Asus Maximus Extreme and P5E3 Premium

Intro and the P5E3 Premium

In preparation for the impending arrival of Intel’s more affordable 45nm quad-core Yorkfield and dual-core Wolfdale processors, motherboard manufacturers have been readying a slew of new products to properly support the CPUs.  Many of these motherboard products are based on Intel’s recent chipset offerings, including the X38 and brand new X48.  We’ve already shown you a few X38-based motherboards and explained what the X48 brings to the table in previous articles.  Today we’ll be taking a look at a couple of new motherboards based on these two chipsets, courtesy of Asus.

Asus is no stranger to the enthusiast community, so we’ll spare you the company history lesson here.  As usual, Asus’ newest, cutting edge motherboards offer everything you’d expect as power users.  The X38-based Maximus Extreme and X48-based P5E3 Premium motherboards we’ll be showing you in this article are family members of two different series of products by Asus – R.O.G. and Ai Lifestyle – and as such they each offer a different mix of features and integrated peripherals.

First up is the P5E3 Premium, pictured below.  This motherboard is virtually identical to the X38-based P5E3 Deluxe, save for the updated chipset and a couple of additions to its bundle.  Take a look...


Asus P5E3 Premium Packaging

Asus P5E3 Premium
Specifications and Features


  • LGA775 socket for Intel Core 2 Quad / Core 2 Extreme / Core 2 Duo / Pentium Extreme / Pentium D / Pentium 4 Processors
  • Compatible with Intel 05B/05A/06 processors
  • Supports Intel next generation 45nm Multi-Core CPU


  • Intel X48 / ICH9R with Intel Fast Memory Access Technology

Front Side Bus

  • 1600/1333 / 1066 / 800 MHz


  • 4 x DIMM, max. 8GB, DDR3 1800(O.C.)/1600(O.C.)/1333/1066/800 MHz, non-ECC, un-buffered memory
  • Dual channel memory architecture

Expansion Slots

  • 3 x PCIe x16 (blue @PCIe2.0 x16 mode, black @PCIe x4 or x1 mode) supports CrossFire Technology
  • 2 x PCIe x1
  • 2 x PCI


  • Southbridge
    • 6 x SATA 3.0 Gb/s ports
    • Intel Matrix Storage Technology supports RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10
  • JMicron JMB363(JMB368) PATA and SATA controller
    • 1 x UltraDMA 133/100/66 for up to 2 PATA devices
    • 2 x External SATA 3.0 Gb/s port (SATA On-the-Go)
    • Supports SATA RAID 0,1,JBOD
  • LAN

    • Dual Gigabit LAN controllers
    • Marvell88E8056 PCIe Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
    • RealtekRTL8110SC PCI Gigabit LAN controller featuring AI NET2
    • Wireless LAN ASUS WiFi-AP @n
    • 300Mbps IEEE 802.11n and backwards compatible with IEEE 802.11g / b
    • Software Access Point mode


    • ADI AD1988B 8-channel High Definition Audio CODEC
    • Support Jack-Sensing, Enumeration, Multi-streaming
    • Coaxial / Optical S/PDIF out ports at back I/O
    • AI Audio 2
    • ASUS Noise Filter

    ASUS AI Lifestyle Features

    • ASUS Power Saving Solution
    • ASUS EPU (Energy Processing Unit)
    • ASUS 3rd Generation 8-phase Power Design
    • ASUS AI Nap
    • ASUS AI Lifestyle Features:
      • ASUS Express Gate
      • ASUS WiFi-AP @n
      • ASUS AI Direct Link
    • ASUS Quiet Thermal Solution:
      • ASUS Fanless Design: Heat-pipe solution
      • ASUS Fanless Design: Stack Cool 2
      • ASUS Q-Fan 2
      • ASUS Optional Fan for Water-cooling or Passive-Cooling only
    • ASUS Crystal Sound:
      • ASUS Noise Filter
    • ASUS EZ DIY:
      • ASUS Q-Shield
      • ASUS Q-Connector
      • ASUS O.C. Profile
    • ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
    • ASUS EZ Flash 2
    • ASUS AI Slot Detector

