ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review :: The Board

01-06-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Doc Overclock
ASUS P5AD2-E Premium Spec Sheet
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Part NumberP5AD2-E Premium
ManufacturerASUS
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetIntel 925XE Express ICH6R
North BridgeIntel 82925XE MCH
SocketLGA775 Socket
Processor TypesPentium 4
Number of CPUs1
Hyper-Threading SupportYes
Front Side Bus1066/800MHz
Memory TypeDDR2
Memory ChannelsDual
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP None
South BridgeIntel 82801FR ICH6R
Audio8-channel
IDE100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA1.5 GB/s
RAID0, 1, 0+1
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireNone
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
  • 3 x PCI
  • 2 x PCI Express x1
  • 1 x PCI Express x16
BIOSAMI
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

Intel recently upped the ante so to speak in terms of how their system bus speed performed and the 925XE chipset was introduced to the market. A lot of hype went into the original LGA775 launch, but the real news lies with this chipset combined with the 3.46GHz EE. The 925XE chipset supports a 533/800/1066MHz FSB and will work with any of the LGA775 P4/Celeron CPUs currently available on the market, including both Rev 04B and 04A processors. Memory bandwidth is at 400/533MHz depending on what speed memory you use and there are four available 240-pin DIMM slots supporting up to 4GB of DDR2 Non-ECC memory. The chipset may change, but some things just seem to be the same as the 16X PCI Express graphics interface just like its AGP predecessor blocks the first two slots of the memory banks when using a large VGA card.


ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review LGA775 ZIF

LGA775 ZIF

ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review NB Heatsink

NB Heatsink


Optical and disc drive support is very exceptional on this board as it features an abundance of options that offer the user vast flexibility in their choice of system configuration. The ICH6 South Bridge provides four SATA150 controllers that can be configured in either the RAID 0 or RAID 1 arrays (Featuring Intel's Matrix Technology with Native Command Queuing) and a single 33/66/100 PATA connection, but that is just the beginning. In addition to the SB there is also the Silicon Image 3114R RAID controller that allows four more SATA150 controllers that offers RAID 0, 1, 10, 5 (RAID 5 software patch available), but no WHQL certification as of yet and the ITE RAID provides two channels of PATA 33/66/100/133 featuring JBOD and RAID 0, 1, 0+1 support. You can choose to boot your system to either the Silicon Images RAID/ ITE or to Intel's ICH6 depending on how you configure your system. One of the PATA slots is angled, which is supposed to be an ergonomic feature, but really offers no real user-friendly advantage other than keeping the cable away from the other PATA controller.


ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review Memory

Memory

ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review Angled PATA

Angled PATA


Both LAN and Wireless LAN options are available on the P5AD2-E. Standard LAN is provided by the Marvell 88E8053 Gigabit LAN Controller that provides two RJ45 connections, one located on the rear I/O and the other via an included cable that attaches to headers on the board and occupies on slot on the rear of your enclosure. Wireless LAN is available and is based off the IEEE 802.11g standard, which is backwards compatible with the 11 Mbps 802.11b standard as well featuring Wireless bridge, a.k.a. WDS or wireless repeater technology and comes with its own external antennae for better connectivity. The external antenna also connects to the board via its on-board coaxial connection that is located right below the rear I/O and is very simple to hook up. Home based WiFi is still not my favorite way of connection as it does inevitably leave open more ways for a hacker to get into your system, and so in that light I still use wire based LAN in an effort to maintain the integrity of my domain. As technology evolves and matures in respect to security using WiFi, I am sure my opinion will change.


ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review WiFi Header

WiFi Header

ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review WiFi Antennae

WiFi Antennae


Audio has come a long way and then taken a step back due to cheaply made chipsets that have lackluster overall audio quality. Point at hand, Intel's High Definition Audio solution; this is the one technology that could be the absolute best, but fails due to chipset quality or in reality lack of it. Intel has the right idea, the right team and the right technology. Now why can't they get the right chipset? Both the C-Media and Realtek sound chips just barely translate the audio signal clean enough and warm enough to satisfy even the basic audiophile much less those of a more picky caliber. Tinny hollow sound seems to follow many wannabe sound chip vendors and just because Intel can buy the chips for under a buck they are still only undercutting their quality by a large margin doing so. Working with the Sonic Focus team taught me a few lessons, as writing presets for the Realtek chipset was a nightmare, as transferring the presets from the authorizing system to the new IAS system resulted in weak substandard reproduction of audio that just plain drove me bonkers. I finally gave up as it became an irresolvable dilemma with more stress than actual positive results.


ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review HD Audio Settings

HD Audio Settings

ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review HD Audio Information

HD Audio Information


What you do get for your on-board sound option is the C-Media High Definition Audio 8-channel CODEC that offers a Coaxial, Optical S/PDIF out on rear I/O port and features Dolby Digital Live technology. Dolby Digital Live technology is real-time encoding technology; Dolby Digital Live converts any audio signal into a Dolby Digital bitstream for transport and playback through a home theater system. With it, your PC or game console can be hooked up to your Dolby Digital-equipped audio/video receiver or digital speaker system via a single digital connection, eliminating the confusion of multiple cables and ensuring the integrity of the audio signal.

There are a total of 8 USB 2.0 ports available 4X on the rear I/O and 4X more by cable. IEEE1394 or Firewire as it is more commonly called is provided by the TI 1394b controller that offers 2 x 1394b ports running @ 800 Mbps speed and a single 1394a port running @ 400 Mbps speed. Since AGP is gone the PCI Express slot takes over as the interface socket for our VGA cards and there are two PCI 1X the new PCI standard slots available also, although currently there are still no viable product solutions to fill them yet. For now there are still three standard PCI slots so you can still add your own discreet sound card or other peripheral if you so choose. Overall the board has enough features to please even the most discriminating of users making it one of the most feature rich boards we have seen yet for Intel's LGA775 platform. The rear I/O is where you will be plugging in many of your human interface devices and barring some drastic amount of external devices you should find the amount of various ports to be substantial for almost any setup. Well it looks good so far lets move on to the rest of the review and see how well it actually performs.


ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review PCIe/PCI Slots

PCIe/PCI Slots

ASUS P5AD2-E Motherboard Review Promise SATA

Promise SATA


Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x Parallel
  • 1 x WLAN antenna jack (optional)
  • 1 x Optical + 1 x Coaxial S/PDIF Output
  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
  • 1 x PS/2 Mouse
  • 1 x RJ45
  • 4 x USB 2.0/1.1
  • 1 x IEEE1394a
  • 8-Channel Audio I/O