ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution

The ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard has six PCIe x16 slots and delivers true x16 bandwidth for 3-Way SLI and CrossFireX, but does it work? Overall performance looks to rival that of the current reigning X58 chipset champs while delivering none of the features you don’t want.

Introduction

ASUS is well known throughout the world for their award winning computer components. From its inception, ASUS has strived to deliver the most stable and highest performing parts, leveraging innovative designs and technological prowess to achieve this goal. Their latest motherboard seems to very well encompass these goals.

The ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution motherboard is among ASUSآ’ latest line supporting the Intel Core i7 processor. The board uses the Intel X58 Northbridge, which supports the following technologies: Intel LGA1366 Core i7 processors, DDR3 memory operating in Triple Channel memory mode up to 1333MHz officially, and both NVIDIA SLI (both dual and tri-mode supported) and ATI CrossFireX graphics mode using matched graphics cards. ASUS designed the P6T6 WS Revolution as a feature complete solution, with a minimal number of components needed for an operational system, including an Intel LGA1366 Core i7 processor, DDR3 memory, a video card, drives, and a PSU.

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The following peripherals have been integrated in to the P6T6 WS Revolution: 6 SATA II ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and 5 capable) on the Intel ICH10R controller; 2 SATA II ports (RAID 0, 1, and 0+1 capable) on the Marvell SAS controller; 2 eSATA ports (RAID 0, 1, 0+1, and 5 capable) on the Marvell controller; 12 USB 2.0 capable ports (6 in rear panel, and 3 onboard headers supporting 2 ports each); 2 x Realtek GigE Ethernet ports in the rear panel; ADI 8-channel HD audio codec with S/PDIF optical and RCA component output ports; power button, system reset button, and 2-digit LED diagnostic display via the G.P. Diagnostic card; and a PS/2 keyboard/mouse port in the rear panel.

Main Specifications Overview:

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Detailed Mainboard Specification List:

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Packaging

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The P6T6 WS Revolution features a rendered office scene on its box front, reinforcing the fact that this board is meant for the business users rather than the home users. (That and the fact that آ“WSآ” in the name obviously stands for آ“Workstation.آ”) The various supported technologies are listed clearly along the box front edges as well. ASUS chose to include the following bundled in with the motherboard: SATA drive cables and dual header power adapters; all-in-one SATA cables, where the power and data ports are integrated in to a single mega-connector; the rear panel shield; 2-way and 3-way SLI connectors; rear panel USB 2.0 bracket; the Q-Connector modules; the G.P. Diagnostic card; and the normal complement of manuals and drivers discs. The Q-Connector modules allow for an easy interface for connecting in to the motherboard headers. You simply plug in your front panel jumpers in to the white connector and the USB 2.0 jumpers in to the blue connector block, and then plug both blocks in to the motherboard headers. The G.P. Diagnostic card plugs in to the onboard trusted module header and provides onboard power and system reset buttons, as well as a 2-digit LED diagnostic display. This display can be used to trouble shoot system initialization related issues using the manual to decipher the 2 digit code displayed when the initialization problem occurs.

Board Layout

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The P6T6 WS Revolution sports a layout and overall design that weآ’ve come to expect from an ASUS board, clean and spacious all around. The heat pipe based chipset cooling solution is laid out in an unobtrusive manner, with low profile piping and sinks used in the Southbridge area of the board so as to not interfere with video card use in any of the six onboard slots. The boardآ’s serial number is located on a white sticker just above the DIMM slot bank, while the board make and revision are silk screened to the boardآ’s surface in between the fourth and fifth PCI-Express x16 slots. The board revision used for testing was a 1.01G version. For the boardآ’s capacitors, ASUS used aluminum based solid-state capacitors throughout.

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ASUS chose to use all low profile power components around the CPU socket, in order to keep this critical area as free from obstructions as possible. The CPU cooler is held fast via the 4-hole based LGA1366 mechanism, which is itself slightly larger than the LGA775 based implementation. The boardآ’s Northbridge chipset, the Intel X58, is located to the left of the CPU socket, covered by a large heat sink. One of the heat pipe cooler termination points is located just above the CPU socket, a thin-finned cooler covering some of the more critical CPU power circuits. There is also a standalone cooler covering other power circuitry to the right of the CPU socket. In between the 2 heat sinks is the ATX12V power connector, with the 4-pin CPU_FAN header located just under the standalone heat sink.

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The P6T6 WS Revolution has a total of 6 DDR3 capable DIMM slots, allowing the board to support triple channel memory access mode. Triple Channel memory mode is active when matched DDR3 modules are placed in 3 of the like-colored slots. Just below the DIMM slots are the 24-pin ATX power connector, the PWR_FAN header, and the CPU over volt jumper. With the CPU over volt jumper enabled, the base CPU voltage can be set to a 1.90V maximum rather than the default 1.70V maximum setting.

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The boardآ’s Southbridge chipset, the Intel ICH10R, is located just under PCI-Express x16 slot 5. The chipset is covered by a large, low profile heat sink that acts as a terminating end of the onboard heat pipe cooling solution. Note that the cooler is large enough to cover the NVIDIA NF200 bridge chip as well, which is located just under PCI-Express x16 slot 3. The Intel chipset controlled ports are the blue colored SATA 2 ports just under the chipset cooler, while the black colored SATA 2 ports belong to the Marvell SAS controller. The CHA_FAN2 header, as well as the QPI and DRAM over volt jumpers are located to the lower right of the chipset cooler. With the QPI over volt jumper enabled, the QPI maximum settable voltage jumps from 1.70V to 1.90V. The DRAM over volt jumper forces the DRAM voltage setting ceiling to 2.46V from 1.90V when enabled. To the left of the SATA 2 ports are the standby power LED, the front panel header, and the CHA_FAN3 header. The standby power LED illuminates when an active power source is connected to the board. Just above the front panel header are the CMOS battery, chassis intrusion header, the CMOS reset jumper, the trusted module header, and the onboard USB 2.0 headers.

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The P6T6 WS Revolution comes with a total of 6 PCI-Express x16 video card slots only, with no slot types provided on the board. To the upper left of PCI-Express x16 slot 6 are the onboard USB 2.0 headers, the S/PDIF output header, the CD_IN header, and the front panel audio header. The CHA_FAN1 header is located to the upper right of PCI-Express x16 slot 1.

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ASUS included the following ports in the P6T6 WS Revolutionآ’s rear panel: 1 PS/2 keyboard/mouse port; 6 USB 2.0 ports; 2 Realtek GigE Ethernet ports; 2 eSATA ports; and 6 analogue and S/PDIF optical and RCA component audio output ports.

TurboV

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Included on the installation DVD is an ASUS designed overclocking applet named TurboV. From the main screen, you have the ability to manually control board voltage settings and the speed setting of the BCLK bus. Clicking on the More Setting button allows for configuration of more CPU, chipset, and DRAM related voltages. We did not have much luck overclocking the P6T6 WS Rev with TurboV beyond the 180MHz BCLK mark, which is not bad at all. At that point no combination of voltages and clocks would let us push to even 182MHz BCLK. TurboV made for an easy 180MHz inside of Windows though.