ASUS P5AD2 Premium Wireless Edition
- Package and Contents
When it comes to enthusiast motherboards, ASUS is amongst the top 3 in terms of performance, overclocking features and additional features. The P5AD2 Premium Wireless Edition is the top of the I925X motherboards that ASUS provides and the bundle says it all.
ASUS packs two user manual in, one has all the motherboard settings as well as the additional onboard RAID descriptions and the other manual is for the onboard WiFi with settings and configuration for the Wireless Software Access Point setup and various other settings. For addition headers a USB/Game port expansion bracket, Internal SATA to External Serial ATA adapter bracket (identical to the one Gigabyte has used in the past) and a LAN/Firewire adapter bracket are all included. Data cables consist of three IDE and one FDD cable, four Serial ATA data cables and four Molex to SATA power adapters and to top it all off a unidirectional Wireless Antenna.
- The Motherboard
ASUS has done a fantastic job on the layout of the P5AD2 Premium Wireless Edition. First off power ports are in ideal spots. The 24 pin ATX connector along with the ICH6 IDE and FDD ports are located behind the DIMM slots. The 4 pin CPU voltage connector is located at the top left hand corner behind the PS/2 ports, similar to the placement ABIT uses on the AG8.
ASUS uses one PCI Express x16, four PCI legacy and two PCI Express x1 slots for add in peripheral devices. The two DDR-2 channels are marked with yellow slots for Channel A and black for Channel B. Supporting DDR-2 600 memory you can expect over 9GB/s of memory bandwidth.
ASUS includes three Ethernet controllers onboard this model - two Gigabit and one Wireless. The two Gigabit controllers are a Marvel 88W8310-BAN PCI Express x1 chip and the Marvel 88E8001 PCI controller chip. Only one LAN header is onboard, with the other being used by a PCI expansion slot adapter bracket that also houses the Firewire B ports. If you are looking at using the two chips, it would be best to keep Gigabit traffic on the PCI Express controller chip as this won't saturate the PCI bus like the 8001 controller will.
As mentioned the P5ADS supports Firewire B. The only chipset to support this is the Texas Instruments IRR1394b controller chip. A two chip set is used; the larger one supports the Firewire A protocol with the smaller chip interfacing with the larger one to give the Firewire B support.
For ASUS, the standard four SATA and two IDE drive support isn't enough for its flagship motherboard. To this end, ASUS has added a Silicon Image four port SATA controller chip and the ITE IT8212F two channel IDE controller chip. Both these support RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD, supporting a max of four drives per controller - that's eight in total, added to the existing you get 14 drives total. However, unlike the VIA IDE chip, the ITE RAID controller can't accept ATAPI devices.
Over the past four years ASUS has pushed the overclocking sector to the extreme to take on the king of the clock, ABIT. ASUS has re-designed their BIOS to be something of a unique BIOS setup, rather than using the standard blue menu BIOS most other motherboards use. Under the Advanced tab, the Jumperfree Settings submenu holds the overclocking settings. When you open it initially you look and wonder where everything is. You are first greeted with AI Overclocking. This has Manual, Auto, Standard and Overclock Profile - when set to manual all the other features appear.
FSB range is from 200MHz up to a maximum of 400MHz in 1MHz increments. When pushing this motherboard we managed 254MHz which is a very impressive overclock.
This motherboard is the first we have seen with the ability to manually control the PCI Express frequency, though without any software or hardware to verify it is locking, we can't be 100%. Settings range from 90MHz up to 120MHz in 1MHz increments (100MHz is the default for PCI Express). PCI divider locks are also implemented to lock the PCI bus to 33MHz, as overclocking the PCI bus is certainly undesirable.
Memory voltage allows a very health range from 1.8v up to 2.4v in 0.1v increments. This is the second most voltage adjustments we have seen and does give DDR-2 modules a healthy boost in overclocking situations.
Chipset voltage was quite limited with this BIOS revision, only 1.5 and 1.6v are selectable, with even more, we possibly could hit faster speeds still. CPU voltage is quite generous with settings from 1.4v up to 1.6v in 0.025v increments. This is the same range for both Prescott and Northwood CPU's. FSB Termination voltage is the first time we have seen this. After doing research is runs the actual voltage supplied to the CPU to Northbridge bus, selections are from 1.2v or 1.4v.
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