P5WD2-E Premium: The Board
The Asus P5WD2-E Premium is a member of Asus' 'AiLife' family of products, which are targeted at mainstream enthusiasts. As you can see, the board is passively cooled by a number of aluminum heatsinks affixed to the VRM, Northbridge (975X Express) and Southbridge (ICH7R). The heatsinks seemed to do an adequate job keeping temperatures in check during testing, and because there are no fans installed, the board's passive cooling doesn't generate any noise.
The general layout of the P5WD2-E Premium is much like that of the P5WDG2-WS, they have a similar color scheme and everything is well labeled. But because there are somewhat fewer components on the P5WD2-E Premium, it has a couple of advantages with regard to its layout. First, you can install and remove RAM when a full length video card is installed in the P5WD2-E Premium, and this board sports an additional PATA channel as well.
Because the board isn't equipped with Intel's 6702PXH bridge chip, there are no PCI-X slots to be found. Instead, the P5WD2-E Premium has a pair of PEG slots, a PCI Express x1 slot, a PCI Express x4 slot, and three standard PCI 2.3 slots. And the slots are situated in an ideal position. Even with a pair of dual-slot video cards installed, users would still have access to two PCI slots and the PCI Express X1 slot. The P5WD2-E Premium is very flexible in the expansion department.
Additional functionality on this board comes by way of a Marvell 88SE6141 SATA 3.0Gb/s / PATA RAID chipset, Marvell GbE 88E8053 LAN chipset, and Firewire 1394a support is offered by a TI TSB43AB22A chipset. Audio is handled by a Realtek ALC882M hi-definition audio codec.
The P5WD2-E Premium is equipped with a 4-phase power array, which generates a bit more heat than the 8-phase design used on it's counterpart, hence the cooler, but it does feature Stack Cool 2 to help lower on-board component temps.
Lastly, the P5WD2-E Premium's I/O backplane is home to a myriad of connectors, including PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports, coaxial and optical S/PDIF outputs, six more various audio input and output jacks, an external SATA port, a legacy parallel port, dual RJ-45 LAN jacks, and four USB 2.0 ports. We should note, that if the external SATA port is used, internal SATA port 4 is disabled.