Asus P5E-VM HDMI: A microATX C2D board for gamers?

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Normally we don't delve into overclocking, but we were curious to know whether all these settings were window dressing or if you could actually accomplish a good overclock. We used an Intel Core 2 Duo E6400 (8 x 266Mhz) with CPU voltage increased to 1.40V and multiplier lowered to 6x and Corsair Dominator PC2-8500 memory. FSB frequency was raised in 5Mhz increments until it would not boot into Vista.

With all other settings at default, the system booted into Vista at 435Mhz. At 440Mhz, the screen would blink on and off indicating that it was causing problems for the integrated video. Our suspicion was confirmed when it booted up without any problems with a dedicated video card installed. After some more testing we found that the GMA X3500 was only stable up to 385Mhz — at 390Mhz ATITool began to detect artifacts. Increasing the northbridge voltage helped stabilized the GPU, but we didn't want to continue with the onboard graphics hampering us.

485Mhz: the maximum FSB overclock we could achieve with a 0.10V bump in northbridge voltage.

Using a Radeon X1950XTX instead gave us a lot more headroom — we reached a limit of 450Mhz before the board failed to boot. Increasing the northbridge voltage by 0.10V allowed us to push the board further to 485Mhz. We did not try to go any higher as we only wanted to provide a cursory evaluation of its overclocking ability without too much fiddling.

The chipset heatsinks got quite hot when overclocked so we aimed a Scythe 120mm fan at them, but it did not help us overclock any further. It is possible that our E6400 had reached its limit, though we doubt this is the case as most E6400's seem to be capable of 3.0Ghz, the CPU voltage was raised quite a bit and it had more than adequate cooling. 485Mhz is already very impressive, but it's probable that the board is capable of even higher speed with more tweaking. If you plan on overclocking while using the onboard graphics, we expect you will need to pump a lot of extra voltage into the northbridge.

AI Suite worked great until we tried to run it.

Users put off by BIOS overclocking can try it from the desktop using the Asus AI Suite utility. Unfortunately we were presented with an error message when we tried to run it in Vista.

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