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ASUS P9X79 Pro (Intel X79) Motherboard Review

We take the time to check out another of our ASUS X79 boards that we have on hand - the P9X79 Pro which comes in a little cheaper than previous ASUS X79 boards we've looked at.
@ShawnBakerTW
Published Sun, Dec 11 2011 8:50 PM CST   |   Updated Tue, Apr 7 2020 12:30 PM CDT
Rating: 91%Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Package

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VIEW GALLERY - 46 IMAGES

Today we're checking out the ASUS P9X79 Pro which is a board we actually previewed the other week alongside the ASUS P9X79 Deluxe which we've also just looked at . The P9X79 Pro we're looking at today is the last board that we previewed prior to the launch of the X79 chipset from Intel.

Out of the ASUS boards we've looked at which include the ASUS Rampage IV Extreme, the ASUS Sabertooth X79 along with the P9X79 Deluxe we linked to just above as well, the P9X79 Pro is actually the cheapest option out of the four boards we've checked out. What does the drop in price mean, though?

We'll find out about the performance soon enough, but the first thing we need to do is look at the package and while we've already checked out the box in our original preview, we didn't get a chance to look at the contents of the box.

From there we'll move onto the board itself and cover the few areas that we couldn't cover in our original preview like the RAM side of things along with the PCIe x16 expansion slots. At that point we'll move into the BIOS and see what's going on before we finally get into the overclocking side of things which will then of course lead us onto the performance tests.

The Package

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Looking at the box, you've got a wealth of information as it opens up and reveals the motherboard and shows off some of the X79 features and exclusive ASUS ones that are on offer.

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Moving into the package of the box, we've got the manual and driver CD along with six SATA cables, extended SLI bridge, 3-Way SLI bridge, EZ Connectors and a rear I/O panel. The bundle is fairly similar to the Deluxe model; the main difference is the lack of BT 3.0 GO adapter and accompanying antenna. If you're not interested in Bluetooth, though, it's going to mean little to you.

The Motherboard

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Looking over the board, just about everything was covered in our preview. Of course, the main thing we couldn't speak about at the time was the PCIe x16 slots and what they're setup to run as.

As you can see above, we've got a total of four with both of the blue x16 slots running at x16. As for the two white ones, they come in at x8 each and if you go for a three card CrossFireX or SLI setup, you will be moving to a x16 / x8 / x8 setup which comes as no surprise.

The Motherboard Continued

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Moving to the upper half of the board, the main thing we couldn't cover was the eight DIMM slots that are of course present on the board. They're all of course DDR3 slots supporting up to 64GB of RAM up to 2400MHz DDR in speed in Quad Channel.

BIOS

Checking out the BIOS, there's nothing out of the ordinary with the EZ Mode screen being the first one we're greeted with when we get into the BIOS. If you want to do some overclocking, you're going to want to venture into Advanced Mode.

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As always, everything overclocking related is in the Ai Tweaker section and the options as always are very strong. Hopefully the Pro will offer us a strong overclock. We'll check that out in the next page, though. For now let's just move through the rest of the BIOS.

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Making our way through the rest of the BIOS, we can see all the other options that we're used to seeing, so with that done let's see what going on with our testbed today before we look at the overclocking performance of the board.

Test System Setup

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We would like to thank the following companies for supplying and supporting us with our test system hardware and equipment: Intel, ASUS, MSI, Western Digital and Corsair.

Looking above at our testbed, you'll see the setup is identical to all our recent motherboard reviews. We won't go into the motherboards that we're using as you'll be able to see all that in our graphs when we start our benchmarks on the first page.

On the overclocking side of things, we go in and mess around with our voltages and take them up to a level we're comfortable with. From there we set the BCLK strap to 125 and leave everything else alone. We hope to get into Windows and complete a MediaEspresso encode with no issue.

With that working fine, we head back into the BIOS and start to adjust the multiplier. Eventually we found ourselves sitting at 39x. We actually got into Windows at 40x which gives us a 5GHz clock; unfortunately when we tried to do an encode it fell over at about the 7% mark, so back to 39x it was.

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Before we finish off, we just head in again and see what we can do with the BCLK. We push it up just a little more and as you can see above, we end up in Windows at 4904MHz or 4.9GHz as shown in our graphs today.

