ASUS P5E3 Deluxe Review
It has nearly been two years since Intel first launched their high-end 975X platform, which was initially released alongside their first 65-nm CPU, the Pentium Extreme Edition 955. Since that December release, the 975X chipset has carried the load at the high end of the market admirably for Intel, but as you can imagine, the chipset is beginning to show signs of age: officially 975X lacks support for 1333MHz FSB operation and DDR2-800 (although obviously many high-end motherboards from the likes of ASUS and others support these features), and its South Bridge was equally outdated.
With recent developments like PCI Express 2.0 graphics cards and DDR3 memory, itís been time for Intel to replace 975X with something new.
Enter the X38 chipset.
X38 offers support for both PCIe 2.0 and DDR3, as well as dual 16-lane operation when running a pair of Radeon cards in CrossFire mode, 12 USB 2.0 ports, Intel Turbo Memory and many other features. We went over all the new additions in our Gigabyte X38-DQ6 review
last week. We recommend you check out that article if youíd like to see whatís new with the chipset, including CrossFire benchmarks where we tested a pair of Radeon HD 2900 XT cards running in CrossFire mode on Intelís X38 and P35 Bearlake platforms.
The focus of our article today is on the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe WiFi @P. As one of ASUSís higher-end X38 motherboards, this board is loaded with features. Letís see what makes this board so specialÖ
In addition to the standard features provided by the X38 chipset, ASUS has integrated lots of additional goodies. One of the first features youíll notice are the three PCI Express graphics slots, most X38 motherboards just ship with two slots. The primary graphics slots are colored blue and are driven by the North Bridge of the chipset. Up to 16 lanes are devoted to each slot. The third PEG slot is powered by the South Bridge of the chipset and can be used to drive additional monitors. If the x1 PCI Express slots are unused, up to four PCIe lanes are sent to this slot. If the expansion slots are in use, only one PCIe lane of connectivity is provided.
Again, this slot canít be used for 3-way CrossFire, or as far as we know it canít be used for GPU-based physics processing. Its purpose is solely for driving additional monitors, so if you happen to have an older PCIe graphics card you can house it here and power 2 more monitors.
Another feature that sets the P5E3 Deluxe from many other motherboards on the market is its built-in wireless networking. ASUS has integrated wireless on many of their high-end motherboards in the past, but these motherboards were limited to 802.11g. The P5E3 Deluxe is the first ASUS motherboard to offer support for 802.11n. A wireless networking controller from AzureWave (the AW-NA830) provides Wi-Fi functionality. Two antennas are also included in the box for use with the wireless module.
The "AP" in the P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n designation stands for access point. Like previous wireless motherboards from ASUS, the P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n can be configured to run as an access point which you can use to connect other wireless devices in your home together to form a wireless network. The motherboard supports WEP, WPA, and WPA2 for security.