If you have read any of my past motherboard reviews you will know that the layout of a board is a big deal with me. To me the layout of a board indicates how much thought has gone into air-flow, ease of use, and also over-all performance.
The P7H57D-V EVO follows the typical layout of most ATX motherboards. The Upper section houses the CPU, Memory and power connections while the lower half handles the peripherals. Starting with the upper half let’s take a stroll around the board and see what we can find.
The P7H57D-V EVO has some interesting design concepts that have filtered down from other boards. One of these is the way that the power regulators are laid out on the board. While the overall layout is nothing new or spectacular, it is interesting in the stepped way Asus places the capacitors, chokes and finally the heat sink covered regulators. This allows for an efficient use of space and lets you use an oversized heatsink for cooling. They have also placed two four-pin fan headers close to the socket to let you setup a Push/Pull cooler [like the Hyper 212
But the intricate design of the heatsinks hides an unfortunate annoyance. The 8-pin Aux 12V power connector is sandwiched behind the top heatsink and in the middle of a row of capacitors and chokes. This makes it difficult to connect once the board is in a case [like a mid-tower]. Unfortunately, it is not one that Asus can do much about, due to the need to place this connector close to the CPU socket.
Moving a little to the right we can see that Asus is continuing the use of their one armed RAM slots. These slots allow for much easier installation and removal of RAM even if a system build is final.
Moving down to the lower half of the P7H57D-V EVO we see again a typical ATX layout. Asus has placed three x1 PCIe slots, two x16 [mechanical x8 electrical] slots and two PCI slots. The layout of these slots actually gives you a great deal of flexibility when you think about it. Of course you cannot use them all at once and your choices of peripherals will determine what uses you can put this group of slots to. Still it is a good choice on the part of Asus even if it clutters the look of the layout.
The 90-degree tilted SATA ports are in their usual place along the right edge of the board with a single 90-dgree tilt PATA just above them. Along the bottom edge of the board are a row of USB headers and two SATA 3.0 ports. These two ports are interesting in that they depart from most other implementations of SATA 3.0 on H55 and H57 boards. Asus has chosen to use a PLX bridge chip to maintain the needed amount of PCIe lanes for proper SATA 6GB/s throughput.
For I/O Asus has used the same bank typical of H5x boards with the exception of two USB3.0 ports and the omission of a Display port. The USB 3.0 ports are controlled by the now standard NEC controller.
Asus has done a good job in the P7H57D-V EVO’s layout. It may look cluttered and confused at first but after looking closer you can see the flexibility that have been designed into the board even the fancy heat sink covering the Southbridge components has more to it than meets the eye. So while I am normally in favor of clean layouts I can see the advantages that this one has.BIOS and Overclocking
The BIOS on the Asus P7H57D-V EVO follows the typical line that Asus uses on their other motherboards. This is based off of the AMI BIOS layout. Of course the Asus Engineers have not left it alone, but have added their own twist to it. The version we used for our testing was 0401.
If you are familiar with the typical Asus BIOS layout then the images below will not surprise you.
Almost all of your overclocking options for the CPU are found in the AI Tweaker section. If you are interested in pushing the IGP then you will want to head to the advanced section and then Uncore submenu.
Our overclocking time with the Asus P7H57D-V EVO was excellent. We found a host of options for both simple overclocking and more advanced fun if you want it. For starters we wanted to try out the TurboV EVO software and see what it could do for us.
We opened up the software and dived right in. The first thing we noted is the nice layout of the UI.
From the main page you can easily find what you are looking for even if you are interested in giving the HD GMA a little boost you can do it right from the main page of the TurboV EVO software.
Asus offers you a few options for in-OS overclocking. These are self-explanatory and are Manual, Easy and Auto Tuning. Manual allows for the most complete control over your overclock with adjustments for the different voltages. In easy mode the voltages are automatically adjusted by the system to maintain the OC level. In both manual and easy mode you can overclock the GPU along with the CPU.
The Auto Tune function is exactly what it says but even there Asus offers you some control. You can choose between Fast, Extreme and even Custom auto tuning. The other options of CPU Level Up and Turbo Key are just more options for you to get the most out of your CPU.
We decided to give the Fast Tuning option a try and were pleased with the results. We were able to get a decent 4.268GHz
We also managed to get some decent clocks out of the HD GMA, although due to time constraints we did not run any tests to see if there is a benefit to this or not. We will follow on with the Core i5 661 and see just what overclocking this IGP will get you.
IGP overclocking - Stock CPU / Overclocked CPU Click to Enlarge
After our playing around with the TurboV EVO software we dived back down into the BIOS for some more serious play. We were able to hit a very nice clock indeed at 4.428GHz.
Click for CPUz Validation
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