Asus P5E3-Deluxe Review (Page 11 of 13)

Page 11 - Asus Express Gate Onboard Linux

What do you call a motherboard with an onboard operating system? Answer: Asus P5E3-Deluxe. When I first heard about it, I was like, "Wow, embedded Linux on a motherboard? Now that's something I haven't seen before!" Let's see what the craze is all about.

As soon as your computer starts, the above screen will appear -- that's before the BIOS splash screen. Under the words "Express Gate" are two icons; in which either will launch the onboard Linux based OS -- whereas the left icon is the SplashTop Browser (Modded version of Mozilla Firefox), and the icon on the right is Skype.

Along the bottom are three icons; in which in order from the left are Enter OS, BIOS Setup, and Power. Enter OS means booting from your hard drive, not into the onboard OS. The rest should be self explanatory.

A timeout can be set in the BIOS for automatic boot, as mentioned earlier. This screen also be disabled entirely in the BIOS.

By the way, you can, and actually supposed to, use your mouse in this section -- I experienced no problems at all with my USB based Logitech G5 V2.

The desktop of Asus' Express Gate. The launchbar is located at the bottom with an array of icons separated into sections; but can be configured for autohide as well as placement on all four sides of the screen.

A screenshot of the SplashTop Browser. It's basically a modified version of Firefox with changes such as no user-configurable homepage -- you'll be greeted with Asus' website every time you start it You can change homepage under 'Bookmarks'.

Skype is also included out of the box; it will work assuming you are using integrated audio. The window on the top right is the configuration panel, while the one below it is the screen resolution configuration screen. The reason why I highlighted that is due to its lack of support of resolutions -- the supported screen resolution is limited to 800x600, 1024x768, 1280x800, 1366x768, and 1440x1050. It's quite unfortunate there's no 1680x1050 for my 20" widescreen LCD.

Asus Express Gate's network configuration screen. Wireless LAN is not enabled by default, but it can be done here if you are inclined to use wireless networking instead.

The shutdown menu allows you to power off your computer, restart it, or 'Enter OS' (As in booting off your hard drive) with the button on the very left.

Overall, I found it quite interesting and cool to use -- especially if you are booting up just to check your email. However, you won't be able to access data on your hard drive, limited to a few resolutions that could prevent users from using this and putting their computer into standby instead. It would be pretty nice if features such as the embedded Linux based OS can be loaded as Windows loads in the background and quickly switch into Windows when it's ready. Regardless, this is still very innovative and proves to be a very handy features at times.

Page Index
1. Introduction, Features, and Specifications
2. Bundle, Chipset, BIOS
3. A Closer Look, Board Layout
4. Test System; Benchmark: 3DMark06
5. Benchmark: PCMark05
6. Benchmark: Cinebench 9.5, SuperPI 1M
7. Benchmark: EVEREST CPU
8. Benchmark: EVEREST FPU
9. Benchmark: EVEREST Memory
10. Benchmark: EVEREST Memory Latency, HDTach
11. Asus Express Gate Onboard Linux
12. Onboard Sound (RMAA 6.06) Analyzation
13. Onboard Sound (Subjective), Wi-Fi, Overclocking, Conclusion