Asus P5B-E Plus socket 775 Motherboard p965
Close Look - Asus P5B-E Plus Motherboard
The board itself
Asus has made another board with a black PCB. This is good to see as black PCB's look great in a case with a side window. The colours on the board look good in general and you can clearly differentiate the various ports and parts from one another. We notice that the board doesn't have any heatpipe system like the P5B Deluxe, but it is also fanless which is good to see. Bear in mind though, that you may have to direct a case fan the way of the North Bridge when overclocking.
It's good to see that Asus have chosen to use high-quality conductive polymer capacitors on the board throughout, giving us a hint that overclocking may prove to be pretty nice. The general layout of the board is pretty nice and most niggles seem to be missing. There were a couple of issues that I noticed. One was that the battery is right below the PCI-E slot so if you have a major overclock failure or have to reset CMOS the hard way then it's tough to get to it (though it can be done if you have a small PCI-E graphics card). I did notice something a bit more major in that the CPU area seems a bit high on capacitors. I just managed to squeeze the Scythe Infinity that I have for testing onto the board, but others with more difficult-to-fit coolers may experience problems.
As you see in the first picture, the caps are pretty close in. 8 PIN power for the EATX12v connector is used, although by blocking off one half of it Asus make it clear you can use a 4PIN connector in there too. At this point I'll point out that the board uses 4 phase power, which should keep from too much fluctuation during overclocking.
With this being a single-GPU P965 based board Asus have managed to implement 1 x PCI-e x16 slot 3 x PCI slots, 1 x PCI-e x4 slot and a PCI-e x1 slot. This gives you plenty of IO options, although another normal PCI slot may have been appreciated by those of us who see the utter lack of PCI-e x4 and below cards out there. The extra JMicron SATA port can be seen here and it seems to be in a better place than on most boards towards the top edge of the board.
Another 6 SATA ports gives you a total of 7 to play with: not bad for a board in this price range. The main IDE port is turned on it's side to face out, great for wiring. We also see top-right the closeness of the PCI-e x16 lane and the CMOS battery.
The RAM sits far enough away from the CPU area to be able to have any height module installed in there. Notice the 24PIN power and FDD connector sitting at the edge of the board...more cable routing good news.
Overall I'm pretty happy that the board is well laid out, with just the couple of minor niggles mentioned. Asus have done a nice job with the layout and have avoided a lot of the usual pitfalls that some motherboard makers have suffered from.
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