The P35 chipset is a staple diet for many-a true enthusiast looking for a good deal on a motherboard with plenty of overhead. The MSI Platinum/P35 Neo2-FR, the Abit IP35-E/Dark Raider, the Asus P5K-E/C and the Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3<insert one of fifteen letters here> are all hot property for well under £100.
While Gigabyte went to the radical step of relaunching its entire P35 range with the E-prefix recently to denote all its products are now “Energy Efficient”, Asus has instead introduced just a few additional products to its range, with its similar energy efficient EPU – one of these is the P5K Pro.
P5K Pro Features
Socket 775 Intel Core 2 Duo, Quad and Extreme processor support including 45nm CPUs, as well as Intel Pentium 4, Pentium D and Celeron CPUs from 800-1333MHz FSB including Hyperthreading.
Asus EPU (Energy Process Unit)
Intel P35 North bridge
Intel ICH9R South bridge
Four DDR2 memory slots supporting up to 8 GB of memory at 667-1066MHz
Realtek ALC883 chipset supporting up to 7.1 channel High-Definition surround sound
Marvell 88E8056 PCI-Express Gigabit Ethernet
Two PCI-Express x16 slots (one x16 and one x4 electrical) supporting ATI CrossFire
Six SATA 3Gbps ports – six from the ICH9R South bridge
One IDE port from a Marvell 88SE6102 PATA controller
Two PCI-Express x1 slots
Two PCI slots
Two IEEE1394a Firewire slots from a VIA VT6308P– one on the rear I/O, one from motherboard pin-outs
Four SATA cables, two of which have 90 degree connectors
One Molex to two SATA power adapter
One IDE and one floppy cable
Manual and Driver DVD
The box looks surprisingly appealing in its shiny blue attire, providing that is, you ignore the "energy efficiency" statistic pulled out of thin air at the bottom. It might as well be a statistic for the number of kittens saved or babies kissed, thanks to Asus' efforts against global warming.
While not every connector supplied gets a cable to match it, several SATA cables and even the power adapter are included, which is an acceptable number given how much it costs. The Asus Q-Shield makes it into the package too - while the rear I/O shield is not something many care about, those that do want to complete the Faraday cage in their case will be thankful that Asus’ one now comes with a spongy coating on the back, not the little metal prongs that either get in the way or cut your fingers to shreds.
In addition, there’s also the Asus Q-Connector and the manual, which is the usual fare: a very comprehensive document detailing motherboard layout, features, BIOS and software use – the only thing missing we could find is explanation and recommendation of some BIOS settings, but other than that the walk-throughs for using the product are top notch.
Asus attention to detail is impressive for such an inexpensive product, and it definitely adds to the value of the product.