Asus P5E3 Premium: A Mean, Green Motherboard?

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ACCESSORIES & LAYOUT

Along with the typical accessories, the P5E3 Premium also comes with two optional blower fans that can be attached the VRM heatsinks, two WiFi antennas with magnetic bases, and extra FireWire/USB ports in the form of a PCI cable bracket.


The bundle.

A lot of thought has been put into connector placement. SATA, IDE and Floppy ports are all on the edge of the board, along with the 24-pin ATX power connector. Fan headers litter the board — there are six all together, all on the outer edges.


Layout.

It is of course, not perfect. The 8-pin EPS12V connector near the top would be difficult to access in a typical ATX tower, especially due to its close proximity to the VRM heatsinks. A large CPU cooler such as the Scythe Ninja would make it even less accessible. In addition, the last PCI-E slot, the one that would be used for a third video card in a triple Crossfire setup should be higher on the board, to allow for a dual-slot card.


Back panel.

The back panel is jam-packed with every port one could imagine. It has dual gigabit ethernet and wireless-N, analog and S/PDIF audio (both coaxial and optical), FireWire, and eSATA. The PS/2 mouse port has been done away with — this will be a problem if you wish to use an older KVM with the board.


Another angle.

The IDE port and 4 of the 6 SATA connectors are on their sides, making cable management a snap. The heatsink array is short enough to allow most properly-designed third party heatsinks to be installed without issue. The tallest point is on the northbridge, approximately 34 mm high.


A closer look at the heatsinks.

The heatsinks are a clear demonstration of the extravagance of the P5E3 Premium. Along with the northbridge and southbridge, three sets of VRMs are covered with copper heatsinks, all connected via heatpipes. In thoery, as the heatpipe fluid heats up, it should travel toward wherever the temperature is lower, resulting in a balance between all the chips being cooled. Assuming they all have the same heat tolerance, it's a good system.


Underside.

A quick look at the underside of the board reveals backplates for both the northbridge and southbridge heatsinks, for extra security. They are held down by screws unlike the VRM heatsinks, which use simple push-pins.



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