ASUS P5WD2 Premium 955X Motherboard ReviewWed, Aug 17, 2005 - 12:00 AM
Overclocking with the P5WD2 Premium and the ECT Mach II turned out to be a frustrating, but productive experience. First, the board suffers from a slight flaw with the chipset voltage. When the board is overclocked past a certain point, it will no longer warm boot, instead shutting itself down for 2-3 seconds before rebooting. This causes a serious problem for the Mach II in that its sensor sees the board shut down, and then tries to shut down the cooler. What ends up happening is that the Mach II suffers an error. By resetting the board, it blows the fuse in the Cooler……whew……big headache. I came across a solution on another forum where a user soldered a 6.3 capacitor on the board. This actually worked for me to a point, but even then, this didn’t totally remove the issue. After hitting about 250-255 on the FSB, the warm boot issue reappeared.
For all the cooling and great layout and options of this board, this flaw is really irritating. I’m positive that before releasing this board to the public ASUS did extensive testing, which leads me to ask “If this board is marketed as an extreme enthusiast board, why in the world would ASUS release it to the public with a flaw that can cause serious issues?” .Even then, the board has an incredible range of voltages which should allow a moderate overclock without any problems. Using an unlocked ES 840EE, I was able to run it completely stable at 19×200 (3.8GHz), dropping the multiplier to its stock 16x multiplier, I was able to achieve 3.84GHz completely stable, and was able to do modest testing within Windows all the way up to 4.1Ghz. Dropping the multi to 14x I was able to achieve an overclock of 3.84 stable. I think all of this can be attributed to a combination of a great board and some incredible Corsair memory.
I was a little skeptical about the P5WD2 Preium when I first purchased it. First, I was pretty unhappy with Intel after recently buying a 925XE board and finding out it didn’t support dual core! Oh well, after a few weeks playing with this board, I’m a happy camper.
CPU support aside, my second issue was the passive cooling ASUS employed on this board. Again, my concerns were unfounded. The combination of ASUS’s “Stack Cool 2″ and mosfet cooling performed superbly, even under the heaviest load and overclock, the P5WD2 Premium performed incredibly.
I did not care for the board overclocking my video card on its own. The first few times I used it for gaming, I couldn’t understand why my system froze after a few minutes. Only after downloading ATI Tool did I realize that my card was overclocked a great deal, obviously more than it could handle.
All in all, my gripes were few and far between, the P5WD2 Premium is one of the best boards I’ve ever used. Coupled with Intel’s newest dual core processors, this board performed extremely well regardless of what I threw at it.
Though I bought the leanest bundle available, ASUS includes some pretty nifty items in their more expensive packages. I had one complaint. If you are going to pay a premium price for a motherboard like this, would it kill ASUS to include some rounded cables?
Although it is well documented that the 955X chipset does not support SLI (Only Nvidia’s NF4 boards do at this time), ASUS included an SLI bridge in the bundle with the P5WD2 Premium. Is SLI compatibility in the future?
The Legit Bottom line
The P5WD2 Premium stands alone as the top dog in the 955X market. With a good bundle and the ability to buy different packages with the same board, ASUS should smooth over some of the hard feelings caused by Intel’s lack of dual core support with the 925 chipset.