Almost a year ago, Intel launched the first Core 2 Duo processors, marking the beginning of the end for the highly regarded AMD Athlon 64. Since then, Core 2 Duo processors have dominated the market and are arguably one of the best Processor series in history. Today, the Core 2 architecture is evolving from its original 1066 MHz FSB to a faster 1333 MHz bus, while DDR2 is preparing to step aside and let DDR3 take over.
Together with the Core 2 Duo, the Intel P965 Express chipset was developed for mainstream and high-end motherboards. The P965 was supposed to replace the i945 chipset, and we can safely say today that this was successful. Hoping for such further success, Intel announced a P965 replacement last month. The new P35 chipset offers updated processor and memory support as well as some new key features that we'll talk about in this article.
The P35 is the first version of a new series of chipsets. Two more products will follow shortly, the G33 and the X38. Although the flagship of the new series is actually the X38 (which will replace the 975X), apart from the added PCI Express lanes, there doesn't seem to be much difference between the X38 and P35 chipsets.
It is not that surprising. In the past, we've seen little difference between Intel mainstream and high-end chipsets (think P965 versus 975X). We expect the main differences to come from the motherboard manufacturers themselves, as they may decide to add more features to their X38 boards. However, motherboards like the ASUS P5K Deluxe (WiFi-AP Edition), which is based on the P35 chipset, will be hard to beat. ASUS adopted the Intel P35 very quickly because it currently offers eight unique motherboards based on the chipset.
The ASUS P5K Deluxe is available in two versions. While the standard version we have here today supports DDR2 memory, there is also a version that only supports DDR3 memory, the so-called P5K3 Deluxe. Both motherboards have exactly the same PCB design with minor changes to the cooling design and of course different memory DIMMs. Today we're testing the P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition, which currently has a retail value of $ 250, making this product a high-end product.
Please read on as we take a closer look at what this board has to offer.