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By CPU-zilla
Category : WorkStations/Servers
Published by Jimmy Tang on Thursday, 29th July, 2004
Rating : 4.5 out of 5 stars   (Most Innovative Product Award)

Features In The ASUS PC-DL

Though much of the motherboard's real estate space has been taken up by the processors, ASUS still managed to include quite a number of built-in features which gives the board a lot more than what most others could offer at that form factor. First, on the expansion portion of the board, you'll find five regular 32-bit PCI slots for various types of PCI cards. Though motherboards of this class would come with 64-bit PCI slots, the ASUS PC-DL Deluxe only featured normal 32-bit 33MHz PCI slots. This is because of the Intel 875P chipset which only could support PCI slots of such speeds and bandwidth. After all, it's a desktop chipset and one shouldn't expect anything spectacular from the chipset. However, those intending to use the board as a graphics workstation, the inclusion of an AGP 8X Pro slot would be useful for those high-end graphics cards.

You'll find only regular 32-bit PCI slots along with an AGP Pro 8X slot for high-end graphics cards.

Similar to most Intel 875P motherboards, the ASUS PC-DL Deluxe will come with an Intel-based Gigabit Ethernet controller which resides on the 875P's CSA (Communications Streaming Architecture) bus. Intel built this special bus to accomodate the bandwidth of Gigabit Ethernet since traditional PCI bus would not have the speed nor width to fully utilize its potential. The CSA bus is a link that goes directly to the north bridge, and thus, directly omitting the route of the slow PCI bus altogether.

The Intel 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet controller.

Apart from the two SATA ports provided by the ICH5R, you'll find another two SATA ports, both controlled by the additional Promise PDC20378 RAID controller. This is a hybrid RAID controller which supports two SATA ports and a single Ultra ATA-133 channel. A total of four hard disk drives can be supported using the Promise controller and you can set your storage volumes into either RAID 0, 1 or 0+1 arrays. ATA storage technology presents a cheaper and more cost effective alternative to SCSI and the ASUS PC-DL Deluxe makes this possible with this integrated RAID solution.

The PC-DL Deluxe comes with four SATA ports, two of which are supported by the ICH5R and the other two from the Promise PDC20378 controller.

The Promise PDC20378 RAID controller supporting two SATA ports and one Ultra ATA-133 IDE channel. The controller supports RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD configurations.

The board is also well suited for users going into digital video editing. Firstly, you have the processing prowess of a dual Xeon system, and in addition, it comes equipped with a Texas Instruments Firewire 1394a controller. This controller has good compatiblity with Firewire devices and it should have no problems working with DV cameras as well. The TSB43AB22A controller supports two ports, one of which is located at the rear ATX I/O deck and another as a standalone header on the board. Those who have casings with front Firewire ports could route the on-board header to the front of the chassis for easy access.

The Texas Instruments 2-port Firewire controller shown here with one of the on-board ports (in red).

Other on-board features include an Analog Devices six-channel AD1985 audio codec, ASUS POST reporter and ASUS Q-Fan technology.

The board also came with very light overclocking features which allows one to tweak the processor's clock frequency between 100MHz to 165MHz. Although the chipset theoretically supports up to 200MHz, under a dual processor configuration, the load could be very different and besides, you don't usually overclock mission critical systems. Thus, overclocking features are pretty limited in this case.

The rear I/O ATX panel with support for four USB 2.0 ports, one Firewire port, a Gigabit RJ-45 LAN jack, audio ports and regular serial, parallel and PS/2 ports.

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