ASUS P5K Premium Motherboard Reviewccokeman -
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This board is designed for use with a socket 775 Intel processor. The "Black Pearl" edition P5K Premium features a cooling method called Stack Cool to help dissipate the heat generated by critical components. It does this by transferring the heat through the specially designed eight layer printed circuit board. This helps these components run up to twenty degrees Celsius cooler.
One of the things that hits you when looking at the I/O section of the board is that there is no provision for a PS/2 mouse. Asus has chosen to move away from the interface for at least the mouse since the keyboard still has the option available. The good news is that there are a total of six USB ports available on the I/O panel. Additional connections available include two Gigabit LAN ports, Coax or Optical S/PDIF out, 8 channel high definition sound, one Firewire port, two E-SATA ports and last, but not least, the Wi-Fi connection. The wireless LAN is hard mounted to the board rather then being available as an add-in card.
This board features two 16x PCI-E slots, one blue for 16x operation and the other (black) that runs at 4x and can run any card from 1x to 16x with a maximum speed of 2 GB/s. These two ports are Crossfire compatible. Three standard PCI slots and two PCI-E 1x slots are also available. If dual graphics cards are used with the stock or aftermarket heatsinks, accessing the PCI slots may prove difficult. Using water cooling would be a way to eliminate that as a concern. Many of the connectivity options are scattered along the bottom and right hand side of the board. These include the front panel USB and Firewire, as well as the front panel high definition audio, an additional com port and the high definition audio header.
The front panel connections for the power switch, reset switch, power and IDE activity LEDs are on the bottom right side of the board. The main power LED for the board is shown here above the IDE connection. Six SATA ports are available. The four orange slots are for boot disk usage (Master) while the others are used for data disks (Slave). The board supports up to 8 gigabytes of memory, as well as natively supporting both DDR2 1066 and DDR2 800 memory speeds.
As you can see, room around the CPU socket area is almost nil. This could present interference problems with large air cooled heatsinks. The board uses an eight phase power design. This design runs cooler, and reduces ripple on incoming current and outgoing voltage. The heatsink system for this board is a zero failure design. Easy enough when there are no moving parts. The system uses heatpipes to transfer heat from the north and southbridge chips up to the PWM heatsink where the heat can be exhausted out the rear of the case.