Asus P5K3 Premium Black Pearl Edition Reviewccokeman - December 13, 2007
When the time comes to purchase a new system, one of the things that you will purchase is a new motherboard. The dilemma you face is which one to get, and how much will it cost. AMD or Intel? Chipset? Manufacturer? Features? Oooohh, so many questions that it makes your head spin. New technology always brings along new hardware. That leads us to the subject of this article. The Asus P5K3 Premium WiFi AP "18th Anniversary Black Pearl Edition." One of the things that sets the P5K3 apart from the rest of the P5K lineup is not just the DDR3 support on this board, but the fact that Asus has built the system memory onto the board. Not only is it built-in, but it is guaranteed to overclock beyond 1500 MHz. No more picking and choosing, hoping the set of memory you choose will give you the performance you want. The P5K3 is a full featured board that provides an on-board solution for sound with the 8-channel High Definition codec. Additional features include dual gigabit LAN, built-in wireless LAN, 8 phase power, all copper zero-failure heatsink design, Crossfire support, 45nm CPU support, onboard DDR3 memory, 10 layer PCB, Stack Cool technology, and native 1333MHz memory support through Asus' special tuning.
With all of these features and more, the Asus P5K3 Premium Black Pearl looks to be the complete package for the overclocker in you. Will it rise back to the surface or end up swimming with the fishes? Let's find out!
The Asus P5K3 Premium Black Pearl Edition comes in a flashy metallic blue box resembling the shine of the deep blue sea. The front of the box identifies the board, as well as some of the features of the board, including 45nm support and RoHS compliance. The rear panel highlights more of the specifications and features, highlighting the guaranteed memory overclocking above DDR3 1500 and the 10 layer PCB. The package opens to details of the remaining feature set.
The metallic blue outer shell slides off to reveal a pedestrian sky blue inner box. The P5K3 Premium logo is prominently displayed. Once inside the package, the accessory bundle is shown to be pretty lavish. Since the "Black Pearl" editions are optimized for water cooling, Asus had the foresight to provide a way to cool the heatsinks around the CPU socket with blower-style fans that mount directly onto the heatsinks. Two of these fans are included.
By removing the upper cardboard divider, the "Black Pearl" is visible encased in the heart of the packaging. The P5K3 is held securely in its shell by the cardboard divider. With the weight of the copper heatsinks, the board needs all the protection it can get during transport.