Preview - ASUS P35 "Bearlake" Motherboards

More Features of the P5K Series

More Features of the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe

Besides the minor, but crucial differences between the P5K Deluxe and P5K3 Deluxe shown in the previous page, all the other features and components of the two boards are identical. Most features are pretty much what is expected from an ASUS high-end board, but its highlights include dual Gigabit LAN, Wireless LAN and a more extensive set of default available ports. These are the features that make the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe stand out.

The last time we talked to ASUS regarding their stand on PCI Express, they believed that the majority of add-on cards will still be PCI based. While there are more PCI slots on the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe, notice that it is the PCIe x1 slots that will not be blocked by graphics card installations.

Standard issue six SATA 3.0Gbps ports adorn the bottom corner of the board. There doesn't seem to be any power/reset buttons here though, but then the P5K boards belong to the ASUS AI Life series instead of the RoG (Republic of Gamers), so that's understandable.

No TPM module support for you.

Along the sides of the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe, you'll find additional USB 2.0, FireWire-400 and COM port headers. There doesn't seem to be parallel port support at all on the two boards.

JMicron JMB363 chipset is used to provide a legacy IDE controller to the board and ASUS uses its two remaining SATA channels as native eSATA ports in the rear panel.

An agere IEEE 1394A single chip controller provides FireWire-400 capabilities to the P5K boards. One port ia available in the rear panel, while another is a header on the board.

The primary LAN controller onboard is a PCI Express based Gigabit chipset from Marvell.

The only manufacturer we've showcased so far to include two LAN ports in their new P35 designs, ASUS chose the Realtek RTL8110SC 32-bit PCI Gigabit controller for the job.

The ASUS WiFi-AP Solo module returns to the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe. This is the same onboard wireless AP card that has appeared in all ASUS 'WiFi-AP' models in the past. The chipset is still the same and it is still based on 802.11g. However, the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe is the first of the new P35 boards that we've seen to ship with wireless capability out of the box.

ASUS throws away traditional rear panel designs with the P5K/P5K3 Deluxe boards. Notice that there are no longer any legacy ports available, except for one remaining PS/2 keyboard port. ASUS even removed the PS/2 mouse port - and it is about time too, since USB has become ubiquitous today.

This wraps up another preview of upcoming Intel P35 'Bearlake' chipset motherboards to hit the market soon. As the NDA date draws nearer, keep this spot bookmarked for our full reviews on these boards in the coming weeks. If you're planning on your next PC upgrade, you wouldn't want to miss it. Don't say we didn't warn you.