At this year's Computex Trade Show in Taiwan, Intel released its 965 Express chipset series - the company's performance mainstream Core 2 Duo chipset. Asus has made its P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP with the P965 and ICH8R combination. It incorporates a mammoth feature set that includes the likes of integrated WiFi with access point capabilities, seven SATA 2.0 ports with eSATA, two Gigabit Ethernet connections and 8-channel HD audio.
We have been using the P5B for a couple of weeks now and we've put it through our normal battery of tests. We've compared it to Intel's flagship 975X "Bad Axe" motherboard to find out how good P965 is, and whether the P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP Edition is a worthy Core 2 solution for those who don't need multi-GPU capabilities.
Support for all Intel Socket 775 Processors, including Core 2 Duo, Core 2 Extreme, Pentium 4, Pentium 4 Extreme, Pentium D and Celeron D;
Four DDR2 memory slots supporting up to 8GB of DDR2-800 memory;
Intel P965 Northbridge and ICH8R southbridge;
Dual Gigabit LAN provided by Marvell ... PCI-Express and Marvell ... PCI controllers;
Two PCI-Express x16 slots (blue: x16 mode, black: x2 or x4 mode only) , one PCI-Express x1 slot and three PCI expansion slots;
7.1 channel ADI SoundMAX ADI1988B High Definition audio with jack sensing and optical & coaxial S/PDIF Out;
Six SATA 3Gbps ports, supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD;
JMicron JMB363 controller for one IDE socket for 2 devices, one internal 3Gbps SATA socket, one eSATA 3Gbps port;
Support for ten USB 2.0 ports (four on back I/O panel and four via on-board pins, two used by ASUS WiFi-AP module);
Two IEEE1394a Firewire ports with internal headers;
One floppy connector.
Asus Array Mic;
Asus WiFi-AP Solo omni-directional antenna;
Manual, Driver CD & floppy disks;
Metal I/O Bracket;
Six, red SATA cables;
Three molex to six SATA power cables;
Two port USB 2.0 PCI bracket;
One port 6pin IEEE1394a Firewire PCI bracket;
3 in 1 Q-connector
One black IDE cable;
One black floppy cable.
Asus provide a large bundle of goodies to complement their many board extras. In the box was a complete set of SATA and SATA power cables, the necessary antenna for the WiFi dongle and extra Firewire and USB 2.0 PCI brackets. The USB 2.0 bracket is only for two extra ports though, but considering there are 4 available on the board it doesn't make sense not to fit two more ports on the same bracket.
Included is the Array Mic which is designed to record in a cone straight ahead of the two microphones, which suppresses the environmental sounds outside of that in software. Clever for a bundled bit of kit, but it isn't going to replace a good pair of headphones and mic for VoIP or video chat.
The extra fan is included for the heatpipe fins should the end user install watercooling or a passive solution. The heatpipes require some form of airflow in order to function correctly and adequately cool the chipset & voltage regulation components. Finally the Q-connector is an extra plastic block of pins for the USB 2.0, Firewire and front panel so you can see where to plug everything in to them first and then plug those into the pins on the case. It saves fiddling around inside the case as these plug in only one of two ways.