Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi Motherboard Review

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Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi Motherboard Review
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As our quest for the perfect Core 2 Duo motherboard continues, we take a look at the Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP motherboard. Stacks of great features including support for Intel Core 2 Extreme and Core 2 Duo processors, 8 phase power, fanless heat pipe and stack cool 2 design, WiFi wireless network support and innovative overclocking combine to make the MaXit team drool in hot motherboard lust.

Can this be the Asus board to topple the mighty range from Gigabyte?
Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi Motherboard Review

Price: £129.95 exc vat
Supplier: Asus
Manufacturer: Asus
Visit the Asus P5B Deluxe Owners thread down in the MaXit forums for overclocking tips, bios updates, motherboard advice and more.

Conroes here. Hip hip, hooray. Intel's Core 2 Duo series of processors is probably the most exciting thing since Jessica Biel's butt popped onto the big screen and for good reason. It's an overclockers dream. Puny little 1.86GHz processors can be transformed into mega gigahertz monstas with a quick bios adjustment and a few extra volts. No need for complex phase change cooling or exotic aftermarket heatsinks. Running a lower spec E6300 at speeds in excess of the Intel Core 2 DUO Extreme Edition X6800 processor is practically childs play, if you have the right system components of course.

Enter the Asus P5B Deluxe (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR2 WiFi Edition Motherboard. Trying saying that after a few beers.

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Click to enlarge

The features on Asus products are stuff of legends. When you see the words deluxe you are guaranteed a rich spec, superb build quality, bundles of accessories and sexy packaging. The P5B doesn't disappoint. It's clear the technical wizards at Asus R & D pull the strings and are given license to build products with no expense spared. It might cost more than your no frills budget boards but it really feels like you are getting double your moneys worth.

Lots of package might be good for the girls but us guys want the performance too. Just aswell Asus are committed to making the fastest most overclockable Conroe motherboard on the planet. Not content on breaking the 500Mhz FSB barrier, their development team continue to tweak, test, push and torture the P5B, releasing bios updates to push performance to the edge. Your not just buying a motherboard from Asus, your buying the whole development team who are with you every step of the way on your quest for the dream machine.

P5B Specifications

  • LGA775 socket for Intel® CoreTM2 Extreme / CoreTM2 Duo / Pentium® Extreme / Pentium® D / Pentium® 4 / Celeron® D Processors
  • Intel® P965 / ICH8R with Intel® Fast Memory Access Technology
  • Front Side Bus 1066 / 800 / 533 MHz
  • 4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR2 800 / 667 / 533 MHz, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
  • 2 x PCI-E x16 (blue @ x16 mode, black @ x2 or x4 mode)
  • 1 x PCI-E x1 (x1 or diabled mode)
  • 3 x PCI 2.2
  • 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
  • Intel Matrix Storage Technology supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10.
  • JMicron® JMB363 PATA and SATA controller
  • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
  • 1 x Internal SATA 3.0 Gb/s port
  • 1 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
  • Support SATA RAID 0, 1 and JBOD
  • Dual Gigabit LAN controllers, both featuring AI NET2 Marvell® PCI-E and PCI Gigabit LAN controllers
  • ASUS WiFi-AP Solo 54 Mbps IEEE 802.11g and backwards compatible with 11 Mbps IEEE 802.11b
  • Software Access point mode
  • Station mode : Infrastruceure mode and Ad-Hoc mode
  • ADI® AD1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
  • Support Jack-Sensing, Enumeration, Multi-streaming and Jack-Retasking
  • Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
  • ASUS Noise Filter
  • ASUS Array Mic
  • IEEE 1394 TI® 1394a controller supports 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (one at midboard; one at back panel)
  • 8 x USB2.0 ports (4 ports at mid-board, 4 ports at back panel
  • ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
  • ASUS 8-Phase Power Design
  • ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
  • ASUS Fanless Design: Stack Cool 2
  • ASUS Optional Fan for Water-cooling or Passive-Cooling only
  • ASUS O.C. Profile
  • ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
  • ASUS EZ Flash 2
  • ASUS Power LED
  • ASUS WiFi-AP Solo

Overclocking Features

  • AI NOSTM (Non-delay Overclocking System)
  • AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
  • ASUS PEG Link - Automatically performance tuning for graphics card
  • ASUS AI Booster utility
  • vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
  • vDIMM: 13-step DRAM voltage control
  • vChipset: 4-step Chipset voltage control
  • FSB tuning from 100MHz up to 400MHz at 1MHz increment
  • Memory tuning from 533MHz up to 1066MHz
  • PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 150MHz at 1MHz increment
  • Overclocking Protection: ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse
  • 1 x Serial port
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
  • 1 x External SATA
  • 1 x IEEE1394a
  • 2 x RJ45 port
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1
  • 1 x WiFi-AP Solo antenna jack
  • 8-Channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 2 x USB connectors support additional 4 USB ports
  • 1 x Floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 7 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x CPU Fan connector
  • 5 x Chassis Fan connector
  • 1 x Power Fan connector
  • 1 x IEEE1394a connector
  • Front panel audio connector
  • 1 x Azalia Digital Header
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out Header
  • Chassis Intrusion connector
  • CD audio in
  • 24-pin ATX Power connector
  • 2 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector

BIOS
   
  • 8 Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3

Accessories
   
  • UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
  • FDD cable
  • SATA cables
  • SATA power cables
  • I/O Shield
  • User's manual
  • USB2.0 port module
  • 3 in 1 Q-connector
  • IEEE1394 port module
  • InterVideo® Media Launcher (OEM version)
  • Optional Fan for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only
  • ASUS WiFi-AP Solo omni-directional antenna
  • Array Mic
  • Support CD
   
Dimensions
   
  • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.5cm)

Phew!

