P5E3 Premium

At CES 2008 ASUS showed us two high-end motherboards based on the forthcoming Intel X48 chipset: P5E3 Premium and Rampage Formula. In this article we will show you pictures and the main specs from these two motherboards.

The main new features of Intel X48 include support to PCI Express 2.0, support to DDR3 memories up to DDR3-1600 (Intel X38 only supports up to DDR3-1333), support for the new 1,600 MHz external bus and support for the new Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile) memory standard, which competes with NVIDIA’s EPP (Enhanced Performance Profile). Just like Intel X38 and P35, X48 will be paired with ICH9 family of south bridge chips.

P5E3 Premium will be basically an updated version of ASUS P5E3 Deluxe using Intel X48 chipset instead of Intel X38.

The most distinct feature from P5E3 Premium will be its on-board WiFi access point, similar to what happen to other high-end motherboards from ASUS. Like other high-end motherboards, it will have a copper-based passive cooling solution.

ASUS P5E3 PremiumFigure 1: ASUS P5E3 Premium.

ASUS P5E3 PremiumFigure 2: WiFi access point.

This access point will be probably the same used on ASUS P5E3 Deluxe/WiFi-AP@n, supporting 802.11n standard (transfer rates of up to 300 Mbps) keeping compatibility with 802.11g (54 Mbps) and 802.11b (11 Mbps), with the following ranges:

  • IEEE 802.11n: 980 ft (300 m) outdoor or 330 ft (100 m) indoor.
  • IEEE 802.11g: 200 ft (60 m) outdoor or 100 ft (30 m) indoor.
  • IEEE 802.11b: 1000 ft (310 m) outdoor or 130 ft (40 m) indoor.

P5E3 Premium will have four DDR3-DIMM sockets, supporting up to DDR3-1800 (i.e., in overclock mode, as X48 officially supports only up to DDR3-1600), three PCI Express x16 slots supporting CrossFire, two PCI Express x1 slots and two regular PCI slots.

Using Intel ICH9R south bridge chip, this motherboard will have six SATA-300 ports supporting RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10. An additional JMicron JMB363 brings two eSATA-300 ports located on the rear panel of the board and one ATA-133 port.

Even though the south bridge chip provides 12 USB 2.0 ports, only 10 of them are available (six on the rear panel and four through headers located on the motherboard), as the other two are used by an on-board 32 MB USB drive used for increasing performance on Windows Vista through its ReadyBoost feature, just like motherboards from the “Vista Edition” series (ASUS calls this feature “ASAP” or “ASUS Accelerated Propeller”).

ASUS P5E3 PremiumFigure 3: ReadyBoost USB drive.


Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.