Asus P5Q Deluxe Reviewccokeman -
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By inserting the driver and program disk, you are started on the path of getting the system operating as it is intended. After the Autorun menu pops up, you are presented with the installation GUI. This GUI has five separate tabs. The first is drivers - under this tab, you will install all of the drivers needed for the system. The second tab is utilities - under this section, all of the included monitoring and overclocking programs can be installed. Tools such as Asus Probe II, Asus Update, the AI Suite, and the Express Gate updating software are located here.
The Make Disk tab allows for the creation of a driver disk to use when setting up a RAID array. The Manual tab contains additional information about the Intel Matrix storage capabilities, as well as an installation guide for the P5Q Deluxe. The contact page is just that - the contact numbers for Asus are listed so that contact can be made across the globe.
The AI Suite utility contains many functions and additional utilities in an all in one wrapper. From the ability to control fan speeds with the Fan Xpert, to the ability to do some Overclocking with the AI Booster, you get a lot of functionality here - and all from within the Windows environment. The EPU-6 Engine is part of this application, and will be looked at later in this review.
Asus Update is a tool that is used within Windows to update the BIOS - a handy utility for the uninitiated into the dark arts of flashing the BIOS. The Express Gate Updater allows the Express Gate program to be updated. The Sound Max software allows for the fine tuning of the HD sound experience - there are enough features here to get the job done. Asus PC Probe II monitors some of the more critical voltages and temperatures.
The Express Gate software is a small Linux distribution that is included on the Express Gate module on the P5Q Deluxe. This small program packs a ton of functionality into one little app - web surfing, managing your photos, using an IM client, and using Skype to talk to your friends are all things you can do from within the environment. After the initial setup dialog, you are off and running - getting to the web was no problem at all, and the LAN ports were already configured so that no setup was needed.
As I said, getting to the web is not all you can do now that Asus has expanded the capabilities of the Express Gate application. The IM client is Pidgin, and requires an account to be set up as well as one with Skype. The photo manager is there for use as well; it will pull the information directly from the hard drive, as though it was just a storage drive. All in all, the Express Gate set of applications can be a big help to the enthusiast that hoses up the OS install, and needs a set of drivers or a program to complete a repair. No Windows OS needed!
After looking through the BIOS and seeing the included applications, I am anxious to see how well the P5Q Deluxe performs.