The Asus P5B Deluxe Packaging

Since we've harped on about the packaging so much, we thought you might like some eyecandy.
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Click for joyful and relived feelings!

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Click to Enlarge


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P5B Deluxe Up Close

The motherboard has some interesting design features. The fanless heatpipe cover the bits that like to get hot, allows for silent computing.

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An extra fan is supplied for the heatpipe fans if your planning on installing some watercooling or passive cooling gear. A welcome bolton allowing enthusiasts extra flexibility in more exotic systems.

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Home theatre and multimedia enthusiasts are well catered for with 802.11g wireless support slotted in right alongside the rear I/O panel. Asus provides an external antenna unit to boost signals and it does a good job for most areas. If you have thick walls to cope with you will probably need a more robust solution. The WiFi performed without problem in our studio and was easy to setup and configure.

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Another interesting feature is the advertised support for 8GBs of DDR2. While 2GB is the choice for many users, the option to expand is always welcome. Remember when 1 gigabyte of ram was considered overkill. It won't be long before four and eight are the norm. Eight SATA ports and raid 0,1,5 and 10 options allow for plenty of storage possibilites. The P5B Deluxe motherboard really is as future proof as you could hope for with bags of room to grow, expand and addon.


P5B Deluxe Lab Tests

The test setup for the Asus P5B deluxe consisted of a Intel 2.4GHz Core 2 Duo processor, 2GB Mushkin XP2-8000 DDR2, Geforce 7900 GT graphics card, Western Digital raptor hard drive, BeQuiet 700w power supply and Windows XP Pro. The same kit and tests were conducted on a Gigabyte GA-965 DS3 motherboard for comparison.

Overclocking

Of course we couldn't resist torturing the P5B. Overclocking results were fantastic with the 2.4GHz transforming into an Intel Extreme beating prime95 stable 3.6GHz monsta. A Bios upgrade to 0505 was applied and then the FSB was ramped up till the cpu couldn't take anymore. Overclocking really is very easy with the Asus. The motherboard showed no signs of any strain. To see just how far this board could go, an E6300 chip was dropped in and the multiplier lowered to 6x. How does 535MHz FSB tickle your fancy on stock cooling?

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Asus have just released another bios revision with the ability to do a whopping 650MHz FSB. The MaXit Monsta machine has gone off to Area 51 with the P5B in tow for some heavy duty watercooling. We'll keep you posted on our overclocking adventures with this motherboard as soon as it returns.

The Results

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The Asus board managed to pip our team favourite Gigabyte DS3 board in every test. The P5B has an advantage in memory bandwith and latency and this carried through the results. We have suspected for some time that the internal subsystem of the DS3 is running more relaxed timings which in part counts for its amazing ability to overclock so well. Clearly Asus have made no such comprise on the P5B, with aggressive performance and overclockability to boot.


Asus Customer Support

Buying a new component is great when nothing goes wrong but what about when problems arise. Asus pride themselves on their customer support backup program and we decided to see just how good their claim was. We filled out a customer support form via their UK website asking for help with a driver issue and software compatability problem. The form was sent at 9.35 am from a private email account. An email arrived from Asus member support at 9.45 am.

"The system has received your query. We will process your query ASAP. However, due to vast number of queries waiting to be processed each day, we may not be able to respond your query immediately. If your query is not replied within 48 hours, please connect to the following URL and search. Thank you."

We were amazed when another email arrived at 10.33 am from a technical support representative with a list of possible solutions and a new driver update to try.
Contact less than an hour after our original query. How's that for fast service.

The Bottom Line

Huge overclockability, bags of spec and great expandability make the Asus P5B Deluxe a champion choice for Core 2 Duo processors. The P5B ticks all the right boxes for even the most demanding hardware enthusiast. Home theatre, multimedia, games rig. Whatever your flavour the P5B Deluxe provides the perfect base to build from. Factor in Asus's determination to take this board to the performance edge with continued Bios tweaks and it's clear to see you have one of the most future proof and flexible Core 2 Duo motherboards on the market.

Throughout our tests the board behaved impeccably even when we pushed it over the limits. A simple reset and the board posted again without the hassle of a CMOS reset. Provision for watercooling or passive systems is even catered for. It really is hard to believe so much could be crammed into one board. If you've been sitting on the sidelines planning your dream system and waiting for the Conroe dust to settle, do yourself a favour and take a good long look at the Asus P5B Deluxe. We don't think you'll find a finer motherboard.

Pros

  • Massive spec and features
  • Huge overclockability
  • Supports water and passive cooling
  • Bundled accessories
  • Top quality design
  • Superb Customer Support
  • Great Packaging
  • Plenty of expandability
  • Supports raid 0,1,5 and 10
  • 8x SATA
  • Officially supports upto 8GB DDR2
  • WiFi built in
  • Easy overclocking setup
  • Overclock protection
  • Stability

Cons


  • Buying the best is never cheap 

 

 

Not content on pushing this board to the limits, we enlisted the help of the UK's no.1 watercooling specialist and crazy modder to create a dream machine based around the Asus P5B Deluxe motherboard. Watch out for the full feature coming soon as we attempt to push the P5B to the edge with a little help from Danger Den and the Coolmieste

To find out the progress of the MaXit Monsta, head down to the forums and check out the project logs.

Don't forget you can share your tips, find out about overclocking the P5B and post your findings in our Official Asus P5B Deluxe owners thread.

Special thanks go out to Ben at Asus PR for making all this possible.


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