, not motherboards. Intel's own X79 Express solutions are retail products competing for shelf space, which is why we've used Intel's DX79SI flagship enthusiast desktop motherboard as a point of reference. By comparison, benchmark performance tests using identical system settings and hardware components pushed the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard ahead of Intel's DX79SI nearly every time. When overclocking, ASUS AI Suite II offered an incredibly simple process to achieve speeds beyond what the Intel motherboard could deliver, making it possible for even the most novice hardware enthusiast to reach impressive overclock results.

ASUS Dual Intelligent Processors 3 (DIP3) could very well be the reason for this. The ASUS TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) can increase performance by automatically overclocking the system as well as offloading CPU duties to allow the processor to concentrate on more demanding tasks. The ASUS Energy Processing Unit (EPU) dramatically reduces wasteful energy consumption, while using DIGI+ Power Control to fine-tune extremely precise voltage levels. Taking proprietary functionality one step further, ASUS adds a Bluetooth 3.0 HS module with IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support, giving users remote system accessibility through mobile apps such as ASUS BT Turbo as well as connecting directly to other wireless devices. Additionally, because X79 Express does not currently support Intel's Smart Response Technology it then rests on the manufacturer to deliver suitable alternatives. ASUS addresses this problem by offering their own proprietary solution: ASUS SSD Cache, which can take advantage of a small solid state drive for hybrid storage configuration or even as part of the available 64GB DDR3 capacity to create a RAM-disk partition for the same purpose. In the end, these proprietary add-on features give one manufacturer an edge over others, because without them these are all just X79 Express platforms with the same basic potential.

Despite all the great features ASUS has added onto the P9X79 series, there are still a few fundamental design flaws with the Intel X79 Express platform that keep it from greatness. When Intel's P67 Platform Controller Hub (PCH) launched with only one set of native SATA 6Gb/s ports to supplement two older sets of SATA 3Gb/s ports, it made sense on some level because this was their mainstream platform. Most people then expected the X79 enthusiast platform to remedy this and deliver SATA 6Gb/s ports throughout, because after all, SATA 6Gb/s ports are backward compatible and automatically work with older SATA 3Gb/s or 1.5 Gb/s devices. This was not the case, and on paper the only real advancement Intel offered was native SuperSpeed USB 3.0 support - something manufacturers like ASUS have been offering for nearly a year before now.

ASUS-P9X79-Deluxe-Motherboard-Angle-SATA.jpg

With regard to functionality, ASUS has loaded every one of their X79-series motherboards with proprietary add-on technology to expand the user experience. Their second-generation UEFI BIOS gives new users a friendly way of making adjustments to the internal settings and tweak their hardware like a seasoned veteran. ASUS employs digital voltage regulator units for both CPU and RAM, with 16-phase vCore power for the CPU, 4-phase VCCSA power to the processor's integrated memory controller, and 2+2 phase VDIMM power for the system DRAM. USB BIOS Flashback is an innovative means of upgrading system firmware without the need for CPU/RAM/VGA/HDD, while ASUS SSD Caching and USB 3.0 Boost with UAS protocol are two great add-on technologies not delivered standard by Intel. Future-proofing features such as PCI-Express 3.0 support with compatible devices will double bandwidth up to 32Gb/s, which could become necessary since P9X79 Deluxe supports 3-Way/Quad-GPU NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX video card sets.

Good looks help turn heads, and ASUS knows how to keep a professional appearance while throwing off a few eye-catching combinations of color and material. The ASUS P9X79 Deluxe heatsinks are suitable for thermal loads far beyond what this motherboard will produce during heated operation, and to a larger extent they become fashion accessories. This is especially true for the faux-Northbridge heat-pipe cooler that covers a tiny ICS 9DB403DGLF PCI-Express differential buffer; despite creating almost no thermal load and measuring barely larger than a USB port. It takes aggressive looks to sell to an aggressive enthusiast market, and since aluminum is relatively inexpensive this trend isn't going to change anytime soon.

