As is usual for Asus, the P5E3 Deluxe sports a black PCB with same colour scheme it used with its P35 boards. It looks pretty good, although those looking for something a little more stylish and uniform should wait for the Republic of Gamers Maximus boards. In general the layout is very good but there are a few niggles which are detailed below.
PCI & PCI-Express
It's very hard to judge the need for PCI or PCI-Express slots now: we've seen more and more things arriving on PCI-Express but no doubt we still need at least one, preferably a couple of PCI slots. Asus has tried to cover as much ground as possible here and we have no less than seven expansion ports included. Has the compromise been too much though?
For example the two PCI-Express x16 slots are only a single gap apart which means if the top card has a fan facing downwards it will have a minimal amount of space to suck air in making it noisier and hotter. This is quite a big deal for Radeon X1950- and Radeon HD 2900-series cards which require a lot of cooling and have the fans in this orientation.
The third PCI-Express x16 slot in black only has an x4 electrical connection and is right at the bottom of the board. It means if we finally see GPU-Physics or perhaps three-way CrossFire, you can't drop a dual height card in there. Without that third slot, it would free up PCI-Express lanes for other things and it would make room for another PCI slot too. Maybe this should have been dropped in between the blue x16 ports, creating a bigger gap between the two x16 slots you're most likely to use?
Despite all of this, we've still got two PCI and two PCI-Express x1 slots for expansion, although there is enough already included on the board to keep most people happy.
SATA, IDE and eSATA
Six SATA ports are included on board, four of which that are in-line with the PCI-Express x16 slots are 90 degrees to its face, while the other two are placed in a more traditional fashion. This not only guarantees there won't be a conflict, but it also gives the option of cable organisation (not including the fact that there are three 90 degree SATA cables thrown in as well). All the ports support Intel Matrix RAID 0, 1, 0+1, 5 and JBOD function.
IDE and eSATA are both provided by the JMicron JMB363 chipset which does the job, although isn't the preferred choice for some.