This is a strong overclock and comes in at around the same level as the P9X79 Deluxe and Sabertooth X79. The only ASUS board that's been able to offer us a higher overclock is of course the much more expensive and overclocking orientated Rampage IV Extreme.

That really covers everything we need, so let's get into the benchmarking side of things and see just what kind of performance we're able to get out of the ASUS P9X79 Pro motherboard here today.

Let's get started!

CPU Benchmarks

HyperPi 0.99

Version and / or Patch Used: 0.99

Developer Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Product Homepage: www.virgilioborges.com.br

Download It Here

HyperPi is a front end for SuperPi that allows for multiple concurrent instances of SuperPi to be run on each core recognized by the system. It is very dependent on CPU to memory to HDD speed. The faster these components, the faster it is able to figure out the number Pi to the selected length.

For our testing we use the 32M run. This means that each of the four physical and four logical cores for the i7 and the four physical cores of the i5 is trying to calculate the number Pi out to 32 million decimal places. Each "run" is a comparative to ensure accuracy and any stability or performance issues in the loop mentioned above will cause errors in calculation.

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AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HyperPi performance sits back just a little bit, but we can see under AIDA64 CPU performance lines up with our other X79 boards, just as we'd hope. As always, though, when we crank up the clock speeds we see some really nice improvements when it comes to performance under both these benchmarks.

System Benchmarks

PCMark 7

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.04

Developer Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.pcmark.com

Buy It Here

PCMark 7 includes a range of tests that give different views of your system's performance. In the Advanced Edition you can choose which tests to run. The common use and hardware component tests are unavailable in the Basic Edition.

Overall system performance is measured by the PCMark test. This is the only test that returns an official PCMark score. The Lightweight test measures the system capabilities of entry-level systems and mobility platforms unable to run the PCMark test, but it does not generate a PCMark score. Common use performance is measured by the scenario tests - Entertainment, Creativity and Production - each of which results in a scenario score. Hardware component performance is measured by the hardware tests - Computation and Storage - each of which results in a hardware score.

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MediaEspresso

Version and / or Patch Used: 6.5

Developer Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/

Product Homepage: http://www.cyberlink.com/products/mediaespresso/overview_en_AU.html?fileName=overview&r=1

Buy It Here

MediaEspresso is a blazingly fast media universal converter that can transcode your videos, photos and music files and out put them to a huge range of portable devices including mobile phones, portable media players and even game consoles. With technologies like Smart Detect, Direct Sync and CyberLink's TrueTheater™ video enhancements, you can not only forget about complicated format, resolution and output settings, but your converted file will come out the other side looking better than when it went in!

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Under PCMark 7 and MediaEspresso we see strong performance again out of our Pro board with it lining up nicely against the more expensive Deluxe version. We again see that the overclock gives us a really nice boost in performance and it's really appreciated when you look at something like MediaEspresso as we see the real world benefits the overclock offers us.

USB 2.0 and 3.0 Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at USB performance, we can see that USB 3.0 performance lines up with our other boards just as we'd expect. Looking at USB 2.0 performance, though, we can see a nice boost in performance thanks to the new Turbo technology that ASUS have implemented on the latest line-up of X79 motherboards.

SSD Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.70.1400

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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HD Tune Pro

Version and / or Patch Used: 4.61

Developer Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Product Homepage: http://www.hdtune.com

Buy It Here

HD Tune Pro gives us accurate read, write and access time results and for the last couple of years has been gaining popularity amongst reviewers. It is now considered a must have application for storage device testing.

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Looking at the performance of our SSD drive, we can see in typical ASUS fashion it's very strong under both AIDA64 and HD Tune Pro.

Memory Benchmarks

AIDA64

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.00.1035BETA

Developer Homepage: http://www.aida64.com

Product Homepage: http://www.AIDA64.com

Buy It Here

Replacing Everest in our labs is AIDA64. This new testing suite is from the core development team from Lavalys and continues that tradition. The guys have thrown in better support for multithreaded CPUs as well as full 64 bit support. We use this to test memory and HDDs for now, but may find ourselves opening this up to other areas of the motherboard.

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Looking at the RAM performance, we can see it lines up with the other X79 boards just as we'd expect. As we overclock and move our RAM speed up, we can see a nice boost in overall bandwidth. If you're interested in looking at the new Quad Channel performance, I'd recommend you read our Intel X79 Quad Channel and Z68 Dual Channel Memory Performance Analysis.

