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Home > Hardware Reviews > PC Parts

Tuesday, July 17, 2007
Asus P5N-E SLI

1. Introduction

Asus has many product lines to cover the needs of all kinds of users, From beginners to experienced, from office to enthusiast. The idea of offering a low priced product with good performance is always one that pleases users and of course us, the reviewers. The Asus P5N-E SLI is the answer for those who are looking for a low priced motherboard with a compliment of features and performance. But how well does the P5N-E SLI compare with higher priced motherboards, like the Asus P5K Deluxe, P5B Premium and EVGA 680i LT?

- Asus P5N-E SLI

The Asus P5N-E SLI is based on nVidia's 650i chipset, which supports Intel® Quad-Core/CoreTM Extreme/Pentium D /Pentium 4/Celeron CPU processors for Socket (LGA775). It features 1333/1066/800/533MHz (FSB), dual-channel un-buffered DDR2 800/667/533 x 4DIMMs with a maximum of 8GB.

- Main features

The P5N-E SLI motherboard has the best balance in cost performance of any VGA motherboard combination currently sold on the market. Asus has used Nvidia's 650i chipset that supports Nvidia's SLI technology. Below is a table, for comparison between Nvidia's 680i, 680i LT, 650i SLI and 650i Ultra chipsets.

NVIDIA nForce 680i SLI NVIDIA nForce 680i LT SLI NVIDIA nForce 650i SLI NVIDIA nForce 650i Ultra
Segment Extreme Enthusiast SLI Extreme Performance SLI Performance SLI Performance
Socket Intel Socket 775 Intel Socket 775 Intel Socket 775 Intel Socket 775
CPU Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad core)
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Celeron D
Pentium 4
Pentium D 9XX
Pentium D 8XX
Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad core)
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Celeron D
Pentium 4
Pentium D 9XX
Pentium D 8XX
Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad core)
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Celeron D
Pentium 4
Pentium D 9XX
Pentium D 8XX
Core 2 Extreme (dual and quad core)
Core 2 Quad
Core 2 Duo
Celeron D
Pentium 4
Pentium D 9XX
Pentium D 8XX
FSB (MHz) 1333 MHz 1333 MHz 1333 MHz 1333 MHz
Extreme FSB Overclocking Best Good Good Good
NVIDIA SLI™ Technology Yes
2 x16
Yes
2 x16
Yes
2 x8
No
Third PCIe Graphics Expansion Slot Yes Yes No No
SLI-Ready Memory (MHz) with EPP 1200 MHz 800 MHz N/A N/A
JEDEC DDR2 Memory (MHz) 800 MHz 800 MHz 800 MHz 800 MHz
**NVIDIA LinkBoost™ technology No No No No
PCI Express
# Lanes
46 lanes 46 lanes 18 lanes 18 lanes
# Links
9 links 9 links 4 links 3 links
Configuration
16, 16, 8, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 16, 16, 8, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1 8, 8, 1, 1
or
16, 1, 1
16, 1, 1
SATA/PATA drives 6/2 6/2 4/4 4/4
SATA speed 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s 3Gb/s
RAID 0,1,0+1,5 0,1,0+1,5 0,1,0+1,5 0,1,0+1,5
NVIDIA MediaShield™ Storage Technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
Native Gigabit Ethernet Connections 2 2 1 1
NVIDIA FirstPacket™ technology Yes Yes Yes Yes
NVIDIA DualNet® technology Yes Yes No No
Teaming
Yes Yes No No
TCP/IP Acceleration
Yes Yes No No
NVIDIA nTune™ Utility Yes Yes Yes Yes
USB ports 10 10 8 8
PCI Slots 5 5 5 5
Audio HDA (Azalia) HDA (Azalia) HDA (Azalia) HDA (Azalia)

The most obvious differences between the 680i and 650i is the reduced LAN ports (2 vs. 1), the 8x PCI-E lanes (650i) vs 16x PCI-E lanes (680i), the absence of a third PCI-E expansion slot and fewer SATA and USB ports. So we can say that Nvidia's 650i is a reduced version of the 680i with however, a much lower price tag also.

