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ASUS P5AD2-E Premium – a Motherboard Based on Intel 925XE Chipset

April 25, 2005



  • Intel 925XE chipset

Another top motherboard from ASUS, based on the top Intel’s chipset, is just cut out for overclocking (ASUS has always paid special attention to this issue). P5AD2-E Premium is stuffed with technologies that allow to raise system performance significantly in a very fast way without any fatal consequences for the hardware. Note the dynamic overclocking function AI NOS. All the above said makes ASUS P5AD2-E a real boon for an overclocker. We should also note that it's probably the most functional product on the market, astonishing by the abundance of proprietary technologies and well thought-out bundle.






It goes without saying that the PCB layout, stuffed with controllers and connectors, leaves much to be desired. But you cannot actually write it off as a shortcoming — if you buy such a system, you can surely spend a couple of minutes to lay and connect the cables. +5V Standby on the motherboard is indicated by a green LED — you must not touch the "innards" of the system until the power on the motherboard is off. The 4-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates four 1000 uF capacitors and several ones of a lesser capacitance. The motherboard also contains voltage regulators for PCIEx16 (two 820 uF capacitors) and memory (four 820 uF capacitors, reinforced by L elements).

Note that we reviewed Wireless Edition of the motherboard with a wireless LAN controller and a connector for a corresponding antenna. Motherboard dimensions — 305x245 mm (full-sized ATX, nine-screw mount, all motherboard edges are firmly fixed). The Winbond W83627EHF-A chip is used to monitor:

  • CPU voltage, +3.3V, + 5V, +12V
  • RPM of 3 fans
  • CPU temperature (by the embedded CPU sensor)
  • Board temperature (by the on-board sensor)

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors:

  • Processor socket (Socket LGA775, supports Intel Pentium 4/Celeron, Prescott-T, Pentium 4 Extreme Edition)
  • 4 x DDR2 SDRAM DIMM (up to 4 GB DDR2 533/711)
  • 1 x PCI Express (x16) (with a latch)
  • 2 x PCI Express (x1)
  • 3 x PCI
  • Power connectors: 24-pin ATX and 4-pin for 12 V
  • 1 x FDD
  • 3 x IDE (Parallel ATA) — one of them is in the chipset (for two ATA100 devices), the other two operate thanks to an additional controller, connected disks (4 x ATA133) can form RAID 0, 1, 0+1, or JBOD
  • 8 x SATA (Serial ATA) — four of them are in the chipset, connected disks can form two independent RAID 0, 1 or Matrix RAID the other four connectors operate due to an additional controller; connected disks can form RAID 0, 1, 10, and 5 (software)
  • 2 connectors for brackets with 4 additional USB (2.0) ports
  • 2 connectors for the bracket with GigaWire ports
  • Connector for a bracket with a network socket
  • Connector for a bracket with a Game port
  • Connector for a bracket with a COM port
  • Connector for a chassis intrusion sensor
  • 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
  • Headers for additional Audio-Outs and S/PDIF-In
  • 4 fan headers (all with rpm control, one 4-pin header for CPU cooler).

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)




  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • LPT, 1 x COM, S/PDIF (coaxial), S/PDIF (optical)
  • 2 x USB and 1 x IEEE 1394a
  • 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • 6 x Audio (Mic-In, Line-In, Front, Center/Sub, Rear, Side)
  • Jack for a WiFi-b/g adapter antenna (with an activity indicator)




Package Contents

  • Package: standard design box of the AI Proactive series
  • Documentation: User's manual and WiFi-b/g adapter guide in English
  • Cables: 2 x ATA 66/100/133, 1 x ATA33, and an FDD cable — all black with a company logo, as well as 10 Serial ATA cables (with three PCPlug-SATA power converters to power six devices)
  • Rear panel bracket with 2 external connectors for SATA devices
  • Rear panel bracket with two GigaWire ports and one RJ-45 connector (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • Rear panel bracket with 2 x USB and a Game port
  • Rear panel bracket with a COM port
  • Antenna for WiFi-b/g adapter (only for Wireless Edition)
  • Rear I/O shield
  • 2 CDs with software:
    • Motherboard drivers
    • DirectX 9.0b
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    • PC-cillin 2002
    • ASUS AI Booster
    • ASUS Live Update
    • ASUS PCProbe
    • ASUS Screensaver
    • Winbond Voice Editor
    • InterVideo WinDVD Platinum 5
    • InterVideo WinDVD Creator Platinum 2
    • InterVideo WinRip 2





Integrated Controllers

  • Audio, based on the HDA codec C-Media CMI 9880 supporting 7.1 surround sound audio with front line-in/out and S/PDIF-In/Out jacks
  • 3 network controllers, 2 of them are based on Marvell 88E8053-NNC chips supporting 10/100/1000 Mbit/sec Base-T (PCIE Gigabit Ethernet), and the third one (wireless LAN adapter) is based on the Marvell 88W 8310-BAN chip supporting up to 54Mbit/sec WiFi-b/g operating speed (IEEE 802.11b/g).
  • SATA RAID, based on Silicon Image SiI3114CT176 chip supporting RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 (software) and JBOD, 4 SATA connectors for 4 devices
  • IDE RAID based on the ITE IT8212F chip supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD and two ATA133 connectors for 4 devices
  • FireWire/GigaWire, based on Texas Instruments TSB82AA2 and TSB81BA3 chips supporting 2 GigaWire ports (FireWire-800, IEEE 1394b) and 1 FireWire.

