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Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard: P35 based and utilizing DDR2 has a great BIOS and plenty of features. Is it enough to make it a great board? We find out.
Date: October 3, 2007
Manufacturer:
Written By: Scott Harness
Price:

If you was to ask any PC hardware enthusiast who some of their favourite manufacturers are, I'd lay down money that one name that would keep popping up would be . They do try to cater to everyone and for everything with their motherboards and other products. The motherboard I'm looking at here, the manual for it has 6 pages at the front describing the special features, both expected and extra. They don't go into a huge amount of detail on each, so there is probably an average of 4 or 5 features listed on each page. But there are 6 pages.

Naturally, special features alone do not a great board make (but they do help). also have a reputation for creating well performing boards, both with regard to standard performance and overclocking prowess. Quite a build up really. Which means that the has a lot to live up to. The is based on the newer Bearlake P35 chipset from Intel, but sporting a DDR2 configuration. The handles DDR3. So, a mix of old and new here, let's see what the has to offer.

Specifications

Form factor
ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.4cm)
Chipset
Intel® P35 / ICH9R with Intel® Fast Memory Access Technology
CPU
LGA775 socket for Intel® Core™2 Quad / Core™2 Extreme / Core™2 Duo / Pentium® Extreme / Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 Processors
Compatible with Intel® 05B/05A/06 processors
Support Intel® next generation 45nm multi-core CPU
FSB

1333 / 1066 / 800 MHz

BIOS
16 Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
Memory
4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR2 1066*/800 / 667 MHz, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
Dual channel memory architecture
* The chipset officially supports the memory frequency up to DDR2 800MHz. Tuned by ASUS Super Memspeed Technology, this motherboard natively supports up to DDR2 1066MHz
Please refer to or user manual for Memory QVL.
Expansion Slots
2 x PCI-E x16 (blue @ x16 mode, black @ x4 or x1 mode) supports CrossFire Technology
2 x PCI-E x1
3 x PCI
NIC
Dual Gigabit LAN controllers, featuring AI NET2
Marvell88E8056® PCI-E Gigabit LAN controllers
RealtekRTL8110SC® PCI Gigabit LAN controller
IDE/SATA
Southbridge
- 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
- Supports RAID 0, 1, 5 an 10.
JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
- 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
- 2 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
- Supports SATA RAID 0,1 and JBOD
Audio
ADI® AD1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
- Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
- ASUS Noise Filter
Ports 10 x USB 2.0 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 6ports at back panel) / IEEE-1394 /2x E-SATA / PS2 (1) / 1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical) / 1 x WiFi-AP Solo antenna jack
Misc

Asus 8 Phase power design / Asus Stack Cool 2 / Fanless (heat-pipe) Thermal solution


click to enlarge

The , as mentioned earlier is based on the P35 chipset. The P35 chipset itself replaces the 965P chipset, which is to say that while obviously feature packed, it isn't the top-of-the-shop chipset. That hasn't stopped using it to great effect here, which with so many features built in is a perfect partnership between and the P35. The first thing you will no doubt see in the diagram above is that the P35 chipset is capable of supporting DDR3 memory, although the board we have here uses regular 'old' DDR2. DDR3 is taken care of by the . Not listed in the diagram is the chipset's support of the new 1333MHz CPU's that have hit the market recently. Crossfire with ATI cards is also supported much like with the 965P boards, in that a x16 PCIe graphics slot is paired with another x16 slot in size, but x4 PCIe electrically. In the case of the , there are a few other differences from the normal features and layout we have come to expect; features and omissions/replacements, that we will examine as we come to them.

The box for the Asus P5K Deluxe WiFi-AP is of usual Asus fair, which is to say it is black and chock full of information on what you are buying. The front itself flips up to show more photo shots and graphs and descriptions of features. If you make a mistake in buying this board, then you certainly can't blame Asus. The box has a carrying handle, and the outer box slides off to reveal the inner box that holds the board and its extras.

As extras go, there is quite a bit. I've seen more, and I've seen a lot less so you get the impression here that Asus have included just enough and then a little bit more. Two Manuals, one for the motherboard itself and the other for the WiFi-AP Solo built onto the motherboard. Rather than a driver CD, Asus include a driver DVD, with drivers and software for use in both XP and Vista, and also as a boot disk. You get four SATA cables included, two of which have side connectors rather than flat vertical connectors. An IDE and Floppy cable, Molex to SATA power, an I/O Shield and a Firewire and USB 2.0 PCI slot plate. Also included is a wireless antenna for use with the on-board WiFi card and a small Q-Connector pack which allows you to convert your cases individual pins into single block plugs for use on the motherboard.

The board itself is based on a black PCB and is clearly marked on the southbridge as part of the AI Lifestyle line-up You also can't miss the passive heat pipe cooling setup that cools some of the MOSFETs, the northbridge and the southbridge. At the top of the board another heatsink, separate from the heatpipe cooling array cools more of the MOSFETs.

Tucked away neatly at the top next to the heatsinks is an 8pin AUX power header. Nice placement; it's completely out of the way and shouldn't interfere at all in standard cable management, unless you've got an Antec P180. Asus also cap off 4 pins on this connector to dictate which 4 should be used if your PSU doesn't cater for 8.

Four DIMM slots sit to the left of the socket, colour coded in Yellow and Black. This is also the location for the Floppy header and 24pin power header.

Moving down we find six SATA headers, colour coded again depending on the controller; 4 for the ICH9 and 2 for the JMicron controller, which also deals with the singular IDE header and twin rear eSATA ports.

The PCI slot area starts with two small 1x PCIe slots and then a blue coloured 16x PCIe graphics slot. Two PCI slots follow with a second 16x (4x electrically) PCIe slot in black for Crossfire setups. A third PCI slot finishes up the collection. Note that Asus have ensured there is a large 2 slot gap between two cards in Crossfire, allowing you to use cards with large coolers with ease. You can also see the CMOS battery and jumper sitting just below and behind the first 16x slot, which with a card in place could make things tricky to reset, however that may not be an issue for most as the Asus P5K Deluxe resets it's self during overclocking if an overclock fails.

Sitting above the PCI slots is the inbuilt WiFi card, with it's antenna mount exiting at rear within the IO panel. The IO panel itself is quite different. Only one PS2 port for use with keyboards; you'll need a USB mouse which you can put in one of the 2 USB ports that take up the area a mouse PS2 port would normally sit. SP/DIF Toslink and Co-ax are next, with another 2 USB 2.0 ports and the first Gigabit NIC port. Next are two eSATA headers and a Firewire port. Then, another two USB 2.0 ports and a second Gigabit NIC. Finally, six 3.5mm jack headers for analogue sound output from the Soundmax HD audio.

Usually the rear is quite uneventful but the rear of the Asus P5K Deluxe has the completion of the 8 phase power design. No heatsink or cooling plate for these MOSFETs though, but the flip side of that is that nothing should interfere with mounting heatsinks with backplates or even the motherboard itself.

Overall the board is laid out well enough, but I'm going to point out some possible problem areas anyway. The P8 connector is in a great place right at the top of the board but this won't cater for anyone who has a case with the PSU at the bottom. The SATA headers are quite in line with the graphics card slot, although the included side facing SATA cables should alleviate this somewhat. Ordinarily I'd prefer to have the switch and LED panel headers further up so as to avoid a fiddly job but Asus have this area covered with their Q-Connectors. Ok, I guess I really didn't pick out any true negatives there with the exception of the P8 location which will be dependant on your enclosure. The bottom line here is that the Asus P5k Deluxe WiFi-AP is laid out extremely well overall.

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