At a quick glance, the main features are:

 -Intel® Quad-Core
-Dual-channel DDR2 800/667/533
-Great performance and overclocking
-ASUS O.C. Profile 
-ASUS Fanless Design
-2 IEEE 1394a connector onboard (1 in back + 1 on board)
-5 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s (including 1 x SATA On-the-Go)
-ASUS Q-Connector

LGA775 Intel® Quad-core Processor Ready
This motherboard supports the latest Intel® Quad-core processors in LGA775 package. It's excellent for multi-tasking, multi-media and enthusiastic gamers with 1066/800 MHz FSB. Intel® Quad-core is one of the most powerful CPU in the world.

NVIDIA SLI™ Technology
NVIDIA SLI™ (Scalable Link Interface) takes advantage of the increased bandwidth of the PCI Express bus architecture and features intelligent hardware and software that allows two GPUs to efficiently work together to deliver earth-shattering, scalable performance. For some applications nearly 2X performance! (From www.NVIDIA.com)

NVIDIA® nForce® 650i SLI™
The NVIDIA® nForce® 650i SLI™ chipset supports the NVIDIA® Scalable Link Interface (SLI™) technology that allows two graphics processing units (GPUs) in a single system. It is a highly integrated, high-performance, cost-effective processor.

Dual-Channel DDR2 800
DDR2 is the next generation memory technology to replace the current DDR. With the highest speed up to 800MHz,DDR2 memory provides great performance for 3D graphics and other memory demanding applications.

Gigabit LAN
The integrated dual Gigabit LAN design allows a PC to serve as a network gateway for managing.

IEEE 1394a interface
IEEE 1394a interface provides high speed digital interface for audio/video appliances such as digital television, digital video camcorders, storage peripherals & other PC portable devices.

SATA on the Go
The motherboard supports the next-generation hard drives based on the Serial ATA (SATA) 3Gb/s storage specification, delivering enhanced scalability and doubling the bus bandwidth for high-speed data retrieval and saves. The external SATA port located at the back I/O provides smart setup and hot-plug functions. Easily backup photos, videos and other entertainment contents on external devices.

Q-Connector
* Make connection quick and accurate!
The ASUS Q-Connector allows you to connect or disconnect chassis front panel cables in one easy step with one complete module. This unique adapter eliminates the trouble of plugging in one cable at a time, making connection quick and accurate.

Fanless Design
Provide a cool environment without all the baggage Cooling fans, though a popular thermal solution, also come with noise and malfunction likelihood. ASUS Motherboard's fanless concept is specifically created to provide a cool environment without all the baggage. ASUS has devoted special efforts to address the thermal issues across the motherboard, and most notably the areas that reside the CPU, power, VGA, Northbridge and Southbridge. The heat sinks and strategic board layout were tailor made to dissipate heat in the most efficient manner.

ASUS AI NET2
ASUS AI NET2 remotely detects cable connection the second you turn on the system, and any faulty connections are reported back up to 100 meters at 1 meter accuracy.

ASUS O.C. Profile
The motherboard features the ASUS O.C. Profile that allows users to conveniently store or load multiple BIOS settings. The BIOS settings can be stored in the CMOS or a separate file, giving users freedom to share and distribute their favorite overclocking settings.

ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
The ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3 allows users to restore corrupted BIOS data from a USB flash disk containing the BIOS file. This utility saves users the cost and hassle of buying a replacement BIOS chip.

EZ-Flash 2: Simply update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS
EZ Flash 2 is a user-friendly BIOS update utility. Simply launch this tool and update BIOS from a USB flash disk before entering the OS. You can update your BIOS only in a few clicks without preparing an additional floppy diskette or using an OS-based flash utility.

