Some manufacturers build motherboards made for overclocking. Others build with stability in mind. Some concentrate on eye-candy; whereas others ditch aesthetics in favour of build quality. While one can debate who builds a faster board, it's generally agreed upon that ASUS manages to find a good balance of what is important to the enthusiast.
The ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe is one such example. On paper, it has the makings of a dream motherboard. 800FSB Pentium 4s are supported, as well as all the good stuff we've come to expect from Canterwood based motherboards. It doesn't end there though, as ASUS also throws in an Intel CSA-based Gigabit LAN controller, a Promise SATA RAID controller, and some unique overclocking options. Add to this their rep for making quality boards, and things are looking good for the P4C800-E Deluxe.
800FSB/4GB Dual-DDR400 Memory
Intel 875P Chipset
800 MHz FSB
Dual-Channel DDR400 Memory
Multi-RAID for ATA133 & Serial ATA
Intel Gigabit LAN
ASUS AI features
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The ASUS P4C800-E Deluxe
One thing that is apparent is that ASUS stuck to function over form. You won't find any fancy coloured PCB, nor will you find neon lights. At first glance, their layout seems to be standard fare, with no glaring problems off the bat. This becomes more impressive when you consider how much they packed on the PCB.
Naturally, 800FSB CPUs, AGP8x, Dual Channel DDR and (Intel's Communication Streaming Architecture) CSA are all supported thanks to the 875P MCH. There isn't any active cooling for the MCH though, as ASUS chose to stick with a regular heatsink. Based on our overclocking results, it seems to do an adequate job, though you may want to swap it with an active cooler if you'd like.
The ICH5R Southbridge takes care of business by supporting USB 2.0, SATA (RAID supported), six-channel audio, as well as legacy ATA100 and 10/100 Ethernet.
Although the board natively supports Intel RAID Technology, ASUS included a Promise PDC20378 SATA150 controller for additional IDE and RAID support. There is also an Intel Gigabit Ethernet controller, which I prefer over other Gigabit solutions I've tested. For sound, the robust Realtek ALC650 makes another appearance here. The VIA VT6307 enables full support for the 1394 features.
There are five PCI slots, which should be enough for most of you. There aren't any onboard peripherals I'd replace, other than the sound perhaps, so you have quite a bit of room for expansion.