ASUS P5Q PRO P45 Motherboard Review

by MAC     |     July 28, 2008


The P5Q PRO is based on the recently released mid-range Intel P45/ICH10R chipset combination. The P45 is Intel's second-generation mainstream chipset to be manufactured on the 65nm process, which is a significant shrink from the 90nm X38 and X48 Express chipsets. As a result, the default northbridge voltage is set at a low 1.10V, which should lessen heat output.

Officially, the P45 does not support the newest 1600Mhz FSB specification, therefore you (un)fortunate Core 2 Extreme QX9770 owners are theoretically out of luck. However, all motherboard manufacturers (aside from ECS) are marketing their models as FSB1600 capable. Memory-wise, the chipset has been validated for operation up to DDR3-1333 and DDR2-800, but several manufacturers have certified their own models for operation up to an DDR3-2000 and DDR2-1200.

On the PCI Express front, the P45 is limited to 16 PCI-E lanes, just like its predecessor the P35. However, the P45 chipset has been updated with PCI Express 2.0 compliance, which in layman's terms means that the theoretical bandwidth available has been doubled. Now surely a lot of P35 owners are saying “Whoopty-doo! We’re not impressed…”. But wait! You haven’t heard the main difference between these two mid-range chipsets. The P45’s PCI-E 2.0 slots can work in either 1x16 or 2x8 configuration, which is unprecedented for a mainstream chipset. In effect, a proper CrossFire configuration, no more crippled x16/x4 CrossFire nonsense. It’s not a full-blown x16/x16 setup, but no one could realistically expect Intel to allow a mainstream chipset to share the technological limelight with the higher-end X48.

While the P45 chipset is the first to benefit from the new ICH10R southbridge, there is not much to report. The ICH10R is effectively identical to the previous ICH9R, both support six SATA II ports, AHCI, and Matrix RAID technology.

Now let’s see what kind of motherboard ASUS has built around this new chipset.


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