ASUS P5E3 Premium X48 Motherboard Review

by 3oh6     |     June 10, 2008


Instead of repeating what a spec sheet says over and over, we have isolated a few of the features that intrigue us on this motherboard and discuss them briefly here.

Dual-Channel DDR3 2000(O.C.)/1800(O.C.)
As a bit of a surprise, the P5E3-Premium has DDR3-2000 listed as a supported memory speed. Of course it also has the O.C. caveat listed beside it but for ASUS to even mention DDR3-2000 is rather impressive. This basically ensures that the motherboard can run 500FSB because that is what is required to reach 1000MHz memory frequency on current Intel chipsets.
The biggest news story of recent weeks has been the battle between Gigabyte and ASUS regarding their energy savings technology. For ASUS, this is called EPU and involves lowering power consumption of the motherboard when running low power applications. This type of feature has been big news lately because of the global effort to reduce energy consumption for a cleaner environment. We didn't have any luck with the Rampage Formula but will try again with the P5E3-Premium.
Up to 20C(36F) Cooler - Stack Cool 2
Silent operation and effective cooling are descriptions that did not co-exist in the past. Recently though, ASUS has been at war with noise and used a number of passive cooling solutions utilizing heat pipes to cool chipset components without the use of fans on the motherboard. Stack Cool 2 is just the marketing term for this type of passive motherboard cooling solution.
With built in dual 802.11n wireless antennas included with the P5E3-Premium, the ability to connect wirelessly to the home network is better than ever. Options for running in AP-Mode or Client Mode with the dual antenna setup provides flexibility for whatever our needs are. 802.11n also improves potential wireless speed with up to 300mbps transfer speeds.
ASUS Express Gate
A very unique feature to ASUS premium motherboards is the inclusion of Express Gate. An onboard Linux based operating system that allows for web, e-mail, and VoIP access within 5 seconds of powering up the machine; without even having to enter Windows. This is a very forward thinking idea and ASUS has recently announced its inclusion in all of their mainstream motherboards.
SATA on the Go
The explosion of personal data collection, transport, and storage has really pushed the connectivity envelope for motherboard manufacturers. The SATA interface is the fastest available at this time and the use of external hard drives tapping into this interface is such common place these days that ASUS has added two native eSATA ports at the rear I/O panel. eSATA provides the same 3.0Gb/s transfer capabilities of the onboard SATA ports but provides hot-plug ability for easy backup to portable external devices.
O.C. Profile
With complicated BIOS settings and literally hundreds of options, the ability to back up settings to be recalled alter is a very nice feature available to P5E3-Premium users. This may seem trivial to some, but for those spending time tweaking their system, this allows the convenience of saving the BIOS settings while making adjustments and providing the safety net of going back to a known good configuration instantly.
Green is the name of the game in every industry and as we have already seen with the EPU features of this motherboard, the computer industry is no different. But energy savings is only a part of being green. Developing hardware that is safer for the environment and its inhabitants is another aspect of being Green friendly. ASUS adheres to the EU RoHS standards for non-toxic hardware manufacturing. Some aspects like lead free components in manufacturing and packaging that is environmentally friendly are just parts of the entire Green theme ASUS has taken on so adamantly.

The list of features we have briefly gone over are just an ice cube portion of an iceberg poking out of the water. ASUS has packed a lot into this P5E3-Premium like they do with all of their mainstream motherboards and going over everything would take just too long. The above features are those that stand out as being important in our opinion here at Hardware Canucks and we will be taking a closer look at a few of them throughout this review. Let's now move on to the motherboard itself and the accessory package it comes with.


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