At the time of launch, 14 November 2011, the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard is sold for $399.99 at Newegg. This places P9X79 Deluxe among the most expensive premium-priced motherboards available. Rating value can be subjective since one person may need every single feature offered, while another only wants a few. Compared to other X79 Express motherboards, ASUS P9X79 Deluxe delivers unmatched functionality that could be considered worth every cent of the purchase price. Of course, for those willing to go without the Bluetooth module and extra Gigabit LAN adapter, there's always the ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard to consider.

The ASUS P9X79 Deluxe motherboard has tremendous potential... to do anything and everything. This is the ASUS kitchen-sink model, with more integrated features than a multi-tasking super-user could ever hope to need. P9X79 Deluxe packs plenty of proprietary features onto Intel's X79 Express LGA2011 platform, making this the ideal motherboard for new Sandy Bridge Extreme Edition Core-i7 processors. Digital voltage regulation modules, performance-boosting micro-processors, and integrated Bluetooth 3.0 functionality are just a few of the items other manufacturers discount as unnecessary - to their own detriment. ASUS also enjoys construction quality that leads the industry, which translates into a longer product lifetime with fewer RMA's. It's my recommendation that for anyone seeking out a fully-loaded motherboard with future-proof features, the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe should be at the top of their list.

Pros:Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award

+ UEFI Graphical User Interface BIOS replacement
+ Supports 64GB quad-channel DDR3 up to 2400MHz
+ DIGI+ Power Control 16+4+2+2 power phase digital voltage
+ MemOK! Increases memory compatibility for bootup
+ Bluetooth 3.0 HS module with IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi support
+ USB BIOS Flashback enabled firmware update without CPU/RAM/VGA/HDD
+ Four total SATA 6Gb/s storage channels
+ USB 3.0 Boost introduces USB Attached SCSI (UAS) protocol
+ Six back panel SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports
+ Supports 2/3/4-card AMD CrossFireX or NVIDIA SLI sets
+ Japanese-manufactured surface-mount solid capacitors
+ Blu-Ray/HD-DVD Full-rate audio with DTS connect
+ Full-featured motherboard with maximum functionality

Cons:

- High priced enthusiast-level motherboard solution
- Does not use new highly-conductive Polymerized capacitors
- Expanded DIMM socket banks may obstruct larger heatsinks

Ratings:

  • Performance: 9.50
  • Appearance: 9.25
  • Construction: 9.50
  • Functionality: 9.25
  • Value: 7.50

Final Score: 9.0 out of 10.

Excellence Achievement: Benchmark Reviews Golden Tachometer Award.

Benchmark Reviews invites you to leave constructive feedback below, or ask questions in our Discussion Forum.


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Comments 

 
# Move aheadodiebugs 2011-11-15 05:51
New technology is based on new hardware but benchmark seems to be stuck on software based testing. The Sata 6g and PCI-E 3.0 need to be tested.
Hardware is moving forward and the SSD will be like the change from DVD to Blue-ray. Come on benchmark, you need to show Sata 3 transfer speed and the switch from PCI-E 2.0 to 3.0, how can you leave out the two main factors of motherboards ? ATTO, Furmark, really need to be shown. The difference on Sata 3 with HDD and SSD, and PCI-E 3.0 with say two video cards against these cards on PCI-e 2.0. Motherboard testing without this kind of testing leaves questions that need answers.
I can't believe ASUS put the FAILED Marvell 9128 on the new x79, they keep up this kind of work and they will be laughed out of the MOBO market.
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# RE: Move aheadOlin Coles 2011-11-15 09:22
There are no PCI-E 3.0 devices avialable, so please kindly recommend what we're supposed to be testing with.

Additionally, we have about one hundred SATA 6Gb/s tests here:
benchmarkreviews.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=3&Itemid=60
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# RE: RE: Move aheadodiebugs 2011-11-15 18:04
Thanks Olin, I have seen a few of your reviews on Sata 3 and they were great. Will take a look at what you posted to see if they are on the new x79 with the Marvell.

