With the launch of Intel’s P35 chipset, ASUS promptly released seven boards for you to choose from. A few weeks ago we had taken a look at the P5K3 and were left very impressed. Given the fact that the P5K is strikingly similar in specs, we hope to be left as equally impressed.
The only real difference between the P5K and P5K3 is that the latter has a slightly more elaborate copper heatsink. I am unsure why there is a difference in coolers at all, since not much changes specs-wise. It could be for them to easier differentiate the two boards, but the DIMM slots are different colors, so that might very well blow that theory.
It’s easier to explain with pictures, so here they are:
Let’s now take a quick trip around the board. First stop, the south bridge which is passively cooled. Heat travels along the heat pipe and dissipates off the same fins that the northbridge use.
To the left of the PCI slots are three chipsets. Realtek’s RTL81100SC (LAN), JMicron (S-ATA) and ADI SoundMAX ADI1998B (7.1 High-Definition audio).
For slots, we have two PCI-E 16x which can be used for two video cards in Crossfire, 2x PCI-E 1x and 3 classic PCI slots. PCI is not a technology that will die off soon, so it’s good to see three slots available. Also at the bottom of the board you can find the IEEE1394 and dual USB 2.0 connectors.
While the P5K3 had a Halloween-esque DIMM slot theme, the P5K stuck to bumblebee. Also here is an IDE and 24-Pin motherboard power connector.
Found above here is the Winbond W83627DHG chipset which handles much of the I/O for the motherboard, including PS/2 peripherals, printer, joystick, et cetera. It is also responsible for passing along the boards temperatures to you.
The copper heatsink spreads across the PWM, northbridge and finally the south bridge. They were kind enough to leave sufficient room around the socket for larger CPU coolers. The top heatsink might come close, but even the largest coolers should not hit it.
Here’s a closer look at the top heatsink, which is one of my only complaints about the boards layout. The only problem is that it’s a different style than the other heatsink, much thicker fins, while on the P5K3, it matches all around. It’s all aesthetic, but geeks like nice looking motherboards.
Finally, we have a full range of connectors to choose from. These include a PS/2 Keyboard, 6x USB 2.0, SPDIF, 2x eSATA, FireWire, 2x LAN, Audio and finally, the WiFi card.
I am pleased overall with the board and it’s layout, nothing will be compromised during installation. The only real gripe I have is that the top heatsink is different than the other two. The board should use the same exact style heatsinks as the P5K3, because they should prove more efficient overall.
No motherboard review is complete without a thorough look at the BIOS, so let’s hop right in.