Asus P5Q Pro ReviewRA1D -
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As you can see below, the P5Q Pro has a presentable layout. Asus uses a black PCB with all of its high end products and has decided to implement it here, which is an excellent move. Most of the power and data connection ports are found along the edge of the motherbard which makes it convenient for installation and cable management. You will need an 8-pin CPU power cable and a 24-pin ATX power connector from your power supply.
Although I like the black PCB, I wish Asus would limit the number of colors used on the rest of the board. It would give the product a cleaner, less hectic look and better accent the black base. And with only four fan headers, the P5Q Pro could use a couple more considering the current emphasis on cooling and the number of fans used in current enclosures.
Like most boards, the P5Q Pro comes with four memory sockets. Each slot supports 4GB sticks for a maxium of 16GB installed. NIce! The motherboard also provides DDR2-1200 capability just in case you wanted to push your system to the limit.
Although there are chipset heatsinks installed, the immediate area surrounding the CPU socket provides room for aftermarket heatsinks if desired. The capacitors found near the socket are low lying and should not present any compatibility issues.
The P5Q Pro supports ATI's CrossFireX technology and gives you two PCI Express 2.0 slots. Each slot provides 16 lanes individually but reduces down to 8 lanes in CrossFire mode. You also get three PCI-E x1 slots and two PCI slots to increase your expansion options.
Asus used vertically positioned SATA ports on this board which may cause a headache down the road. If a long, dual slot graphics card is installed in the black PCI-E slot, you will lose the use of four SATA ports. Additionally, if the expansion card used in either PCI slot is very long, then the loss of more SATA port availability may arise. I wish all motherboards used the right angled SATA ports placed along the edge, like the ones found on the high end motherboards that Asus manufactures.
On the rear panel, you will find the standard connectors needed to hook up this board with the rest of your system. You get six USB 2.0 ports along with 8-channel Audio jacks. One complaint is the lack of an eSATA port here. While there is an eSATA bracket included in the bundle, there should be one on the rear panel.