The ASUS P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @n was one of the most impressive and expensive motherboards released last year featuring a number of new and innovative technologies (Note: the 'Deluxe' version is the current outgoing X38-based product, versus the 'Premium' version reviewed here which is a yet unreleased X48-based product).
Although features such as Express Gate, BlackHawk audio, and Wireless 802.11n support might not be everyone's cup of tea, they are still very unique characteristics and should you require any or most of them, then it becomes quite handy to have under the same umbrella. All of these were also found on the ASUS P5E3 Premium WiFi-AP @n, so what else does this new motherboard have to offer?
Fact is that other than the X48 chipset, we have found both products to be identical. Therefore we would expect ASUS to simply phase out the P5E3 Deluxe and replace it with the Premium without any difference in price. Currently the P5E3 Deluxe WiFi-AP @n costs roughly $330.
In terms of performance, the ASUS P5E3 Premium is no faster than the ASUS P5E3 Deluxe and although we did not compare the two in this review it has already been proven that the Intel X48 chipset is no faster than the X38. Furthermore, we have not found the X48 to be a superior overclocker either, although being completely fair, the X38 faired fairly well already pushing our 3.0 GHz E8400 processor all the way to 4.42 GHz.
Now that ASUS has enabled the 1600MHz FSB on all their P35 and X38 motherboards it makes absolutely no sense for those on a budget to purchase an expensive X48 motherboard. As we have said before even the X38 chipset seems a little pointless unless you are building a very high-end system and are going to use Crossfire technology. These days a top of the line ASUS P35 motherboard will set you back less than $200.
Also to keep in mind is that the ASUS P5E3 Premium is strictly a DDR3 product, which in present terms translates into at least $200 for 2GB of memory, opposed to the $50 you would otherwise pay for DDR2. Clearly the ASUS P5E3 Premium is reserved for those willing to spend big bucks on a motherboard to own the best of the best. So if you fall within that category where money is no object, and you don't see the lack of SLI support as a problem, look no further as the P5E3 Premium is one of the best Core 2 motherboard on its league.