The P3B-F is a rock-solid board that coupled with the
detailed user's manual, provides a hassle-free installation
right from the start. The smaller frame and neater component
arrangement as compared to the BX6-2 makes it aesthetically
more pleasing. The inclusion of JumperFree is a welcome
and much-awaited feature to ASUS' line of motherboards.
In addition, the new Award 6.0 BIOS makes navigation in
the BIOS much simpler due to the informative text-box
available. The PC'99 compliant ports allow better visual
identification of the various ports. There is no question
that the P3B-F is a well-engineered board that deserves
to join the ranks of its much acclaimed brethrens.
Unfortunately, I find no compelling reason to recommend
the P3B-F over my veteran BX6-2 or even the older P2B-F.
Firstly, the P3B-F is a comparatively costly board. I
think part of that price difference is due to additional
frills such as the various Wake-On functions, different
means to change FSB/voltage settings, the onboard LED
et cetera. However, I believe these extras serve
no particular purpose to the mainstream user and would
not matter if they were omitted. Personally, the lack
of a 117 MHz FSB setting means that I can only reach 517MHz
on the P3B-F when a 527MHz can be easily achieved on the
BX6-2. The lack of onboard UDMA/66 support is a huge disappointment
given its recent introduction. There is no way I will
fork out extra money and waste a valuable PCI slot on
an Ultra ATA/66 controller when there are similarly priced
boards in the market that provide similar onboard support.
If you are on the phase of upgrading, it will be difficult
to recommend the P3B-F.
The P3B-F is a decent board with several interesting new
features but really begs the more important ones. It is
a good motherboard and performs smoothly without problems
but definitely is not a cut above the rest. There is nothing
distinct such as step by step FSB adjustment or a setting
similarly flexible to allow a much larger range of overclocked
speeds. The lack of onboard UDMA/66 support will place
the P3B-F behind newly released boards which have it.
The bottomline is that there is not much to separate the
P3B-F from the rest of the pack. Sad to say, if keeping
up with the Joneses is something which you want to and
should be doing, the P3B-F is unlikely to be on your wish
If you have
any doubts or queries, Email
me or direct your comments/thoughts in our forum.