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Reviews - Featured Reviews: Motherboards
Written by Olin Coles & David Ramsey   
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Table of Contents: Page Index
ASUS P9X79 Pro Motherboard
The Intel X79 Express Chipset
Closer Look: ASUS P9X79 Pro
ASUS P9X79 Pro Details
ASUS P9X79 Pro 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 Pro Conclusion

ASUS P9X79 Pro Motherboard Review

Manufacturer: ASUSTeK Computer Inc.
Model Number: P9X79 Pro
Product Name: Intel X79 Express Motherboard
Price as Tested: $329.99 at Newegg

Full Disclosure: The product sample used in this article has been provided by ASUS.

Designed to support second-generation Intel Core i7 Extreme Edition processors for the LGA2011 socket, Intel's Sandy Bridge Extreme X79 Express motherboards raise the standard for performance computers. ASUSTek, the largest of Intel's partners, is using this occasion to debut some impressive technology of their own: the ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard. Nearly identical to the premium P9X79 Deluxe motherboard, the Pro model also offers standard features such as SuperSpeed USB 3.0, SATA 6Gb/s, Bluetooth, and PCI-Express 3.0 compatibility. Complete with quad-channel DDR3 2200MHz system memory support, ASUS enables SSD caching and RAM-disk opportunities for high-demand tasks. A fresh new UEFI BIOS allows risk-free USB flashback, while digital power regulators now control every voltage on the system. In this article, Benchmark Reviews tests the ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard with Intel's Core i7-3960X CPU and compare differences to the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe.

Based on more than a decade's worth of experience building computer systems with ASUS components, it seemed as though the ASUS P8P67 EVO Motherboard was a crowning achievement that offered so many robust features it would be a very long time before it was outdone. ASUS needed just under a year, since they've managed to pack so many new proprietary features in the ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard, once again setting the bar impossibly high for competing manufacturers. This review will focus on these new technologies, and explain how they integrate into the technical demands of hardware enthusiasts.


Of the many new features available on the ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard, the most notable are:

  • 3-Way/Quad-GPU NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX support
  • Quad-channel DDR3 2400MHz XMP 1.3 system memory support
  • SuperSpeed USB 3.0 for both front panel and rear IO ports
  • Native and supplemental SATA 6Gb/s ports
  • PCI-Express 3.0 support on compatible devices for up to 32Gb/s
  • Digital voltage regulator units for both CPU and RAM

Beyond these platform improvements, some ASUS-specific motherboard features include:

  • DIGI+ Power Control voltage regulator modules for precision tuning and control
  • TurboV Processing Unit (TPU) advanced monitoring enables expanded overclocking
  • Energy Processing Unit (EPU) system-wide power optimizations and control
  • ASUS SSD Caching uses a SATA-based SSD or RAM-Disk with any hard drive to boost system performance
  • BT GO! onboard Bluetooth 2.0 module supports wireless data transmission
  • USB BIOS Flashback enables firmware updates without any CPU/RAM/GPU present
  • USB 3.0 Boost goes beyond SuperSpeed USB transfers by using USB Attached SCSI protocol
  • ASUS AI Suite II consolidates all system utilities into one comprehensive software package
  • MemOK! enables the system to boot when memory compatibility becomes an issue
  • ASUS UEFI (User Extensible Firmware Interface - a BIOS replacement) with Graphical User Interface

Proprietary features are what separate the many motherboard solutions from one another. Generally speaking, without these special features overall system performance would be approximately identical between Intel X79 Express motherboard platforms. Tested using the same graphics card, system memory, central processor, and storage device on motherboards of the same platform, performance differences only appear when the manufacturer has introduced additional technology or made design sacrifices that penalize pipeline performance. This article compares several Intel X79 Express motherboards against previous Intel and AMD platforms.


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