Wouldn't you use a SSD PCI-E ?
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# RE: RE: Move aheadodiebugs 2011-11-15 18:16
Nice link, thanks. I just wish we could see one bench list with a few new boards LGA 2011 vs Lga 1155 with Sata 3 and PCI-E and difference's between PCI-E 2.0 and 3.0 on one page. Seeing what board has the best transfers between native and the use of the Marvell. Probably asking to much.
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# RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe MotherboardDavid Ramsey 2011-11-15 07:57
We have tested SATA 6g devices in a member of other reviews. And how would you suggest we test PCI-E 3.0, seeing as how there are no PCI-E 3.0 cards available?
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# RE: RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardodiebugs 2011-11-15 18:06
Sorry, wasn't thinking cards, was thinking SSD PCI-E. I would think this would show real transfer speed, especially after the fights between MFG's about the 3.0 being fake.
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# RE: RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardodiebugs 2011-11-15 18:23
OOPS, I see how I wrote video cards, my bad. Need to get brain and hand in sync.
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# RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardron 2011-11-16 04:02
asus is a better rmanufacturer than gigabyte?

not lately from what i have seen - build quality deteriorating from what most people see in fact.Interesting to finish with an assertion about rma's - where does that figure come from?

Just another opinion on potential?
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# RE: RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardodiebugs 2011-11-16 11:20
I agree two fold. When I told Asus I wanted my money back for lying and not testing the P6X58D-E and calling it true Sata 3 when its Sata 2 using the junk Marvell 9128, they said to buy the Rampage.

Then my PSU caused a short and burnt the EATX 24pin block, I ran two 6 hr burn in tests on all hardware on the mobo, all test completed fine with no hardware problems. I wanted to have Asus check it and got an RMA. The board was 7 months old.

I received an e-mail, the problem is not under warranty and the board is unrepairable, please send 175.00 for a replacement. Gave the board to a friend and its working fine.

Asus- rotten dirty thieves, last system I will ever build for anyone with Asus. I'll have them spend an extra 200.00 for a ASRock before buying an Asus. I have been buying Gigabytes, only been a few months, but so far the boards are awesome. The only thing is slow booting due to pool data, so you have to install their software to over ride it. Excellent overclock, no problems with XMP with G-skill, Patriot, Corsair. Gigabyte also seems to keep their drivers up to date better then Asus. With building systems I wish I knew as much as Olin and David, but I get by.
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# RE: RE: RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe MotherboardOlin Coles 2011-11-16 11:26
Speaking only for myself, I've had many more failed Gigabyte motherboards than ASUS. My personal gaming system currently uses a factory-replaced Gigabyte X58 motherboard and it works fine, but have had to also replace dozens of their products for my customers. I'm also using several ASUS motherboards for test systems and client builds, and have only ever had to replace one. Alternatively, another writer on our team has had to replace a few ASUS motherboards.
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# RE: RE: RE: RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardodiebugs 2011-11-17 11:30
Sorry about the first post, bad day, and your reviews have been great. As a whole, it seems to be board specific. I have a lot of Asus boards out with no problems and a few with minor, such as Ethernet, pci-e problems.
Seems most hardware, caps, are all close in quality. I'm just hurt that Asus shunned me, buying tons of their products, Boards, LCD, Coolers, Roms, then to be told to buy another board. They recall cars, they should recall their boards with the 9128. I generally don't fan to one company like most, I don't love Intel or AMD and try and knock the other. Everything can fail. Just disappointing how Asus treated me as a customer. Your site has been a great help and I think you people have done a good job at informing the public.
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# Issues with Marvel 9128Juan Jose Guerrero III 2011-11-27 23:38
Hello odiebugs,

