X48 Motherboard Comparison, Part 2

Asus P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n (Update)

We already reviewed the P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n edition motherboard in our original X48 Motherboard Comparison, or at least we thought we had. Asus later revealed a completely new circuit board, trickily given the same “revision number.” Because the review samples were not the same as the retail units, we secured the later version for a retest.

What is most noticeably different about the P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n Edition retail samples is a missing PCI-Express x1 slot in the top position. Some of the capacitors have also been moved around, and we have no idea what changes might be beneath the surface.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
NorthbridgeIntel X48 Express MCH
SouthbridgeIntel ICH9R
Voltage RegulatorEight Phases
BIOS0401 (04/03/2008)
333.3 MHz (FSB1333)334.0 MHz (+0.2%)
Clock GeneratorICS 9LPRS918HKL
Connectors and InterfacesRow 6 - Cell 1
Onboard3x PCIe x16 (Modes: Two x16: One x4/x1)
Row 8 - Cell 0 1x PCIe x1
Row 9 - Cell 0 2x PCI
Row 10 - Cell 0 2x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)
Row 11 - Cell 0 1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
Row 12 - Cell 0 1x Serial Port header
Row 13 - Cell 0 1x Floppy
Row 14 - Cell 0 1x Ultra ATA (2 drives)
Row 15 - Cell 0 6x Serial ATA 3.0Gb/s
Row 16 - Cell 0 1x Front Panel Audio
Row 17 - Cell 0 1x CD-Audio In
Row 18 - Cell 0 1x S/P-DIF Out
Row 19 - Cell 0 1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)
Row 20 - Cell 0 5x Fan 3 pins (Chassis/Power)
IO panel1x PS2 (keyboard )
Row 22 - Cell 0 2x RJ-45 Network
Row 23 - Cell 0 6x USB 2.0
Row 24 - Cell 0 2x External SATA
Row 25 - Cell 0 1x IEEE-1394 FireWire
Row 26 - Cell 0 2x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF optical + coaxial)
Row 27 - Cell 0 6x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel + Mic-In + Line-In)
Row 28 - Cell 0 2x WiFi Antenna Connectors
Mass Storage ControllersRow 29 - Cell 1
Intel ICH9R6x SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0,1,5,10)
JMicron JMB363 PCI-E1x Ultra ATA-133 (2-drives)
Row 32 - Cell 0 2x External SATA 3.0Gb/s (RAID 0, 1 JBOD)
NetworkRow 33 - Cell 1
Marvell 88E8056-NNC1 PCI-EGigabit LAN Connection
Realtek RTL8110SC PCIGigabit LAN Connection
Ralink RT2770F USB802.11n/g/b Wireless Network Interface
AudioRow 37 - Cell 1
ADI 1988B HD Audio Codec7.1 + 2 channel Multi-Streaming Output
FireWireRow 39 - Cell 1
Agere L-FW3227-100 PCI2x IEEE-1394a (400 Mb/s)

We’re only focusing the P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP coverage on changes, but we did find one in BIOS: Asus has added separate GTL Reference voltage adjustments for each CPU core.

Readers not yet familiar with the P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP can look back to our previous review for details on the things that haven’t changed in the retail circuit board revision.

Thomas Soderstrom
Thomas Soderstrom is a Senior Staff Editor at Tom's Hardware US. He tests and reviews cases, cooling, memory and motherboards.
  • nihility
    I thought the major concern with overclocking was doing it with 4 GB or 8 GB of memory installed and with quad cores.
    Buying an overly expensive high end motherboard but installing a 65 nm dual core processor and just 2 GB of RAM seems a very odd combination to me.
  • @ni

    Not so odd if you want to get the base foundation set up and then wait for lower prices on higher performance parts later on down the road.
    A quad core (3.0 GHz x 4) chip is coming down the pike by years end and DDR3 prices are on the slide. Building an E8400 / 2 GB base machine is exactly what I did to finally migrate from my 5 year old P4 Extreme Edition / Intel 875 based rig.

    That's the beauty of the X48 platform; longevity.
  • The ECS offering has supposedly been out for around a month, but I can't find it for sale ANYWHERE!! can't even find a price. I used to turn my nose up at ECS products. Our company used Asus boards exclusively thinking they were a higher quality product. Evey one of our Asus boards failed within 4 years. This may be because the Chinese have studied the American business model... Make a product that is designed to either fail or need parts within a calculated period of time. ECS are much cheaper, and so far seem more stable than the Maximus Formula board we purchased recently. The Asus BIOS is for people who like to toy with settings. Unfortunately their BIOS has become complicated beyond their programmers ability too write stable code.
  • Glad to see that gigabyte's board was so much more energy efficient than Asus', or any other board for that matter... especially while overclocking
  • Fedor
    Arcolyte - lol. Did you fall asleep and dream up another page of the review which had power consumption whilst overclocking? :p

    For the record I'm using my first Gigabyte board (X38-DQ6) and overall I'm pretty happy with it, but having said that I haven't used Asus in at least 5 years. With these comparisons it often comes down to features since performance is pretty near (although the low memory speeds achieved by the Gigabyte surprised me!).
  • " Intel covers all of its CPU VRM MOSFET?s with sinks. Our apologies for the alphabet soup that made up the last comment. " -> You could've gone with " Central Processing Unit Voltage Regulator Module Metal?Oxide?Semiconductor Field-Effect Transistor's " , so it's ok =)
  • frodbonzi
    I wonder how the Asus' Rampage Formula stacks up here? It supports DDR2 or DDR3 and is part of the RoG line... X48 as well...
  • xanxaz
    asrock rocks....lol...although i'll keep my gigabyte... as i dont know where to say this, it's better say it here... your main page is eating my cpu cycles... between 25% up to 50% cpu utilization while viewing your site? please cut down in animated ads... running a c2d at 3.6 and still lags while surfing... dah... it's just your site... os is it me? i think it's the ad on the top right corner that is causing that...
  • wozeus
    I see that Newegg has ECS X48T-A for under $200. Looks like it's a great deal...going to get one.