Features of the ASUS P4PE - Part 2
Broadcom Networking @ 1Gbps
While we have seen this chip used on boards before, this is our first hands on experience with the Broadcom chip. Gigabit Ethernet is not becoming the new selling point of motherboards since its hard to impress with Firewire onboard or ATA RAID now, new features need to be added in order to keep up with the masses. Gigabit networking is certainly what will give a new boost. With Gigabit over copper now possible, and the price of Gigabit hubs dropping, you will now be able to afford extreme high speed networking possibilities.
Firewire - 6307
To add some connectivity spice to the P4PE, ASUS have included a two port Firewire expansion system. ASUS have elected to use the VT6307 chip which supports a maximum of 2 ports. Why the 6306 wasn't used is a mystery, since the latter supports three ports - one port is a standard 6 pin Firewire connector and the second is a 4 pin that is commonly used for DV connections.
RAID - Serial and Parallel
With Serial ATA being the newest selling point with motherboards supporting onboard Serial ATA ports, ASUS have come to the party with the P4PE. Boasting the new promise SATA150 controller chip, you get two Serial ATA ports and one Parallel ATA port as standard. While you can only have one device per Serial ATA port using parallel converters, you can have two on the normal channel; giving you a total of four IDE drives for connecting in RAID arrays.
EZ Plug, No P4 PSU? ASUS to the rescue
If you are an AMD fan and have just purchased a new CPU and motherboard and are hoping to shove it into your existing old AMD gutted PC but don't have a P4 PSU, on 99% of P4 boards you would be in trouble unless you buy a converter or a new PSU. ASUS solve this upgrade problem with EZ Plug. EZ plug is a standard 4 pin Molex power connector that is soldered onto the motherboard. This allows the 4 pin connector to supply the P4 with the extra power that is needed from the 12v rails.
If you have a P4 PSU, you can use the 4 pin connector located on the board to save yourself an extra 4 pin connector.
BIOS and Overclocking
The BIOS of the ASUS motherboard is designed like most of ASUS's new boards, with the Award 6 BIOS. Resembling that of an older style AMI BIOS, you can find all the overclocking options you need. Under the Advanced Options menu you are confronted with memory settings and overclocking.
Vcore can be altered from 1.1v up to 1.85v in 0.025v increments for maximum power.
Vmem can be altered from 2.5v up to 2.8v. AGP and dividers can be locked to 66/33 to keep the AGP and PCI stable at overclocked speeds. FSB can be changed from 100Mhz up to 200Mhz in 1Mhz increments. With all this said we were able to run the ASUS board at 165Mhz FSB fully stable @ 1.775v with a DDR voltage of 2.8v.