Gaming Benchmarks

3DMark 11

Version and / or Patch Used: 1.0

Developer Homepage: http://www.futuremark.com

Product Homepage: http://www.3dmark.com/3dmark11/

Buy It Here

3DMark 11 is the latest version of the world's most popular benchmark. Designed to measure your PC's gaming performance 3DMark 11 makes extensive use of all the new features in DirectX 11 including tessellation, compute shaders and multi-threading. Trusted by gamers worldwide to give accurate and unbiased results, 3DMark 11 is the best way to consistently and reliably test DirectX 11 under game-like loads.

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Metro 2033

Version and / or Patch Used: Latest Steam Update

Timedemo or Level Used: Built in Benchmark

Developer Homepage: http://www.4a-games.com//

Product Homepage: http://www.thqnordic.com/

Metro 2033 is an action-oriented video game with a combination of survival horror and first-person shooter elements. The game is based on the novel Metro 2033 by Russian author Dmitry Glukhovsky. It was developed by 4A Games in Ukraine and released in March 2010 for Microsoft Windows and Xbox 360.[3] In March 2006, 4A Games announced a partnership with Glukhovsky to collaborate on the game.[4] The game was announced at the 2009 Games Convention in Leipzig;[5] a first trailer came along with the announcement.[6] A sequel was announced, currently titled Metro: Last Light.

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In typical fashion we can see that performance across the board is pretty similar between our Intel setups. We of course see a bit of a boost in performance when we look at the 3DMark 11 Performance preset; apart from that, though, there's not a big difference between all the setups.

Temperature and Power

Power Draw Tests

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Power Draw on the ASUS options tend to sit a little bit higher and we can see that compared to the MSI. Compared to the Deluxe, though, it falls a little bit lower which is always a good thing.

Core Temperature

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On the temperature side of things, we can see that both ASUS boards sit fairly close to each other with little difference separating them. The only time we see the heat jump up is when we look at the overclocked heat which is of course what you'd expect as we increase the voltage.

Final Thoughts

Performance is really strong on the ASUS P9X79 Pro and it's one of my favorite ASUS boards as it comes in at a really strong price point. At $319.99 US it's the cheapest ASUS board we've looked at out of the four we've seen now. Its overclock is also very strong and while it falls a little behind the extremely high end Rampage IV Extreme, it lines up well with the Deluxe and Sabertooth options that we've seen from ASUS.

The bundle is just a little on the lighter side, but the lack of Bluetooth connectivity isn't going to be an issue for a lot of people and it helps bring the price down a fair bit when compared to the Deluxe that comes in at $379.99 US.

The best thing about the P9X79 Pro is simply the fact that it's very ASUS in the way it's great on so many areas. The fact that doesn't come at the near $400 US price tag as seen on the Deluxe or the $469 US price tag on the Rampage IV Extreme, is what makes it really stand out as a great option for people who are on the hunt for a performance motherboard.

It's also an excellent option for people who are interested in going down the two-card SLI / CrossFire path and while three cards are of course supported, if you're going to spend that kind of money on a video card setup, you might want to look into the ROG line of boards with their massive focus on performance.

The ASUS P9X79 Pro is just a really nice option for people who want to spend around that $300 US mark. It offers a strong lineup of features like the new Turbo boost technology for USB devices and a strong overclock is on offer that compares to more expensive options like the Deluxe and the Sabertooth.

The bundle is one of the smaller options when compared to the other ASUS offerings, but it's still pretty strong and if you don't need extras like the Bluetooth expansion then it's money well saved.

The ASUS P9X79 Pro is just a typical, good quality ASUS board that ticks all the right boxes including the price one. Depending on what you want to spend, there's clearly going to be an ASUS option for you.

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Shawn takes care of all of our video card reviews. From 2009, Shawn is also taking care of our memory reviews, and from May 2011, Shawn also takes care of our CPU, chipset and motherboard reviews. As of December 2011, Shawn is based out of Taipei, Taiwan.

We openly invite the companies who provide us with review samples / who are mentioned or discussed to express their opinion. If any company representative wishes to respond, we will publish the response here. Please contact us if you wish to respond.

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