ASUS has used the same black PCB that it has used for its deluxe and premium series of boards over the last year; in fact, the PCB is almost identical to the P5B Deluxe with some subtle changes. The layout is a full ATX with rather good placement of connectors and headers.
With regards to the power connectors, the 24-pin power header is located behind the DIMM sockets along with the FDD connector. The 4/8 pin CPU power header is located at the top left of the board behind the PS2 ports. The single IDE port is located below the 24-pin power connector just behind the 6 SATA ports.
The CPU socket is extremely clean of high rise components making the installation of large aftermarket heatsinks and water cooling a breeze - it's starting to look like ASUS have really tried to make the P5B-E Plus motherboard one for overclockers and tweakers. It is also nice and quiet making use of Stack Cool 2 which allows for a fanless design.
The CPU is powered by a 4 phase Digital VRM setup which is more than adequate for a Core 2 setup, but if you have a Pentium 4 series CPU, it's not quite enough for extreme overclocking. The good news is that the board uses 100% conductive polymer capacitors which are designed to be more durable under extreme conditions.
The rear I/O setup hasn't changed from ASUS in about 6 months. ASUS has been the first company to fully support e.SATA and all of their high-end boards come with at least one e.SATA port on the rear I/O, which they must be applauded for. ASUS also provides for Digital Audio enthusiasts with its RCA and Toslink SPDIF output ports for the onboard HD audio codec.
ASUS has a good array of expansion slots, however, it has short changed us on one feature that the P5B Deluxe had and that its direct competitor, the Gigabyte DQ6 does have, that being AMD Crossfire support. There is a single PCI Express x16 slot at the top for graphics cards. A PCI Express x4 slot sits where the second PCI Express x16 slot sat on the P5B Deluxe - in fact, you can see the solder points on the board for it, since it is the same PCB. Unfortunately the slot isn't a backless type, so you cannot install a graphics card in it, unless you do some creative modding to the slot.
For the rest of the expansion there is a single PCI Express x1 slot and 2 PCI slots.
The onboard features that ASUS include through extra chips are a Jmicron PCI Express based 2 port SATA and single port PATA controller chip. Since the ICH8 series have no IDE channel, companies need to include this chip for ATAPI devices such as DVD ROM drives. This chip also controls the e.SATA port on the rear I/O and the internal SATA port just below the rear I/O ports.
ASUS also includes a Marvell Gigabit PCI Express LAN controller and a Texas Instruments PCI based Firewire chip just in case you didn't have enough onboard features already.
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