Asus P5AD2-E i925XE Motherboard
Benchmark Summary And Conclusion
The Asus P5AD2-E Premium Wireless Edition motherboard scored high marks in all of our testing relative to its peer group. In fact the board was slightly faster across the board than the Intel branded motherboard we included for reference testing and comparison. What's perhaps more impressive is how far the i925X platform has come in terms of relative performance versus its AMD counterparts. An Athlon FX-55 would have given the P4 EE a bit more of a hard time in the gaming benchmarks but in media encoding and multitasking desktop performance the P4 still holds strong. It all depends on what you do. If you're an avid gamer the Athlon 64 is a better CPU for you. If you do a little of everything, a high end P4 with the i925XE is an excellent choice for well rounded performance.
The Asus P5AD2-E Premium Wireless Edition motherboard capitalizes on just about every salient benefit of Intel's i925XE platform, from integrated high def audio, to its integrated 802.11g WiFi with Access Point functionality. Come to think of it, even Intel hasn't completely delivered on WiFi with this particular chipset. Regardless Asus went the extra mile and worked with Marvell to bring out full functionality for that feature specifically. It's hard to think of anything else one would want feature-wise in a high performance Desktop/Workstation motherboard, beyond what the P5AD2-E already offers.
There were very few shortcomings we found with the P5AD2-E, aside from perhaps needing an actively cooled HSF combo on the Northbridge. However, we're sure Engineers at Asus may argue that adding a mechanical assembly like a fan only increases possible failure rates and returns on motherboards and we couldn't completely disagree with that logic. Regardless, with a wink and a nod, we'd advise prospective P5AD2-E Premium owners to fashion a fan nearby and get some cool air across that NB sink for even greater stability under heavy load. With that said, we experienced nothing but rock solidness from this motherboard and our various CPU combinations.
From what we can find in our HotHardware.com Price Grabber search engine (merchant table listings below), the P5AD2-E Premium Wireless Edition is retailing for as low as $230. The board, its feature set and bundle, for that price point is an exetremely good value on its own merits, autonomous of the cost premiums for the DDR2 memory that you'll need to go with it. In the weeks ahead we'll be looking at Abit's Fatal1ty AA8XE motherboard as well, which also clocks in at around this price range but with a different feature set.
For now, with a BIOS that simply won't quit and a feature-set that has a "jonesing coefficient" of about 10+, we're giving the Asus P5AD2-E Premium Wireless Edition a HotHardware Heat Meter rating of 9.5 and the coveted Editor's Choice Award to go with it.