Asus P5Q Deluxe Reviewccokeman - June 18, 2008
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The Asus P5Q Deluxe is an ATX form-factor motherboard, built around the Intel P45 and ICH10R chipsets. This motherboard features support for the latest 45nm multi-core CPUs, Asus' Express Gate, and a true 16-phase power circuit to use with the EPU-6 Engine. All this comes packaged on the specially designed Stack Cool 2 PCB, to effectively reduce the operating temperatures of critical components on the motherboard.
Apparently, Asus has heard the cries from the masses about the mounting of the PWM heatsinks. Rather than use just push-pins to retain the heatsinks, Asus has used a backplate and screws on each of these heatsinks. This reduces board warping, and provides equal contact all the way across the assembly, instead of a little contact at the ends, which could cause temperatures to rise and affect the overclocking potential of the board.
The I/O panel features many of the connectivity options that we all know so well - six USB 2.0 ports, two Gigabit LAN ports, 8-channel High Definition sound, coaxial and optical S/PDIF ports, an E-SATA port, 1394 FireWire connectivity, and last, but not least, a dual-purpose PS/2 port. Missing from this equation is a clear CMOS switch. The connectivity should be everything you need to get started, and then some.
Expansion capabilities include two PCI-E x1 slots, two PCI slots, and three PCI-E x16 2.0 slots that support CrossFireX at x8 speeds. The lower PCI-E x16 slot runs at a max of x4. Even though the x16 slots run at x8 in CrossFireX, the PCI-E 2.0 bandwidth is higher, negating any effect the x8 speeds have. Quad CrossFireX is supported! In between the bottom PCI slot and the second PCI-E slot lays the Asus Express Gate SSD. This little assembly is basically a flash drive with a small Linux distribution that allows for quick web access without going into the OS.
Along the bottom of the P5Q Deluxe PCB is where all the front panel connectivity takes place. From left to right, we see the front panel audio, optical drive sound-in, the digital audio above the drive sound-in, 1394 FireWire in red, a serial port connection, and two USB headers for a total of four additional ports and the front panel header. Between the USB and front panel connections are the dual BIOS chips. The Die Hard BIOS uses two chips so that a corrupted BIOS can easily be restored. The on-board Power and Reset switches come in handy when testing on a tech bench - no more screwdriver shuffle to get the motherboard to power up! Last, but not least, is the clear CMOS jumper.
Moving up the right side of the board, you find the IDE, SATA and floppy drive connections. The P5Q Deluxe has six SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports controlled by the ICH10R Southbridge. The two orange SATA ports are for use with the Drive Expert utility, and only function in this capacity as data-only drives.
The P5Q Deluxe support up to 16GB of DDR2 1200/1066/800/667MHz memory in a dual-channel configuration. Are 16 gigs of memory needed now, or by upgrade time in a year? Probably not, but the capability is there for those who choose to use it. Asus uses a "true" 16-phase power design with lower RDS MOSFETs and ferrite chokes to increase power efficiency into the 96% +/- range. Japanese made high-quality conductive polymer capacitors are used as part of the power package. Room looks pretty scarce around the socket, but I had no troubles installing aftermarket heatsinks or water blocks onto the board.
The heat generated by the chipsets and power management circuits has to be managed somehow, and Asus has done this with an interconnected group of heatsinks. The individual heatsinks are connected by a series of heatpipes used to transfer the heat from the chipsets to the heatsink over the PWM circuit. This heat load is then exhausted out the rear of the case.
This little chip here is at the heart of the power saving features of the P5Q Deluxe from Asus. The EPU or Energy Processing Unit works with the EPU-6 software to reduce the power consumption of the system. As energy costs continue to skyrocket, this feature cannot be overlooked. Just how well does it perform? Keep on reading.