Motherboard Guide

ASUS P5K3 Premium Black Pearl Edition review

ASUS P5K3 Premium Black Pearl Edition (Intel P35)

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Mention 'black pearl' these days and you'll probably conjure up an image of a dilapidated pirate ship and a half-crazy Johnny Depp. However, a natural black pearl (as in real pearls - the jewelry kind) is incredibly rare and often used as a term to describe something that is highly limited and valued. In the motherboard world, ASUS on rare occasions, tend to release a special edition of a motherboard that has been engineered to the brim with features and special high-quality components that sets it apart from their regular boards. These are known as the ASUS Black Pearl Edition motherboards.

Now, if there's one thing in PC marketing that is constant, it is the over saturation of a certain branding till it becomes somewhat trivial. However, the ASUS Black Pearl Edition is truly a rarity. The last Black Pearl motherboard from ASUS was the P4PE back in 2003 based on the Intel 845PE chipset (which we've reviewed here too if you're interested to take a peek). Now, after a four year hiatus and five chipset generations later, ASUS commemorates their 18th anniversary with brand new third generation series of Black Pearl Edition motherboards. Presently, ASUS has taken their current two flagship P35 motherboards, the P5K Deluxe and P5K3 Deluxe and transformed them into the P5K Premium and P5K3 Premium Black Pearl Edition boards respectively.

As it can get a little confusing separating ASUS' large family of boards, we'll go through a short background on the two boards. The ASUS P5K Deluxe and P5K3 Deluxe are really two versions of the same motherboard, the former exclusively supporting DDR2 and the latter, DDR3. Both these boards have appeared in our various past articles (ASUS P35 "Bearlake" Preview , ASUS P5K Deluxe and A DDR3 Story ), so readers should be very familiar with the original ASUS P5K Deluxe and P5K3 Deluxe by now. Since we've directly reviewed the DDR2 based P5K Deluxe before, we've decided that it would be much more interesting to have an in depth look at the DDR3 variant instead. In this article, we will pick apart the ASUS P5K3 Premium to see if ASUS still has what it takes to deliver a real Black Pearl.

  • 2 x SATA data cables
  • 1 x SATA power converter cables (dual plugs)
  • 1 x 80-conductor Ultra ATA data cable
  • 1 x floppy drive data cable
  • 2 x Heatsink cooling fans
  • USB 2.0 (2 ports) and IEEE 1394a (1 port) bracket
  • ASUS Q-Connector set
  • ASUS WiFi-AP Solo Antenna
  • I/O shield
  • Driver CDs
  • User's manual