ASUS P5Q PRO P45 Motherboard Review

by MAC     |     July 28, 2008

ASUS P5Q PRO P45 Motherboard Review

Price: $135+ CDN Click Here to Compare Prices
Manufacturer’s Product Page: ASUS P5Q PRO
Manufacturer’s Part Number: P5Q PRO
Warranty: Limited 3 Year Warranty
Availability: Now

A little over four years ago, Intel introduced the enthusiast-oriented 925X Express “Alderwood” and mainstream 915 Express “Grantsdale” chipsets. These chipsets were groundbreaking because they were the first Intel chipsets to support several (now ubiquitous) technological advancements, such as Socket 775, PCI Express, and DDR2. This little history lesson is relevant because the motherboard that we are reviewing today is based on the new P45 Express chipset, which will be among the last to support Socket 775 and DDR2 memory. The Intel 4-Series will also be the last Intel desktop chipsets to use the venerable Memory Controller Hub (MCH) design, as the upcoming Nehalem processors have an Integrated Memory Controller (IMC). Now we realize that this is starting to sound like a technological eulogy, so let’s move on.

As the largest and arguably most respected motherboard manufacturer in the world, ASUS has always been well-positioned to capitalize on the arrival of a new chipset. In particular, they have consistently demonstrated the ability to have their products available in the retail channel before the competition, which is an advantage that cannot be understated given the "I want it now!" nature of most consumers.

With this latest chipset release, ASUS has created the diverse P5Q series product line, with a total of nine different P45 models announced so far. We say “so far” only because if the company’s seventeen P35-based motherboards are any indication, we can expect a few additional models down the line. The fact that ASUS offers such a vast selection of models catered to many different price points is another factor that explains the company's popularity among the D-I-Y computer crowd.

The motherboard we are reviewing today is the P5Q PRO, which is squarely aimed towards the mainstream market. However, despite its mainstream roots, this is no cut-corner model. It comes remarkably well-equipped for a ~$150 CDN motherboard, with standout features like dual mechanical PCI-E x16 (8x electrical) 2.0 slots, three PCI-E 1x slots, eight SATA-II ports, eSATA and FireWire connectivity, top-notch RAID capabilities, twelve USB 2.0 ports, 8-channel High-Definition audio, ExpressGate "instant-on" OS, EPU, and...well, let's keep some surprises for rest of the review.

All of these features and more have resulted in the ASUS P5Q PRO being one of (if not THE) P45 motherboard to have at this time. E-tailers are constantly selling out of it even though stock seems to be flooding in. Consumers obviously see something they like but is all this hoopla warranted? Let's find out.


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