    Special Features

    • ASUS MyLogo 3
    • Multi-language BIOS

IEEE 1394

  • Agere L-FW3227 1394a controller supports 2 x IEEE 1394a ports (one at midboard; one at back panel)


  • 12 x USB 2.0 ports (6 ports at mid-board, 6ports at back panel)

Overclocking Features

  • ASUS AI Booster utility
  • Precision Tweaker 2:
    • vCore: Adjustable CPU voltage at 0.00625V increment
    • vDIMM: 64-step DRAM voltage control
    • vChipset (N.B.): 33-step DRAM voltage control
    • vFSB Termination: 15-step reference voltage control
    • vCPU PLL: 64-step CPU PLL voltage control
    • SFS (Stepless Frequency Selection)
    • FSB tuning from 200MHz up to 800MHz at 1MHz increment
    • Memory tuning from 800MHz up to 3200MHz
    • PCI Express frequency tuning from 100MHz up to150MHz at 1MHz increment
  • Overclocking Protection:
    • ASUS C.P.R.(CPU Parameter Recall)

Back Panel I/O Ports

  • 1 x PS/2 Keyboard
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out (Coaxial + Optical)
  • 2 x External SATA
  • 1 x IEEE1394a
  • 2 x RJ45 port
  • 6 x USB 2.0/1.1
  • 2 x WiFi-AP @n antenna jack
  • 8-channel Audio I/O

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 2 x USB connectors support additional 4 USB ports
  • 1 x Floppy disk drive connector
  • 1 x IDE connector
  • 1 x COM connector
  • 6 x SATA connectors
  • 1 x CPU Fan connector
  • 4 x Chassis Fan connector
  • 1 x Power Fan connector
  • 1 x IEEE1394a connector
  • Front panel audio connector
  • 1 x S/PDIF Out Header
  • Chassis Intrusion connector
  • CD audio in
  • 24-pin ATX Power connector
  • 2 x 4-pin ATX 12V Power connector
  • System Panel(Q-Connector)


  • 16 Mb Flash ROM, AMI BIOS, PnP, DMI2.0, WfM2.0, SM BIOS 2.3, ACPI 2.0a, Multi-language BIOS, ASUS EZ Flash 2, ASUS CrashFree BIOS 3
  • Manageability WfM 2.0, DMI 2.0, WOL by PME, WOR by PME, PXE


  • UltraDMA 133/100/66 cable
  • FDD cable
  • 6 x Serial ATA cables
  • 1 x 2-port Serial ATA power cable
  • ASUS Q-Shield
  • User's manual
  • ASUS WiFi-AP @n manual
  • 3 in 1 Q-connector
  • 1 x 2-port USB2.0 / 1-port IEEE1394 module
  • 2 x Optional Fan for Water-Cooling or Passive-Cooling only
  • ASUS WiFi-AP @n omni-directional antenna


  • Disc Drivers
  • ASUS PC Probe II
  • ASUS Update
  • ASUS AI Suite
  • ASUS WiFi-AP @n Wizard
  • Anti-virus software (OEM version)
  • Image-Editing Suite

Form Factor

  • ATX Form Factor, 12"x 9.6" (30.5cm x 24.4cm)


The new X48 chipset-based P5E3 Premium ships with a wide assortment of bundled accessories and software.  The Asus P5E3 Premium’s bundle includes detailed user manuals for the board, its integrated 802.11n WiFi NIC / AP, its AI Remote Control, and a multi-language quick-start guide to help get the board installed as quick and painlessly as possible.

Also included with the board is a driver DVD, six SATA cables, a 4-Pin Molex to dual-SATA power adapter, a pair of optional cooling fans, a package of Q-Connectors, black IDE and Floppy cables, a case bracket with USB and Firewire ports, the tiny AI Remote and finally a pair of WiFi antennas.  There is also a custom I/O shield included, which interestingly enough is somewhat unique.  With this I/O shield, Asus has done away with the sharp metal tabs common to virtually all other shields and has replaced them with an insulated foam.  The foam adapts to the shape of the board and helps prevent accidental cuts during installation and annoying vibration during use.

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