Articles: Mainboards

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The mainboard’s functionality is just like its accessories. It offers everything necessary but without any extras. Most of the features of the ASUS P5N-E SLI are implemented through the employed chipset.

The mainboard supports a full range of LGA775 processors, including dual-core and quad-core CPUs from the Core 2 series. Moreover, we have no doubt the mainboard is ready for the upcoming CPUs with a 1333MHz FSB despite the lack of an official announcement. We are sure it supports such CPUs because of the mainboard’s overclocking results and because it uses the C55 SPP (in the nForce 680i SLI chipset this North Bridge supports the upcoming FSB officially).

So, we don’t see any reason why the ASUS P5N-E SLI cannot be used with the upcoming CPUs.

The ASUS P5N-E SLI doesn’t differ much from the ASUS Striker Extreme, for example, when it comes to working with memory. The C55 SPP allows setting the frequency of DDR2 SDRAM with divisors relative to the FSB frequency (there are not so many divisors available, though: 1:2, 5:8, 3:4 and 1:1 FSB:DRAM) as well as quasi-asynchronously. In the quasi-asynchronous mode the mainboard’s BIOS Setup allows entering any memory frequency value from 400 to 2600MHz, but the real frequency is set up by using an appropriate divisor selected from the extended set available in the asynchronous mode.

Although Nvidia promised some limitations concerning EPP technology in the nForce 650i SLI chipset, the ASUS P5N-E SLI supports EPP without any problems.

The mainboard’s two PCI Express x16 slots allow uniting a pair of installed graphics cards into a single graphics subsystem. In SLI mode both slots work as PCI Express x8. If only one graphics card is installed, the first slot works as PCI Express x16 and the second is disabled. The operation mode of the graphical slots is selected in an old and primitive way, by means of a switch card.

Thanks to the nForce 430 South Bridge, the ASUS P5N-E SLI mainboard has eight USB 2.0 ports, four SATA-300 ports (with support for 3Gbps data-transfer rates, NCQ and RAID), two Parallel ATA-133 channels, and a Gigabit Ethernet port.

These features are complemented by means of a VIA VT6308P controller that provides two IEEE1394 ports and a JMicron JMB360 chip that provides an additional external eSATA port (ASUS calls it SATA On-the-Go ).

The ASUS P5N-E SLI mainboard offers six-channel sound through a HD codec Realtek ALC833. Although this is an eight-channel codec, only six channels are wired on the mainboard. This codec is an inexpensive solution and its support for EAX 2.0 is inferior to codecs from Analog Devices that ASUS installs on its more expensive mainboards.

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