Asus P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @n Socket 775 Motherboard
Asus have followed the recent trend of having rather large and complicated heatpipe systems cooling just about everything on the board. There is an array of heatpipes and fins, but unlike the RoG Maximus, there is no appearance of Asus's water-blocks.
The colour co-ordinating is easy to make sense of and the black PCB makes a nice first impression. The only thing I could say is that there are a lot of colours on the board and so it's not lent itself so much to a case with a window. The general layout is pretty good with almost everything sitting at the edges of the board. With 90° flipped SATA and IDE connectors, Asus have shown some thought has gone into the design. One thing I would make note of was the fairly large distance across the board that some of the I/O connectors have been placed, meaning a bit of a stretch for some case wiring.
The ring of heatpipes around the CPU area make the P5E3 feel a little crowded. After trying a few of our test heatsinks on the board I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was room for even the huge Scythe Infinity (Mugen).
The memory area is well organised, although it does look a little close to the heatpipe arrangement. As I mentioned before, Asus have given a nice block of 90° SATA ports. It's also good to see that the battery is away from the primary graphics card.
At this point I am going to mention the motherboard cooling again. Asus have once again implemented retention mechanisms for the heatsinks used on the board. This is a good move and should keep everything in place.
Getting onto the PCI and PCI-e slots, Asus have gone with 3 full size PCI-e slots, 2 x PCI slots and 2 x PCI-e x 1 slots. This should be enough for even the most packed system, although some may lament the lack of PCI-e x 1 devices to put in those gaps.
As usual, Asus have done a great job laying the board out. Only a couple of minor niggles sit in my mind, although that huge heatsink configuration may be a bigger issue for some.
There's a couple of things I miss as an enthusiast from the RoG Maximus:
* On board power/reset switches
* External CMOS reset
* POST LED readout
Still, this is a "lifestyle" board and as such is not aimed at the same audience.