I would be interested in finding out what issues you have with the 9128? As it is a controller not only we have used but also competitors. This was the first qualified SATA6G controller to come to market in addition the custom firmware support on this controller is what allows us to offer SSD caching on our X79 vs not having it at all. The validation not only performed by us but those of our partners ( like system integrators has validated the solution as being one that is functional and reliable while offering additional functionality ). For a platfrom like X58 this was additionally the only way to intially provide support for SATA6G capacble SSDs when they launched ( like the C300 ). In regards to it not being a true SATA6G controller this is incorrect as it fully supports the specification yes there is a PCI-E link limitation but this does not mean it will not offer single SSD performance for a SATA6G SSD compared to SATA3G SATA port that is part of the PCH. If you have other feedback as always we are interested in hearing it.

Regards,
JJ
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# RE: Issues with Marvel 9128odiebugs 2012-01-21 03:37
Explain how three Asus boards that have the 9128, CAN NOT achieve read write benches with ATTO, crystal, hdd tune, of over 350MB, but Gigabytes with the 9182 have benches over 500MB read, write. So no matter how they are true Sata 3 form anyone who wants to say they are, in my eye's the 9128 is garbage.
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# RE: RE: Issues with Marvel 9128TechSgt 2012-02-02 17:47
Which GIGABYTE board are you talking about? I haven't seen any Marvell 9128 SATA3 controllers pull 500MB in ATTO. The native SATA3 chipset ports seem to get there just fine but not any of my 9128 GBT boards. However, I did notice that the small 4K block data scores are only a few MB/s different from the native chipset ports this time around. That's good news for more comparable desktop performance.
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# RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe MotherboardPinakio 2011-11-16 13:53
Good review, of all the X79 mobos this ASUS board looks most promising. Though the X79-Pro seems to be better option @ little over 300$, since most people don't need the extra Ethernet port and the other deluxe delicacies. Gigabyte makes some very good mobos, no doubt, but among other socket-2011 releases ASUS seems to have offered more complete feature sets. But that's my personal opinion.
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# p9x79 deluxesteemans 2012-04-12 04:53
i am verry dissapointed i have the p9x79 deluxe whit an i7-3930k and
gtx 580 video card and vertex 3 240 gb but the system runs slower then my previus pc is that normal ?????????????
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# RE: p9x79 deluxeDavid Ramsey 2012-04-12 07:51
Since you don't say what your "previus" system is, there's no way to tell.
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# Need Details and FactsTechSgt 2012-04-12 09:19
Your question is not normal. :p What performance are you talking about that lays evidence that your P9X79 build is "slower" than your previous PC? What did you have before? What kinds of benchmark scores are you getting now to compare to the previous system?
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# RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardsteemans 2012-04-12 13:05
my preveus bourd was intel DP35DP whit a i7-850 procesor and agilyty ssd 120 mb 8 gb ram and a hd 6780 grafichs card on it
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# RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe Motherboardsteemans 2012-04-13 05:42
i never took a benchmark but the system boot on the asus bourd taken ten times longer then the intel bourd
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# RE: ASUS P9X79 Deluxe MotherboardTechSgt 2012-04-13 11:01
The P35 chipset was a great step forward for Intel. The P35 platform is/was a much leaner platform in that it had much less resources, controllers and components than the P9X79. Also, keep in mind that the components in your P9X79 are probably also taking longer to initialize. There may be a couple BIOS boot screen settings that can be disabled to make it a little quicker. But your overall desktop performance should be impressively faster than your P35. - On a side note, perhaps your comment will motivate for a "quick boot" or "turbo boot" like some Z77 boards offer, except we get it in an X79B or something. :)
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# MrThose were the days 2012-04-30 05:50
Go for the B4X Intel. Plays all recent games like Super Mario and Star Gate! Have same 8MB ram PC33 and your computer goes all the way to heaven. But buy a fast cpu like P75MHZ! Not 50MHZ. You may upgrade win3 to win95 with big 50MB hard drive using 12 floppyes.
No need for water-cooling.
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