Last month, Intel officially launched their new Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors with much fanfare. Based on the heavily hyped "Conroe" core and utilizing the modern "Core" microarchitecture, as opposed to the NetBurst microarchitecture employed in the Pentium 4 and Pentium D, Intel's Core 2 Duo and Core 2 Extreme processors proved to offer huge gains over Intel's previous architecture. And as an added bonus, the new Core 2 processors ran much cooler and consumed less power than their NetBurst-based brethren, thanks to power-saving enhancements incorporated in Conroe.
With the Core 2 Duo, Intel propelled themselves back into enthusiast space and knocked AMD down a rung on the overall desktop processor performance ladder. For all intents and purposes, the Core 2 Duo launch was a very successful one. But for the last month or so, there have only been about a dozen motherboards released with full support for Core 2 Duo, and the majority of them were either inexpensive, no-frills offerings, or ultra-high end boards that commanded an equally high-end investment. Until very recently, there have been slim pickings in the mainstream segment, especially if you wanted to run a multi-GPU setup.
We recently received one of Asus' new P5NSLI motherboards that's built around the NVIDIA nForce 570 SLI chipset. The Asus P5NSLI is a mid-range Core 2 Duo compatible and SLI capable motherboard targeted at mainstream users on a budget. While it may not have all off the bells and whistles of some higher-end products, the P5NSLI does have a relatively complete feature set that is likely to fit the needs of all but the most demanding power users. Take a look...
LGA775 socket for Intel Core 2 / Pentium D / Pentium 4 / Celeron D Processors
Compatible with Intel 05B/05A/06 processors
Intel EM64T / EIST / Hyper-Threading Technology ready
Front Side Bus
ASUS AI Lifestyle Features
Other ASUS Special Features
Back Panel I/O Ports
Internal I/O Connectors
As we've mentioned, the Asus P5NSLI is a motherboard targeted at mainstream users on a budget. As such, the P5NSLI doesn't ship with an elaborate assortment of accessories. Included with the motherboard were three ribbon cables (floppy, 40-wire IDE, and 80-wire IDE), a single SATA data cable, and a single Molex-to-SATA power cable adapter. Along with the various cables, Asus also threw in a case bracket with two USB 2.0 ports, a "soft" SLI bridge connector, and a package of Q-Connectors which makes connecting the P5NSLI to any ATX-style case a breeze. Of course, a user's manual and driver / utility CD were included in the bundle as well, as were a custom I/O shield and an "Asus" case badge. The utilities on the CD included Asus' PC Probe II, Asus Update, Asus Music Alarm, and NVIDIA's RIS (Remote Installation Service) application and a basic OEM anti-virus application.