ASUS' P5E3 motherboard turned some heads when it launched in September, bringing onboard WiFi 'n' and a quick-boot Linux distro that gave easy access to media and internet browsing without needing to load up Windows. It's neither cheap nor simple, but ASUS was counting on their target audience of enthusiasts and power users to recognise the benefits of having Intel’s X38 chipset, Dual PCI Express 2.0 x16 lanes and support for DDR3 1800MHz dual-channel memory. HEXUS picked one up and set to work running it through its paces to see whether this really is a fitting flagship for the interminable tinkerer.
Were they impressed? Kinda. The P5E3 Deluxe bundle brings a lot to the party - ASUS add in a pair of WiFi antenna, their clever Q-connector which makes hooking up rear panel ports less finger-threatening, as well as a decent software bundle (albeit with quite a few trials rather than full versions) - and the three year warranty is transferable between owners as long as they keep the original receipt. However, it's the missing hard-core features that give HEXUS the problem:
"Is this the ultimate board for your Intel LGA775 adventures, then? The answer is no, and the reasoning lies with the underlying chipset above all else. We'd love to see truly independent CPU-to-RAM settings, SLI support - if it ever comes - would be great, and the huge price premium for quality DDR3 makes an upgrade to X38 an expensive business"
They go on to say that, if these features aren't on your wish-list anyway, then you should certainly consider the P5E3; at £198 ($403) though, it's a lot of money for something that doesn't tick all the boxes.
ASUS P5E3 Deluxe [HEXUS]