The P5B Premium and Vista
The P5B Premium and Vista
The ASUS P5B Premium itself is derived from the older P5B Deluxe. Its PCB design, component layout, chipset and features are identical to the former. The only real difference between the P5B Premium and P5B Deluxe (besides the new Vista features), is its use of a full solid capacitor design. Since we've actually reviewed the P5B Deluxe WiFi-AP before, we won't bore you with a recount of the exact same board that the P5B Premium is. For more detailed information regarding the board's general features and layout, you should check out our original review of the P5B Deluxe right here .
What we'll focus on instead in this review are the special Vista Edition features. The P5B Premium Vista Edition carries not one, but a few new functions that enhances its lifestyle, ease of use and performance aspects by tapping onto the latest Microsoft operating system.
ASAP (ASUS Accelerated Propeller)
What ASUS calls ASAP is really an ingenious solution to take advantage of Vista's ReadyBoost function. While we didn't see specifics on any of the promotional material from ASUS, ASAP is basically an additional 512MB of flash memory built directly on the board specifically to use with ReadyBoost.
This concept may remind you of the recent news regarding hybrid HDDs and/or Intel's own Robson technology, where NAND flash memory is used to boost notebook startup and application performance. However, the ASUS ASAP is less technical and much much easier to implement. Essentially, the ASAP module on the board is just a USB flash drive. It is attached to one of the board's USB headers, thus limiting the usual ten USB 2.0 ports on the P965 chipset to eight.
The gains derived from ReadyBoost highly depend on your own system configuration, processing power and available physical memory. So, 512MB may or may not be sufficient to deliver visible performance differences on the P5B Premium - especially since most people eyeing on this board would likely have a well spec'd setup. However, the way that ASAP is implemented means that it can be used just like any USB flash drive (except for the fact that this one is soldered on your board). We tested ASAP on Windows XP and Vista and they both detected it as a regular flash drive. In fact, the P5B Premium sees the extra flash memory in its BIOS as well and can be configured as extra storage or detected/used as a Floppy.
What we're trying to say is that ASAP doesn't have to be used specifically for ReadyBoost. Since it is a USB flash drive, almost any OS should be able to access the storage on the module, which means that the board isn't restricted to Windows Vista users only. You can use it to create your very own boot disk, store recovery tools or even for BIOS updates. Sure, you can do all of these with an actual USB thumb drive, but ASAP is just highly more convenient and who can argue with extra non-volatile backup storage integrated onto a motherboard?
Basically, this nifty little remote allows you to control startup/shutdown, application launching and power saving features of the motherboard. You can control ASUS AI Nap and AI Gear with the remote, two proprietary ASUS technologies that allow you to put your PC on standby without closing your applications and an on-the-fly overclocking profiler respectively. The AP Trigger buttons are also configurable to allow launching to predefined applications. Besides these features, the AI Remote can also be used to control various media player applications such as Windows Media Player or PowerDVD.
Technically, this is not a Vista specific feature, nor is it new as we've seen one variation of the AI Remote from the P5W DH Deluxe motherboard before. While the AI Remote does add a lifestyle element to the board, it is more of a glorified remote - good to have around, but rarely used.