Asus P5K P35 Socket 775 Motherboard
Board Layout & Features
Board Layout & Features
Right from taking the P5K out of the packaging you can tell that it has been based heavily around its elder P5B brother. This certainly isn't a bad thing as the P5B was a very well designed board that avoided many of the layout issues other manufacturers seem to be plagued with.
From the image above we can see that the 8-Pin EPS-12v connector has been placed at the very top left of the board, keeping any cables trainling across the board to a minimum. The 24-Pin ATX connector has been placed just below the floppy connector found on the top right - and some fairly basic cable management should allow for the PSU's ATX cable to route around the motherboard without causing any problems.
The heatpipe cooling system covers both the northbridge, southbridge and one set of mosfets to the left of the CPU socket. At the top of the board is a lonesome passive aluminium (copper coloured) heatsink that cools another bank of mosfets. This cooler seems to be a bit of an after-thought by Asus as it is a slightly different colour to the rest of the cooling system, and could have easily been included in the heatpipe circuit.
At first glance, expansion on the P5K seems to be fairly evenly weighted with a total of 4 PCI-E and 3 PCI slots. However, after taking into consideration that adding a dual-slot GPU to each of the PEG slots will leave you with only 1 free PCI slot, the P5K appears to be more weighted towards the use of PCI-E add-in cards.
This could be seen as a bad move by Asus, but hopefully with the increasing trickle of PCI-E 1x cards entering the market, this may not be a problem for very long.
As already shown in the specs on page 1, the P5K comes with a total of 6x SATA and 1x PATA headers. I was quite disappointed to see the P5K not using the 'angled' ports found on the Asus Commando that allow for the cables to be plugged in at a more convenient 90° angle. In fact, due to the closeness of the SATA headers to the first PEG slot, there could be some clearance issues when using the 8800Ultra with its stock full-length cooler.
Despite the use of heatsinks on the mosfets around the socket area, Asus seem to have avoided any major clearance issues. The P5K should have no problems accomodating any of the latest waterblocks or over-sized air cooling solutions, and furthermore, the heatsinks are all easily removable should you need the extra space.
One thing I did find rather strange was the bank of mosfets left un-cooled at the back of the board. Many manufacturers use low-profile heatsinks to cool these components, and I was rather disappointed to see Asus not providing any kind of cooling solution for components that could essentially affect the boards stability when overclocked.
The P5K keeps things rather modern on the I/O panel with the only one legacy port for a PS2 keyboard. This is a great idea considering I can't count the number of times my USB keyboard hasn't played nice in the BIOS or hasn't been detected during a motherboard swap-out.
Also on the panel is a total of 6 USB ports, 2 eSATA ports connected to the Jmicron controller, a single Firewire port and the 8-channel ADI integrated soundcard.
All in all, a very complete and well thought out arrangement of ports - and perfect for those of us with lots of USB devices!
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