Asus P5WD2 Premium i955X mobo
The best 955X-based board on the market?
Rather unusually, this board has an eight-pin AUX power connector which so far has only been found on server and workstation boards. This shows where the future power requirements of the Pentium 4 processors are heading, but for now it's fine to use a standard four-pin AUX connector. Although this is a low-noise board by default, there are three spare fan connectors in addition to the one for the CPU cooler.
Overall, the P5WD2 Premium is an impressive board in terms of features, but how well does it perform? Using a 3.73GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition processor along with 1GB of Corsair TWIN2X1024A-5400UL memory - which Corsair claims will overclock to over 1GHz on this board - and a 6800GT graphics card the P5WD2 Premium scored no less than 240 in SYSMark 2004 which is very impressive. PCMark 2004 returned a score of 5797 and as this is the first non-Intel 955X board a quick run of 3DMark 03 and 05 at 1024 x 768 returned results of 12,499 and 5260.
So how far did the Corsair memory overclock to? Well, I didn't manage go reach beyond 1GHz but then again Asus only claims that the board is capable of reaching 800MHz memory speeds. After some tweaking I got the TWIN2X1024A-5400UL modules up to 920MHz which is still quite an amazing overclock. These modules didn't reach this kind of speed in our DDR2 memory group test so it goes to show that it's not only the memory, but also the motherboard that limits your overclocking.
At £217 the P5WD2 Premium is one of the most expensive motherboards I've come across. You get quite a lot for your money, but if you don't need the TV/WiFi card, a version without this will set you back £153, which is far easier to swallow. Please note that the TV/Wi-Fi edition of the P5WD2 Premium will not be available in the UK for the next couple of weeks while Asus UK waits for stock, but if you really do want a motherboard with all the bells and whistles, it's worth the wait.
As expensive as this board might be, you do get a lot for your money and the performance results are beyond reproach. Asus has once again proven why it is the number one motherboard manufacturer in the world with another excellent product.
|Asus P5WD2 Premium|
|Price||£217 inc. VAT|
|More info||The Asus P5WD2 Premium site|