Asus P5N-E SLI Review (Page 1 of 11)

By: Jonathan Kwan
March 31, 2007

In order to create a product to strike a balance between performance, price, and features, the amount of effort required could be quite a challenge. What's more, in the motherboard world, a whole new level exists beyond the standard 'requirements' of a successful product. Enthusiasts will demand overclocking capability and stability; while others will want the physical layout and design to be as optimal as possible when cables are being pulled around the case. In general, if a motherboard overclocks well, is stable, and priced aggressively, it is almost guaranteed to be a 100% successful product.

NVIDIA chipsets, historically and presently, is a strong focus of this industry. NVIDIA's release of their flagship 680i chipset a few months back proves a strong point, as this is clearly demonstrated among the now dominant Intel enthusiast platform. NVIDIA's second move into the targeted mainstream (priced) motherboard market with the 650i chipset is also big news in this industry. How will the implementation of NVIDIA's 650i chipset into Asus' P5N-E SLI motherboard prove a point right here? We'll have to see what Asus, the largest motherboard manufacturer in the world, has in store for us today.

Our review unit arrived in a retail package inside another large box filled with packing peanuts. The box of the Asus P5N-E SLI is a relatively typical motherboard package; with two flaps on both sides holding the top cover down. It's nothing fancy, but it does its job just fine.

Asus' logo and motherboard model is printed on all four sides of the box. A few short notes in various languages are displayed on the back along with a photo of the motherboard -- and a large array of icons depicting little captions that outlines the features of the P5N-E SLI.

Before we move on, let's take a look at the specifications and features of this motherboard, as provided by Asus:

LGA775 Socket Intel® Quad-Core/CoreTM Extreme/Pentium D /Pentium 4/Celeron CPU processors Compatible with Intel® 06/05A/05B processors Intel® EIST/EM64T/Hyper-Threading Technology/C1E/ TM1/TM2
NVIDIA nForce® 650i SLITM
Front Side Bus
**1333/1066/800/533MHz (** available when CPUs are ready for 1333MHz FSB)
Dual channel memory architecture 4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets support up to 8GB DDR2 800/667/533 non-ECC/ Unbuffered memory
Expansion Slots
2 x PCI Express x16 - Single VGA mode: x16 (Default) - SLI mode: x8, x8 1 x PCI Express x1 2 x PCI (PCI 2.2)
- 2 x Ultra DMA 133/100/66/33 - 4 x Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s - Support RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD - 1 x External Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s (SATA On-the-Go)
Gigabit LAN featuring AI Net2 Marvell 88E1116 PHY
Realtek ALC883 6-channel CODEC Audio Sensing and Enumeration Technology Multi-Streaming 1 X Coaxial S/PDIF out ports on back I/O
IEEE 1394
Supports 2 IEEE 1394a connector onboard (1 in back + 1 on board)
Supports up 8 USB2.0 ports
Overclocking Features
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner) - ASUS CPU Lock Free - Precision Tweaker: - vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 6.25mv increment max. 1.6V - vChip: 4-step Chip voltage control adjust Chip voltage max. 0.55V - vDIMM: 8-step DRAM voltage control adjust DRAM voltage max. 0.6V - SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection) - FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 750MHz at 1MHz increment - PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 131MHz at 1MHz increment - CPU Multiplier - ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features
ASUS Q-Connector ASUS O.C. Profile ASUS Fanless Design ASUS PC Probe2 ASUS Q-Fan2 ASUS MyLogo2 ASUS Update
4 Mb Flash ROM, AWARD BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3 ASUS EZ Flash 2,ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2
WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0 , WOR by Ring , WOL/WOR by PME, WO USB/KB/MS, PXE, RPL & AI Net2
Internal I/O Connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX Power connector 1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector 1 x Chassis Intrusion 1 x CPU + 2 Chassis FAN connectors 1 x Floppy disk drive connector 1 x CD audio in connector 1 x 1394a connector 2 x USB connector supports additional 4 USB ports 1 x Front panel connector (AAFP) System panel connector 1 x COM Port connector 1 x S/PDIF out connector
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x Parallel port 1 x 1394a connector 1 x S/PDIF Out port (Coaxial) 1 x PS/2 Keyboard port (purple) 1 x PS/2 Mouse port (green) 1 x LAN(RJ-45) port 4 x USB 2.0/1.1 port 1 x External SATA 6-Channel Audio I/O port
1 x SLI bridge 1 x 2-in-1 ASUS Q-Connector Kit (Retail version only) 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable 1 x FDDe cable 2 x SATA cables 2 x SATA power cable 1 x 2-port USB2.0 module 1 x I/O Shield User's manual
Support CD
Drivers ASUS Update Anti-virus software (OEM version) ASUS PC Probe II NVIDIA RIS (Remote Installation Service) application
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor, 12”x 9”(30.5cm x 22.9cm)

A quick shot at the CPU-Z Motherboard tab. We'll go over information in regards to the chipset and sensor, along with a detailed look at the motherboard itself just shortly:

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. Onboard Sound, Overclocking, Conclusion