PART 2 – Package and Board Layout
So… to continue my review of my latest motherboard, the Asus P5E3 Deluxe and to actually show off some nice pictures – here is part 2
I’m always impressed by the packaging of motherboards and this X38 board from ASUS doesn’t disappoint. Things like CPUs and DVD/HDD drives are commonly available as OEM and arrive in just a anti-static bag or a small brown box whereas motherboards seem to always be sold in full colour boxes and tend to have a multitude of flaps, sleeves and compartments.
The actual box is nothing particularly flashy but is instead a rather simple and understated black box. But it is of course inside a slightly more showy retail sleeve. If you see this in a shop then I’m sure it would draw your attention quite appropriately. But this isn’t a chocolate bar that you buy on inpulse, surely most people have decided on what they want before they see the box and often won’t come in contact with the box until they’ve already purchased it as they buy online. What it does do though is gives you a nice sense of money well spent when you receive it through the post.
The sleeve has a lift up flap to provide ASUS with extra space to print details about their latest features. This really is nothing more than a marketing sleeve and doesn’t serve and other purpose, there’s not even any useful information on it as it’s all too vague.
Opening up the box is where the real action starts and as you can see ASUS have packed it in tight! Any more accessories and they’d have to build a bigger box. The board itself is packed in the bottom of the box and then the accessories are placed on top along with a user guide, two additional quick start guides for some of the features and a driver and support DVD. One of the guides is for the AI Remote which according to the outer sleeve of the box is a ‘Bonus’. Whether they decided to package this with the P5E3 Deluxe as an after thought or whether it’s a bonus that only a few boxes have added I don’t know but they certainly didn’t get a chance to add it to the main user guide.
As you can see from the picture above, you get quite a few accessories with this motherboard. Working left to right starting from the top row we have floppy and IDE flat ribbon cables, one of each. I think the day has passed for providing round IDE cables, after all IDE is nearly obsolete now so for the few users still building with IDE drives they can get themselves a round cable seperately if they really want to. Then we have a PCI bracket mounted USB/Firewire breakout cable for connecting to the on board headers, it’s nice to have both on a single bracket.
On the second row we have the remote control for the AI remote feature that I’ll talk about later in the review, the Q-Shield IO plate, 6 red sata cables in packs of two and a molex to sata power adapter cable. Then finally we have the Q-connectors, the receiver for the AI Remote and the two optional add-on fans for the heatpipes.
Most motherboard manufactuers are pretty sensible with their board layouts these days. There are still a few placements that seem a bit odd but these are usually for the lesser used connectors motherboard headers for a serial port bracket etc.
The 4/8 pin 12V power connector is up at the top of the board as you would expect and it comes with a cap over the extra 4 pins, so that it’s easy to know where to connect a 4pin connector. The extra 4 pins are optional for most CPUs but required for those that consume a lot of power like the P4EE CPUs. The 1st 16x PCIe slot is the third slot on this board which means that you should find space to fit an extra long graphics card in that slot without obscuring the memory slots.
Along the right side of the board you’ll find the 24pin power connector, the floppy connector if needed, the IDE connector and the 6 SATA connectors. Two of the SATA connectors are perpendicular to the board and the other four are parallel which is more common these days. The IDE connector is also parallel to the board. On the bottom edge of the board we find the front panel audio, case connections (LEDs & switches), the USB headers and the Firewire header. This is the usual place
for these connectors but it can cause difficulties in tight cases like my Coolermaster Centurion 532. This fortunately is where the ASUS Q-Connect comes into it’s own and makes these connections a much easier and more enjoyable task.
The slots for add-on cards are well positioned to allow for a multi graphics card setup. Each 16x PCIe slot is seperated by another slot which allows for better airflow for single slot coolers and provides just enough room for dual slot cards. Also if fitting dual slot cards you obscure one PCI slot and one PCIe 1x slot which still leaves one of each available for use with a sound card, TV tuner card or Wifi – or whatever else takes your fancy!
Anyway that’s part 2 of my ASUS P5E3 Deluxe motherboard review, If you’ve want to goto part 3 then just click here – next section BIOS…