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16bit, 44 kHz using the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.4 test application and the Terratec DMX 6fire sound card:

Frequency response (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
+0.20, -0.67
Good
Noise level, dB (A):
-85.9
Good
Dynamic range, dB (A):
86.0
Good
THD, %:
0.040
Good
Intermodulation, %:
0.053
Good
Channel crosstalk, dB:
-83.9
Very good
IMD at 10 kHz, %:
0.197
Average

General performance: Good (Details).

Proprietary technologies

  • ASUS Stack Cool (passive cooling of electronic components in the CPU voltage converter circuit, heatsinks on both sides of the PCB)
  • ASUS Intelligence (AI) Proactive technology — automatic system overclocking
  • ASUS WiFi-g (on-board WiFi-b/g network adapter allowing to setup a software access point)
  • ASUS NOS (dynamic CPU overclocking when the load increases and returning to the initial state when idle)
  • ASUS CrashFree2 BIOS (an option to restore BIOS automatically from a floppy or bootable CD even when the data in the flash-chip is damaged)
  • ASUS C.P.R. (CPU Parameter Recall — when the motherboard cannot startup because of overclocking, it automatically rolls back to default BIOS settings)
  • ASUS Q-Fan 2 Technology (automatic fan speed depending on the temperature)
  • ASUS POST Reporter (voice messaging about system startup problems, custom voice messages)
  • ASUS Multi-language BIOS (language selection for BIOS Setup)
  • ASUS MyLogo 2 (display your own logo at system startup)
  • Hyper Path 2 — automatic memory overclocking technology

Settings

Jumpers and switches Clear CMOS jumper
Jumpers to enable system wake up on USB devices
PS/2 keyboard power jumper
In BIOS v2.51 from AMI Memory timings
+
CAS Latency, RAS Precharge, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Act. To Precharge Delay, Write Recovery Time
Memory frequency selection
+
Auto, DDR2-400, DDR2-533, DDR2-600
PCI-E bus setup
-
PCI bus setup
-
PCI/PCI-E frequency divider setup
+
PCI - E = Auto , 90—150 MHz at 1 MHz steps;
PCI = 33.33 MHz, Auto (modify in accord with the PCI - E frequency), CPU (modify in accord with the FSB frequency)
PCI IRQ manual assignment
-
FSB frequency setup
+
100—400 MHz at 1 MHz steps
CPU multiplier
+
x8—x28
CPU core voltage control
+
1.3625—1.7V at 0.0125V steps
Memory voltage control
+
1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1 V
Chipset voltage control
+
Auto, 1.5 and 1.6 V
PCI-E bus voltage control
-

We used BIOS 1004, the latest available BIOS version at the time of our tests. We have unverified data that the performance is much higher with BIOS 1003.

Performance:

According to the test results (the board has been tested with disabled overclocking functions) ASUS P5AD2-E demonstrates good results, quite expectable from a high-end motherboard. We liked very much the irreproachable stable operation and the lack of any glitches. Differences between motherboards' test results are insignificant, so it's hard to say for sure which motherboard is faster. And a couple of seconds must not play a pivotal role when choosing one of these motherboards. Note that this motherboard features the proprietary ASUS Intelligence (AI) Proactive technology, which allows increasing the system performance significantly without much hassle.

Test
Foxconn 925XE7AA (DDR2 533)
ASUS P5AD2-E Premium (DDR2 533)
Abit Fatality AA8XE (DDR2 533)
MSI 925XE Neo Platinum Edition (DDR2 533)
Gigabyte GA-8AENXP-D (DDR2 533)
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec
7:53
7:53
7:33
7:34
7:18
Memory read rate, MB/sec
2978
3021
2995
2992
3421
Memory write rate, MB/sec
1246
1362
1230
1220
1558
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec
5:25
5:43
5:24
5:25
5:15
MPEG 4 (DIVX) Encoding, min:sec
3:57
4:14
3:56
3:56
3:51
Processing images in Photoshop, min:sec
35:20
35:16
34:30
34:36
33:05
Unreal Tournament 2004 (Fast@800x600x32), fps
69
67
69
68
72
Unreal Tournament 2004 (High@1280x1024x32), fps
64
63
65
64
68

Conclusion:

ASUS P5AD2-E Premium is an expensive motherboard, which is based on the top chipset and stuffed with features; it provides a non-trivial overclocking capacity, which makes it a tasty morsel for any overclocker. In other respects, this model is much like its predecessor — ASUS P5AD2 Premium.

References








We used the following power supply unit for our tests:
Thermaltake Purepower 680W

Senchihin Vladimir (sench@ixbt.com)
April, 2005.

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