Articles: Mainboards

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And finally, the last tidbit of the accessories bundle. ASUS P5N-D North Bridge is covered with a low-profile but very wide passive heatsink:

Why this shape? It is very simple: besides the actual North Bridge, this heatsink also covers Nvidia nForce 200 chip providing PCI Express 2.0 support. It is certainly cool, but Nvidia chipsets have always been famous for high heat dissipation and this heatsink has to deal not only with a hot North Bridge but also with a bridge-chip, which may get even hotter. No matter how big the heatsink is, its surface will not be enough: additional cooling is a must here.

In our recent Intel DX48BT2 mainboard review we gave Intel credit for a rare but very useful accessory they included with their mainboard: a plastic frame for attaching an additional fan to the chipset North Bridge heatsink. ASUS didn’t stop there. They included not just the retention frame, but also a 70 x 70 x 10mm fan, which is certainly a great thing to do, considering that not every computer store carries these fans.

The fan attaches in a very simple way: just clip the frame hooks onto the heatsink and connect the fan to the nearest mainboard connector:

Although ASUS is very optimistic and suggests installing this additional fan only if you have liquid or passive processor cooler in your system, I would advise to install it anyway. Even in nominal operational mode this heatsink gets so hot that you can barely tough it. And during overclocking you will be increasing the voltages, so the thermal conditions will be even worse.

Unfortunately, things were not completely perfect. According to the mainboard monitoring data, the fan rotates at ~3800RPM and it is way too loud. ASUS Q-fan rotation speed control system allows only three settings in the BIOS: Performance, Optimal and Silent. In Performance mode the fan rotation speed drops down to about 3400RPM, which is still too loud, as well as 3000RPM in Optimal mode. In Silent mode the speed drops to 2500RPM and you can no longer hear the noise from the fan airflow, although you can hear the fan motor working.

The discussion of ASUS P5N-D accessories wouldn’t be complete without mentioning its user’s manual, brief assembly guide in several languages, a system case sticker and two CD disks with Windows and Linux drivers, ASUS utilities and additional software.

Among the additional software titles we can list Norton Internet Security 2007, Intervideo DVD Copy 5 Trial, Corel Snapfire Plus SE 1.2, as well as DirectX 9.0c and Adobe Acrobat Reader for included electronic versions of the guides and manual.

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