ASUS P5N32-SLI Premium/WiFi-AP Edition nForce 590 Review - Page 2 of 6
Review by Kyle Kerley - November 20, 2006
3 SATA cables with molex-to-SATA converters bundled together
1 IDE cable
1 floppy disk cable
3 soft SLI bridges
2 optional fans for the heatpipe system
Rear USB 2.0 port connector
Rear IEEE1394a port connector
SupremeFX PCIe x1 soundcard
ASUS Array Mic
Drivers and utilities disc
Media Launcher digipack
Floppy containing the SATA RAID drivers
WiFi-AP Solo User Guide
Full instruction manual
Box Contents (in box)
Just like my previous review of the MSI K9N SLI Platinum nForce 570 motherboard I'm a little surprised that floppy drives are still being supported, yet IDE is being forced out. Regardless, for those that need the RAID drivers and still use a floppies, the disk will be a welcome addition to the package. I'm pretty sure the two extra SLI bridges were a mistake, but it's very nice to have some extras on hand in case I lose one or one is broken.
Box Contents (on table)
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Perhaps the coolest extra feature this board sports is the built in 802.11g wireless adapter built right into the back I/O panel of the motherboard. Considering that even the cheapest of wireless USB cards cost upwards of $30, the fact that this board includes one (and one that works incredibly well) is completely awesome. This is definitely an extra that could've been left off in order to save some cost, but ASUS opted to keep it on. Even though I use an Ethernet cable to connect via landline, I appreciate the effort on their part to accommodate everyone...especially because I had to use it when I couldn't get a valid IP address via my LAN ports.
802.11g WiFi Adapter
802.11g WiFi Adapter
Another luxury addition to the package is the onboard sound which cannot technically be called onboard since it has its own PCIe x1 card. It is part of the ASUS Supreme Audio package which is comprised of the card and the Array Mic. This audio solution offers DTS sound along with 24bit/192kHz full sampling in 7.1 surround and a microphone for those who play online games but do not have a headset mic. "The bundled Superbeam Array Microphone receives only the sound coming from the reception cone and ignores the sound coming from other directions." That bit was taken directly from the motherboard's page. To read more about the technology and see some descriptive diagrams, check the page out.
ASUS SupremeFX Soundcard
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ASUS Array Mic
Click Image to Enlarge - 900x505 (95KB)
To help with cooling those big copper heatpipes and heatsinks on the board, ASUS included two fans that clip onto the two heatsinks near the CPU socket to help dissipate accumulated heat in the heatpipes. There are numerous warnings stating that those fans should not be used with any active CPU cooling because they can disrupt case airflow and actually be a detriment to active CPU cooling. Because I'm using active cooling, I do not have the fans installed. However, I installed them and took pictures before putting the machine together to show how they looked.
As the below picture shows, the fans surround the CPU. One blows up (toward the PSU) and the other blows out toward the back of the case. It is very possible that these would create a dead zone of air around the CPU and prevent it from getting cool air to blow down onto the heatsink.
Heatpipe Fans (installed)
The bundled feature that had me confused the most when I first saw it was the Q-Connector Kit. But upon inspecting, I saw that this may in fact be the best thing ASUS included in the package.
They are pegs that you plug your case's front I/O cables into (speaker, power switch, power light, IDE light, reset switch, HDD activity, USB 2.0 and Firewire) and then plug right into the motherboard. No more getting infuriated trying to plug those tiny connectors in with almost no light in a very awkward and cramped area. I love these things. Undoubtedly, the "Q" stands for "Quick" but I think "Q-Awesome" or "Q-The-Best-Idea-Ever" work just as well.
Rounding out the non-standard package contents is the Media Launcher pack which includes various multimedia software packages including MediaOne Gallery, WinDVD Creator 2 Platinum, InterVideo PhotoAlbum, Disc Master 2.5 Platinum, DVD Copy 2.5 Platinum. This incredibly nice selection of software enables buyers to create DVDs, make backups of their library, organize and edit photos as well as burn discs. ASUS rolled out the red carpet and made sure to cover every possible angle in doing so.