iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS P5Q-VM Motherboard

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We got this very motherboard from ASUS by chance. But as we wanted to research features of the Intel G45 chipset, this model came in handy. However, our readers should keep in mind that the ASUS P5Q-VM has a modification (P5Q-EM, based on the same chipset) that differs only in the added HDMI. So it's more attractive for common users. The only differences between these models are HDMI, optical S/PDIF-Out, FireWire and RAID for chipset-based SATA ports (in the P5Q-EM), so everything written about the ASUS P5Q-VM in this review also applies to the second motherboard from ASUS with Intel G45.


This motherboard has typical exterior and functionality for models with integrated graphics; it's a standard microATX motherboard, not overloaded with controllers and connectors. This PCB layout has practically no drawbacks. We have only one ideological gripe with it -- the single PCI slot (however, it is not blocked by bulky expansion cards). Trust me, it's really weird to see this motherboard equipped with PATA (that's OK) and FDD(!) together with PCIEx1 expansion slots.

It goes without saying that the board lacks diagnostic LEDs (except for the one indicating power), buttons, intricate installations. You will even have to reset BIOS in the old way -- by closing contacts with a jumper. However, it will hardly scare away potential owners of this cheap motherboard.

So what's on the PCB? First of all, there is a high-quality 4-phase CPU voltage regulator with four MOSFETs in each channel, so you don't have to pay extra attention to their cooling (each of them does not channel much). The board uses only high-quality polymeric capacitors made in Japan (Fujitsu, now Nichicon). It's not the most rigged-up motherboard, but it guarantees operating stability for any processor. It's really good, especially considering its price.

Frankly speaking, this chipset cooling system looks too optimistically modest for the 24-W Northbridge. This bridge still fails to overheat (Tcase max 103°C). But we'd feel much better to see a heatsink on it, not this poor installation made of corrugated aluminum, pressed to the PCB with two plastic latches. In the long run, bad heat removal from the chipset results in higher heat release through metal layers of the PCB, which heats near-chipset components lowering their service life. It goes without saying that the heatsink gets burning hot, so it looks like overclocking has nothing to do with ASUS P5Q-VM.

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