P5B Premium Vista Edition from ASUS is a high-end socket LGA775 motherboard based on the Intel P965 chipset, coming with several extra features compared to other Intel P965 motherboards, such as two x16 PCI Express slots, two Gigabit Ethernet ports and, what is really unique on this model, a LCD display, called ScreenDuo, a remote control, called AI Remote, and a good-quality array microphone. Let’s take a look at the features and performance of this model from ASUS.
The main problem with this motherboard is its name. Because its model name starts with P5B you may think (as we did when we first heard its name) that it is an enhanced version of ASUS P5B motherboard, which is not the case: ASUS P5B Premium Vista Edition is a completely different motherboard from the plain P5B. All “Vista Edition” motherboards have five extra features: LCD display (ScreenDuo), remote control (AI Remote), TPM module support (which is an optional microcontroller that stores keys, passwords and digital certificates), AP Trigger (a feature to turn on your computer and load your favorite application by just clicking one button) and an on-board flash memory for ReadyBoost technology. Only the two last features are specific to Windows Vista (TPM module, however, will allow you to enable Windows Vista’s BitLocker feature, even though TPM itself isn’t a specific feature from Windows Vista) and you can run Windows XP on this motherboard just fine like we did on our review.
Even though this motherboard is based on Intel P965 chipset, which officially supports an external bus up to 1,066 MHz, ASUS says that P5B Premium Vista Edition supports the forthcoming 1,333 MHz bus.
Well, there is really a lot to say about this motherboard. Let’s start with its passive cooling solution. The south bridge chip uses a regular passive heatsink, however the north bridge chip uses a passive heatsink with a heat-pipe, dissipating the heat produced by the north bridge chip on a radiator located on top of the MOSFET transistors from the voltage regulator circuitry.
If you think that the heatsink on top of the MOSFET transistors is too hot, you can install a fan that comes with the motherboard. In this case you kill the main goal of passive cooling, which is not producing noise.
This motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots. They don’t support SLI, as SLI is a feature found on NVIDIA chipsets only, however they support CrossFire. The main PCI Express x16 slot, which is blue, works at x16, but the second PCI Express x16 slot, which is black, works only at x4, so even though this motherboard has two x16 PCI Express slots it is not the ideal platform for CrossFire configuration. We see the second x16 PCI Express slot more like a way for you to expand the maximum number of independent video monitors you can have connected to your PC.
This motherboard also has one x1 PCI Express slot and three standard PCI slots, as you can see in Figure 4.