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Roundup: Six Core 2 Motherboards Under $100

P5QL Pro Software, BIOS, and Accessories

Asus includes several freeware and trial software packages with is P5QL Pro, plus utilities of its own.

For the P5QL Pro, Asus removed its AI Gear automatic overclocking utility from the AI Suite menu, retaining AI Nap, AI Booster, and Fan Xpert buttons

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For the P5QL Pro, AI Booster allows the adjustment of CPU FSB frequency and multiplier, DRAM voltage and ratio, and PCIe frequency. We were able to use the CPU Frequency function to achieve mild overclocks. Using the utility to adjust the FSB clock on a heavily overclocked system resulted in a crash, even when we tried to use it to decrease speed.

Asus Fan Xpert has several profiles plus manual control for fan speed, but the P5QL Pro has only two onboard fan plugs for the controls to act upon.

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PC Probe II monitors only a few voltage and temperature readings, since the low-cost P5QL Pro has fewer sensors than some of Asus’ more-expensive products.

BIOS

Asus provides a full set of BIOS controls for overclocking and memory optimization, though the range of some controls contradicts others.

BIOS Frequency and Voltage settings (for overclocking)
FSB Frequency200 to 800 MHz (1 MHz)
Clock Multiplier AdjustmentYes
DRAM RatiosUp to DDR2-1,200 (By Boot Strap)
PCIe Clock50 to 150 MHz (1 MHz)
CPU Vcore0.850 to 1.500 V (0.00625 V)
CPU FSB Voltage1.10 to 1.40 V (0.02 V)
Northbridge (MCH)1.10 to 1.40 V (0.02 V)
Southbridge (ICH)1.50 V, 1.70 V
DRAM Voltage1.80 - 2.30 V (0.01 V)
CASLatencyRange
tCAS:3-11; tRCD: 3-18; tRP: 3-18; tRAS: 3-34

For example, the FSB clock can be increased to 800 MHz (FSB-3,200), yet the P5QL Pro doesn’t support nearly enough voltage to get the CPU core, FSB, or northbridge stable at super-high speeds. Similarly, memory can be set as high as DDR2-1200 as a starting point and can be further overclocked using FSB speed, but memory voltage is limited to moderately-safe levels.

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The P5QL Pro has its most-important overclocking controls on a single scroll-down menu, eliminating redundant settings. For example, the CPU multiplier is only found in the CPU menu and not in the overclocking menu.

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The Tools menu provides access to Asus EZ Flash 2 and Asus OC Profile. EZ Flash 2 allows flashing BIOS from non-bootable floppy and flash drives, while OC Profile allows the BIOS settings to be saved on one of two on-chip registers or a flash drive.

Accessories

Accessories
Documentation&SoftwareMotherboard ManualMotherboard Driver DVDAsus Case Badge
Hardware2x SATA Data Cable1x 4-pin to SATA power adapter1x 80-conductor Ultra ATA cable1x Floppy Cable1x Asus Q-Connector Kit1x I/O Panel Shield

Like most low-cost motherboards, the P5QL Pro includes only two SATA cables. However, Asus does enhance its accessory kit with a Q-Connector set, which allows individual case leads to be bundled together prior to connecting them to the motherboard.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • V3NOM
    interesting, although pretty much anyone building a P775 system these days would spend a bit more than $100... and somethings really weird with this commenting thing cos i can't read what i'm typing... it just ... doesnt fill the box? just when i type something it instantly goes to the left instead of filling the box... but anyway, interesting if a bit useless article.
    Reply
  • cangelini
    FWIW, the issue with text disappearing from the commenting box as you're typing is something I've reported and m waiting for a fix still. Thanks for confirming that it's still an issue.
    Reply
  • rjcorrin
    Yes - everyone has money shooting out of their pantless ass to buy more expensive motherboards. I use a gigabyte Ep35 DS3L and am very happy with it. What is a >$100 board going to give me? Is it just that you want to waste money? I'm guessing you are one of those people who carry a balance on your credit card and lease a Lexus - you debt-carrying phag.
    Reply
  • jsc
    "What is a >$100 board going to give me?

    I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports.
    Reply
  • I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
    Reply
  • rjcorrin
    "I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports."
    The DS3L has 4 Sata ports which could easily handle 3 terabytes and a DVD drive. You could have saved money by editing down your porn collection and deleting your stolen .iso's of the entire "Friday the 13th" collection. Then you would have had enough space to install "Mavis Beacon Teaches Touch Typing". That would give you something else to do with your hands during your "adult film" marathons.
    Did you happen to notice that the comment box detects your errors and underlines them in red?
    Reply
  • rjcorrin
    "I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports."
    The DS3L has 4 Sata ports which could easily handle 3 terabytes and a DVD drive. You could have saved money by editing down your porn collection and deleting your stolen .iso's of the entire "Friday the 13th" collection. Then you would have had enough space to install "Mavis Beacon Teaches Touch Typing". That would give you something else to do with your hands during your "adult film" marathons.
    Did you happen to notice that the comment box detects your errors and underlines them in red?
    Reply
  • gaiden2k7
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $99 during black friday... would that top this list? :)
    Reply
  • Noya
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $84.50 during Black Friday, pwned you ninja gaiden fag.
    Reply
  • malveaux
    Wait, no AMD stuff?

    :(
    Reply