C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
When the system hangs due to overclocking failure, there is no need to open the case to clear CMOS data. Just simply restart the system, the BIOS would show the previous setting and then users can amend the CPU setting again.

- Full specifications

CPU
LGA775 Socket Intel® Quad-Core/CoreTM Extreme/Pentium D /Pentium 4/Celeron CPU processors
Compatible with Intel® 06/05A/05B processors
Intel® EIST/EM64T/Hyper-Threading Technology/C1E/ TM1/TM2
Chipset
NVIDIA nForce® 650i SLITM
Front Side Bus
**1333/1066/800/533MHz
(** available when CPUs are ready for 1333MHz FSB)
Memory
Dual channel memory architecture
4 x 240-pin DIMM sockets support up to 8GB DDR2 800/667/533
non-ECC/ Unbuffered memory
Expansion Slots
2 x PCI Express x16
- Single VGA mode: x16 (Default)
- SLI mode: x8, x8
1 x PCI Express x1
2 x PCI (PCI 2.2)
Storage
- 2 x Ultra DMA 133/100/66/33
- 4 x Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s
- Support RAID0, 1, 0+1, 5, and JBOD
- 1 x External Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s (SATA On-the-Go)
LAN
Gigabit LAN featuring AI Net2
Marvell 88E1116 PHY
Audio
Realtek ALC883 6-channel CODEC
Audio Sensing and Enumeration Technology
Multi-Streaming
1 X Coaxial S/PDIF out ports on back I/O
IEEE 1394
Supports 2 IEEE 1394a connector onboard (1 in back + 1 on board)
USB
Supports up 8 USB2.0 ports
Overclocking Features
- AI Overclocking (intelligent CPU frequency tuner)
- ASUS CPU Lock Free
- Precision Tweaker:
- vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 6.25mv increment
max. 1.6V
- vChip: 4-step Chip voltage control
adjust Chip voltage max. 0.55V
- vDIMM: 8-step DRAM voltage control
adjust DRAM voltage max. 0.6V
- SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
- FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 750MHz at 1MHz increment
- PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to 131MHz at 1MHz increment
- CPU Multiplier
- ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)
Special Features
ASUS Q-Connector
ASUS O.C. Profile
ASUS Fanless Design
ASUS PC Probe2
ASUS Q-Fan2
ASUS MyLogo2
ASUS Update
BIOS
4 Mb Flash ROM, AWARD BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3
ASUS EZ Flash 2,ASUS CrashFree BIOS 2
Manageability
WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0 , WOR by Ring ,
WOL/WOR by PME, WO USB/KB/MS, PXE, RPL & AI Net2
Internal I/O Connectors
1 x 24-pin ATX Power connector
1 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
1 x Chassis Intrusion
1 x CPU + 2 Chassis FAN connectors
1 x Floppy disk drive connector
1 x CD audio in connector
1 x 1394a connector
2 x USB connector supports additional 4 USB ports
1 x Front panel connector (AAFP)
System panel connector
1 x COM Port connector
1 x S/PDIF out connector
Back Panel I/O Ports
1 x Parallel port
1 x 1394a connector
1 x S/PDIF Out port (Coaxial)
1 x PS/2 Keyboard port (purple)
1 x PS/2 Mouse port (green)
1 x LAN(RJ-45) port
4 x USB 2.0/1.1 port
1 x External SATA
6-Channel Audio I/O port
Accessories
1 x SLI bridge
1 x 2-in-1 ASUS Q-Connector Kit (Retail version only)
1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
1 x FDDe cable
2 x SATA cables
2 x SATA power cable
1 x 2-port USB2.0 module
1 x I/O Shield
User's manual
O/S Compatibility
Windows Vista/XP
Support CD
Drivers
ASUS Update
Anti-virus software (OEM version)
ASUS PC Probe II
NVIDIA RIS (Remote Installation Service) application
Form Factor
ATX Form Factor, 12”x 9”(30.5cm x 22.9cm)




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