As you can see, the Asus P5E3 Premium comes with the infamous heat pipe that makes its way around the board to keep things cool. Asus has placed an attractive nameplate on the heat pipe, and has also placed the AI lifestyle logo on the southbridge heatsink.
The black PCB is very attractive, as is the lack of outrageous colors that seem to plague every other board out there today. Now, I know that is subjective, but I think that this board looks classy because of the simple color scheme. It says, “I am Asus.” Let’s take a closer look…
The top right corner of the board is where we find our DDR3 slots. Just to the right of them, we have our floppy connector, as well as our 24-pin power connector. Just under the power connector, we have two of our SATA ports.
You can see that part of the heat pipe runs right along side of one of the dimm slots. It really does not affect the installation of the DDR3 dimms.
At the bottom right corner we see four more of our SATA ports, and just underneath them we have our lone IDE connector on the board. Underneath the IDE is the location of the front I/O connector pins. To the left of those, we have a power LED, the battery and our clear CMOS jumper. Right in the middle of the picture is the southbridge, which is covered by a stylishly designed heatsink.
At the bottom left of the board, we have all of our PCI and PCI-E slots that are available on the board. As you can see, the board comes with a sticker advertising the Asus Express-Gate that we will look at in just a few moments.
This board comes with two PCI slots, one x1 PCI-E slot and three x16 PCI-E slots. The two blue x16 slots both work in PCI-E 2.0 x16 mode, while the black colored x16 slot is NOT PCI-E 2.0, and only runs in x4 or x1 mode. This board does support Crossfire technology on the two blue slots.
Underneath all of these slots we have a great assortment of firewire, USB and COM headers.
Audio is powered by the ADI 1988B 8-channel Hi-Def audio codec. Dual Gigabit-lan is powered by a Marvell 88E8056 PCI-E Gigabit lan chip featuring AI Net2 and a Realtek RTL8110SC PCI Gigabit controller that also features AI Net2.
This little card that is located between the second blue PCI-E and the bottom PCI slot is the Express Gate Card that allows you to boot your computer into Express gate and have functionality of wireless or wired lan for internet access, and also certain communications capability. This is certainly handy for quickly downloading a file for flashing your BIOS and other such situations.
This top left of the P5E3 Premium is the location of the CPU socket. Though is looks very crowded with the heat pipe, it really was not a problem at all when we set up our water cooling unit. You may have issues with certain after market coolers, but probably not. As always, it is best to measure twice and cut… err… install once.
The 8-pin 12v power connector is located at the top edge of the board which is certainly an ideal placement.
Right underneath the heat pipe, we see another card that has been placed on the board. This is the WiFi-AP@n that supports draft N wireless technology. It requires a dual external antennae setup. It is a nice feature on the board, but what gives with the name? It also uses a USB interface.
The back I/O panel consists of one p2/2 port for your keyboard, six USB ports (the board supports a total of 12, 2 are used for the wireless N, so 10 total available ports including these six, and four more through the USB header), dual gigabit lan ports, firewire, two esata ports, coaxial and optical SPDIF out ports, your six audio jacks and your two wifi antennae connectors. That is a pretty good setup!