While the chipset has been changed from the X38 to X48 with the P5E3 Premium, the design and layout of the motherboard's components isn't too different from the P5E3 Deluxe. In the upper right hand corner of the motherboard is the Winbond Super I/O controller, four DDR3 system memory slots, 24-pin ATX power connector, and the floppy disk drive (FDD) connector. The P5E3 Premium supports up to DDR3-2000/1800MHz when in an overclocking speed, but otherwise is limited to DDR3-1600/1333/1066/800MHz support. A maximum memory capacity of 8GB is supported and also supported is Intel's Extreme Memory Profiles, or XMP for short.
Found near the Southbridge on this motherboard are six Serial ATA 2.0 connectors, one IDE connector, front panel header, CMOS battery, and a total of three 3-pin fan headers. Four of the SATA connectors are rotated 90 degrees and positioned along the edge of the motherboard's PCB, while the remaining two are in their traditional location being perpendicular to the motherboard. The Southbridge used by this X48-based motherboard is the Intel ICH9R. The ICH9R provides up to 12 USB 2.0 ports, six PCI Express x1 lanes, Intel Gigabit LAN, Intel High Definition Audio, six Serial ATA 2.0 ports, Intel Matrix Storage Technology, and Intel Turbo Memory. On this motherboard the ICH9R is covered by an ASUS Ai Lifestyle heatsink, which in turn is connected to the ASUS cooling system on the Northbridge and surrounding circuitry via a heatpipe. Also in this area of the motherboard is the Agere L-FW3227-100 IEEE-1394a Firewire controller.
The expansion slots on this motherboard include two PCI, one PCI Express x1, and three PCI Express x16 slots. The two PCI Express x16 slots that are colored blue operate with full PCI-E x16 bandwidth, but due to limitations on the number of lanes provided by the X48 Chipset, the third slot is capped to PCI-E x4. This motherboard is compatible with the ATI's multi-GPU CrossFire Technology. At the bottom of the expansion slot area is the COM header as well as one IEEE-1394a and two USB 2.0 headers. The ASICs on this side of the motherboard include a Realtek RTL8110SC Gigabit Ethernet, Marvell 88E8056 Gigabit Ethernet, JMicron JMB363, and ADI AD1988B 8-channel HD audio codec. Above the PCI slot and extending to the I/O panel is the integrated 802.11g/n WiFi support, which ASUS refers to as WiFi-AP @n. Powering this wireless networking is an AzureWave AW-NA830 chipset.
Cooling the X48 Northbridge is the ASUS cooling system that goes onto interface with the power circuitry cooling via dual heatpipes on one side and one heatpipe on the other. The ICH9R heatpipe also joins this cooling loop above the Northbridge. If you are using a water cooling system, ASUS includes two fans that can be mounted on the heatpipe fin arrays for assisting in the cooling process. The Intel X48 provides the dual PCI Express 2.0 x16 slots with full bandwidth, DDR3 support at 12.8GB/s with Intel XMP, and support for the latest-and-greatest Intel Core 2 processors, including the recently introduced 45nm processors such as the Core 2 Duo E8400.
While the ASUS cooling system can be found on all four sides of the CPU socket, it's positioned far enough away that it should not cause any issues with large heatsinks or waterblocks. This motherboard supports all of the latest Intel LGA-775 Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Extreme, Core 2 Duo, Pentium Extreme, Pentium D, Pentium 4, and Celeron processors. This includes the Intel 05B/05A/06 processors and those built on a 45nm process. Near the CPU socket is also the 4/8-pin ATX12V power connector. At the rear I/O panel are ports for a PS/2 keyboard, six USB 2.0, eight audio, two Gigabit Ethernet, two eSATA, and one IEEE-1394a Firewire port. The JMicron controller provides the eSATA ports and the IDE connector on this motherboard. At the bottom of the I/O panel area are the two connectors for the 802.11g/n WiFi.