ASUS P8P67 WS Revolution Motherboard Review

Intel has launched the new P67 chipset for LGA1155 socket motherboards. ASUS expands its product portfolio once again with the P8P67 WS Revolution. While targeted towards workstation use as the name implies, it offers quite a bit for the enthusiast as well.

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AI Suite II

ASUS has their AI Suite II software which Turbo EVO is now integrated. I’m really only going to cover TurboV EVO in detail and briefly touch on some of the other things included in the suite. The thing has undergone some changes for inclusion with the P67 motherboards. For the most part changes are good and in general they’ve made it a little less convoluted and it performs better than it did on the Rampage III Formula. With that said it’s still clunky and I’m not a huge fan of it. As you can see there is WAY more screen captures than normal for this section of the article. This is largely because there are some features in the AI Suite II which need to be showcased.

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The application launches and shows this tiny tool bar. The tool and monitor buttons show a sub-menu each with additional options. The tool button menu shows TurboV EVO, DIGI+ VRM, EPU, and Sensor Recorder. The Monitor button menu has a Sensor and CPU frequency button. This setting controls the left most pain of the TurboV EVO window or AI Suite II window.

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The System Information button provides exactly what the name implies. You’ve got three tabs for that with their own information views. The "MB" tab shows the brand, model, and version as well as BIOS version information. The CPU tab shows pretty much a distilled version of what CPU-Z and similar programs would show you. CPU family type, name, socket, model, stepping, cache information and instruction set support. The SPD tab shows exactly what CPU-Z shows. You have memory type, speed, manufacturer, part number, serial number (if available) and timings tables.

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The "Settings" button gives you a window with three tabs of its own. The application tab essentially allows you to hide applications in the AI Suite II you don’t want to see. The "bar" tab allows you to setup an auto hide feature for it. The skin tab is identical to that found in previous versions. You can adjust the color sliders and change the color of the application skin. Once saved it will necessitate a restart of AI Suite II.

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TurboV is the section that is of the most concern. And actually the way overclocking works on P67 boards and Sandy Bridge in general. By default the application doesn’t show you a whole lot. You get a profile drop down in case you’ve created profiles you wish to load quickly. You also get BCLK frequency, CPU voltage, and DDR voltage sliders. The way Sandy Bridge overclocks at least from what I’ve seen thus far, these are really all you need aside of multiplier adjustments to reach amazing speeds. As usual there is a more settings option which shows a CPU ratio tab. I’ll come back to that in a second. The voltages range from VCCSA, VCCIO, CPU PLL to PCH voltage and CHA DATA etc. Getting back to the CPU Ratio tab. I didn’t have CPU ratio adjustment enabled in the BIOS so TurboV EVO wanted to do it for me but that required a reboot. Luckily it prompts you before rebooting. Once enabled you get access to the CPU ratio. Keep in mind that overclocking on Sandy Bridge is pretty much just through use of multiplier adjustments using the turbo feature. In the screen shot you can see my 33x multiplier. These chips can go anywhere from about 16x to 48x or more.

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Now we come to auto tuning. It’s not particularly impressive to look at. Essentially it goes through a bunch of reboots to find the correct clock speed. You get a fast and extreme button to choose how far to take it. Moving onto the Digi+ VRM controls. This pretty much works the way EPU functions have worked in the past but now we’ve got more precise control via the software. You can control both load line calibration, voltage and activate your power phases. You may also adjust the VRM frequency as well as enable or disable spread spectrum.

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The far right window pain in the Digi+ VRM utility explains the purpose of various settings as you move through them. I think the goal here was to provide a noob friendly utility and though the interface is still a bit clunky, they did succeed on that front.

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The EPU utility is more or less a dumbed down version of the Digi+ VRM utility. However this covers more than just your VRM’s. You have an Auto, High Performance and a max power saving function. You have a "Dodge" symbol in the middle of the screen with all this hippy stuff surrounding it. There is also an embossed leaf in the background on the left. Green marketing jargon is in full swing here. What is cool about this menu is the display of current CPU power draw on the bottom left. The system was idle and the CPU was only pulling 17.62 watts according to the software. That’s pretty impressive. You can also switch between EPU status and display various sensors if you wish. Moving to configurations, you get the same stuff you had around the Dodge symbol, but now you can see what each "profile" meant. Additionally you can make adjustments here if you like. Note that my CPU power consumption increased to 18.22 watts according to the display in the corner. Also you can see the sensor pain on the right showing voltages and fan speeds.