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Asus P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition: Armed To The Teeth

Shootout at the Core 2 Corral: Seven P965 Motherboards Compared
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The most familiar name in performance motherboards, Asus has produced premium models under its Deluxe label for several years. Today we examine the company's flagship P965 chipset product.

Feature Overview

The P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition aims to win buyers by extending its feature set beyond what other manufacturers typically offer. This begins with the namesake WiFi card and extends to the dual PCI Express x16 graphics card slots, one with the full 16 pathways and the other limited to four (two when the PCI Express x1 slot is enabled).

A remarkably good layout puts the 24-pin ATX and the 8-pin ATX12v (4-pin compatible with locator plug) on the edges, positions where power cables are unlikely to interfere with cooling. Like the AB9-Pro, a heat pipe cools the Northbridge through large sink that also cools VRM transistors, but Asus provided three additional power phases for a total of eight. The remaining four phases lack any additional cooling, though the circuit board is marked for an extra sink and includes pin holes to mount it.

Offering praise for the six Serial ATA ports being lined up "beyond reach" of long graphics cards may be a bit premature, because test fitting an X1950XTX into the second slot revealed that two ports were partially blocked. We're a little more critical of the Ultra ATA connector that Asus turned ninety-degrees to increase card clearance, since the lower drive bays of typical ATX cases will often block access to this connector.

Another contrast is the excellent floppy header placement at the upper end of the board, compared to the inconvenient Front Panel Audio connector placement in the lower rear corner. Connecting a Front Panel Audio cable to mid-mount or top-mount case panels will require routing it under, over or around cards (and hoping it stretches far enough).

Asus P5B Deluxe/WiFi-AP (Rev. 1.03G)
Northbridge Intel P965
Southbridge Intel ICH8R (82801HR)
Voltage Regulator 8 Phases
BIOS 0614 (09/08/06)
Clock Generator CY28551LFXC
266.6 MHz (FSB1066) 266.6 MHz (-0.0%)
Connectors and Interfaces
onboard 2x PCIe x16 (2nd with x4/x2 pathways)
1x PCIe x1
3x PCI
4x USB 2.0
1x Firewire
1x Floppy
1x IDE
6x SATA 3.0Gb/s
1x Front Panel Audio
1x CD-In
1x S/P-DIF Out
1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
5x Fan 3 pins (System)
IO panel 2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)
1x Serial Port
2x Network
1x 802.11b/g Wireless Antenna Jack
4x USB 2.0
1x eSATA
1x IEEE1394 FireWire
1x Digital Audio Out (optical+coaxial)
1x 7.1 Channel Audio, Mic-In, Line-In (6 jacks)
Mass Storage Controllers
ICH8R 6x SATA (RAID 0,1,5,10)
JMicron JMB363 1x IDE (ATA133/100/66)
1x SATA (RAID 0,1, 0+1, JBOD)
1x External SATA
Network
Marvell 88E8056 PCIe 1x 1 Gbit/s LAN
Marvell 88E8001 PCI 1x 1 Gbit/s LAN
Audio
Analog Devices AD1988B 7.1 AC97 or High Definition Audio
FireWire
Texas Instruments TI 43AB22A 2x 1394a (400 Mbit/s)

The rear panel lacks a legacy parallel port but retains one serial port, adding eSATA plus the expected optical and coaxial digital audio connectors. High-end features include a FireWire port, dual Gigabit network connections, and a WiFi antenna jack.

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