ASUS… what were you thinking?

So… everyone on the net has been ranting and raving about the new P45 chipset from Intel. Sure – it’s a great chipset. Low power, ICH10R, support for 45nm CPUs, blah blah blah. I’ve always been a fan of ASUS. I’ve been buying them pretty much exclusively for the past two or three years. For the most part, their board layouts are adequate, if not very good, and they’ve got pretty good support, dispite being located across the Pacific.

Then came the P5Q series. Honestly ASUS – you guys screwed this one up royally.

Let’s start at the bottom – the basic P5Q. Let’s have a look at the layout of this board.

Now… there are two major design flaws here. First off – the ATX power connector. Why on earth would you put it up next to the I/O panel? If your PSU is mounted at the top of the case, then you’re having to slink around the CPU socket, and if it’s at the bottom, you’re having to wrap around any PCI/PCIe cards you’ve got. I’d hate to see what happens with a full-sized video card installed.

Secondly, the SATA ports. The same problem shows up on the P5Q Pro.

Now… everyone look at the bank of 8 SATA ports. Notice their orientation. Now… imagine you’re using locking SATA cables. Where do the locking tabs end up? On the bloody inside. You have to use a flathead screwdriver to push the tab while you pull on the plug. It’s not very professional to say this, but wtf ASUS?

The P5Q-E and P5Q-Deluxe boards don’t seem quite as bad, but their SATA ports still irk me. I’ve never understood why board designers insist on mixing vertical SATA ports and horizontal ones. You’ve got two simple options here. Either move the SATA verticla ports so they’re out of the way of any potential interference (from long graphics cards or the like), or put them all horizontal and be done with it. I’d personally love to see all the majorly used connectors (including the ATX power connector) be horizontally mounted on the edge of a motherboard. It would make cable routing inside a system much nicer and help with airflow and cooling.

Let me say it again… ASUS, what were you thinking? You had a perfect opportunity to make an amazing product here and you botched it up. Let’s try to make things better next time, ok?

4 Comments

  1. Some poorly located/oriented connectors and all of a sudden the P5Q is a screwup? Please.

  2. nick

    2008-07-29 at 02:00

    IMO, a large portion of the quality of a motherboard is it’s ease of use (on both the hardware and the software side of things). A system should be just as easy to disassemble as it is to assemble, in the event that something goes wrong, a part fails, etc etc. The SATA port orientation (of the P5Q and P5Q Pro) is a complete screwup on ASUS’ part. Locking SATA cables are recommended by many people, so why would you put the locking tabs in an area where you can’t access them?

    Another thing that I didn’t mention before – the P5Q basic and Pro use Atheros gigabit network adaptors. I wrote this entry as a bit of a beef after having bought a Pro. My Marvell network adaptors that are on all my other motherboards (including a comparatively ancient P5B) are all able to max out iperf at about 990Mbps over my network. The Atheros barely pushes 800. That’s not proper gigabit in my books, and when you’re paying $150 for a board, there’s no reason not to get what you’re advertised – especially from a well renowned company as ASUS.

  3. When you say that the SATA port orientation was a screwup, then that is fine.

    I misinterpreted it as you saying the whole motherboard is a screwup. Apologies.

  4. Asus, Asus, Asus 😛 Maybe they guy that was doing the layout was on drugs or something? Lol That would prolly piss me off it I got that mobo and my PSU like didnt reach or the video car would fit or something. lol.

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