While the birth of Intel's new Conroe architecture has caused a stir across the computing world, there is another story that is likely to do the same. The well-known motherboard manufacturers ASUS and Gigabyte recently founded a joint venture.
This is great news not only for the motherboard market, but also for the entire computer sub-industry. When it comes to motherboards, ASUS and Gigabyte are among the first names that come to mind, not to mention that they are also some of the most important names in the graphics card industry.
I won't go into more detail about the merger since I have a different agenda, but I will say I will do anything if this joint venture leads to the further development of motherboards like the one I am testing here today! The new P5W DH Deluxe is the third ASUS motherboard developed with the Intel 975x chipset. It is definitely the best version yet. Given the good previous versions, this is quite the claim.
This latest version is also very different from previous 975x motherboards in that it appears to be tailored to everyone's needs. And when I say everyone, I mean everyone who is willing to put $ 250 on a motherboard. For those who can manage the price, they will surely enjoy everything this motherboard has to offer. The P5W DH Deluxe was developed for the new Intel Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors and has a number of functions that make it a workstation, gaming platform, small office / home office computer or hub of a home theater system make suitable.
While features like ATI CrossFire and Core 2 processor support suggest that the P5W DH Deluxe could be the ultimate gaming platform, this motherboard offers even more. As technologies such as LCD televisions are on the rise very quickly, the demand for HTPCs (Home Theater Personal Computers) is increasing dramatically. ASUS hopes that features like the DH remote control, WiFi-AP and MP3-In will then become useful and that the P5W DH Deluxe will be more than a motherboard for gamers.
Other impressive board functions include a total of seven serial ATAII ports, including an external one. The 8-channel Realtek ALC882M High Definition Audio codec is another welcome release of the P5W DH Deluxe. There is an integrated WiFi AP and two Marvell Gigabit LAN controllers. The connectivity of the board is limited by two Firewire ports and eight USB 2.0 ports.
As you would expect on a high-end ASUS motherboard, the P5W DH Deluxe comes in impressive packaging that almost feels like you're getting your money's worth. The physical design, cooling and layout of the P5W DH Deluxe are also very impressive and given the chance there is really nothing I would change. The 8-phase power circuit is cooled by a large number of copper fins, which are connected to the Northbridge chip via a heat pipe.
In fact, the north bridge is connected to the copper fins, where the heat is then distributed across the back of the case. The typical black ASUS board looks pretty good, as do the numerous color-coded connectors that are spread across the board. The color-coded connectors make installation a breeze and I'm sure beginners will really appreciate their presence.
ASUS has added a feature they call EZ-Backup. With this function you can back up the data on your hard drives via the SATAII interface and RAID0. The controller chip actually comes from Silicon Image and is a member of the SteelVine memory series. The version of the P5W DH Deluxe is the Sil4723, which only supports two hard drives. The Sil4723 is more of a bridge chip than a controller. Note that the ICH7R only offers three SATAII ports on the P5W DH Deluxe. This is because one of the ports is connected to the Sil4723 chip, which then splits it into two ports for the EZ backup function. Everything is hardware controlled, so no complex software is required. ASUS has also integrated the JMicron JMB363 controller, which supports two additional SATAII ports, one of which is mounted on the I / O panel.