ASUS Pundit P1-AH1 Review written 12 years ago

ASUS barebone

As I’m buggering off down south soon, I felt the need to upgrade the parent’s computer as their existing one was getting a bit old and knackered. As I wouldn’t be around to kjigger with it every now and then, I thought best get them something reliable, and something that would keep them going for at least a of couple years.

Side on view Top down view
Different views

I settled on the ASUS Pundit P1-AH1, which is a socket 939 barebones system. I picked it because it’s a nice form factor, it’s all built in (so less fuss) and I knew I could put it together in a short time. Handy features included the built-in card reader, which is good for my dad who likes his photography.

The only downside to the system was a lack of upgradability. There’s only one optical slot/hdd, and the graphics can’t be upgraded as it’s built in or nothing. But to be honest for a machine that’s going to spend it’s life tinkering on the internet and printing pictures it’s more than adequate.

CD Rom Eject Button CD Rom Eject Button
Left: Eject button, and HDD LED Indicator. Right: the CD Tray ejected.

The system is indended to be used in a vertical orientation as shown here. The CD Rom I got had little tabs on it to ensure the CDs didn’t go south. Quite nicely the button on the outside lined up accurately with the button on the outside, and the CD tray pokes out in the correct place.

USB Ports, Firewire and Sound ports Compact flash and SD Card readers
Left: USB Ports, Firewire and Sound ports. Right: Compact flash and SD Card readers

On the front of the machine is a myriad of sockets for all sorts of expandability. (All of which are hidden really nicely when not in use). The downside to the sockets is that when they are in use (even the card readers) you can’t close the door, so it looks a little.. manky. It’s bemusing why they chose to put the digital audio on the front, as that would probably be a more permanent connection to a digital receiver.

I found the CF slot is a little tight, as it tore off the sticker on my XD -> CF card adapter. I don’t know if this is because the adapter is a little bigger than usual though.

SPDIF, Firewire and Power button Rear Ports: 2x USB, PS2 Keyboard, PS2 Mouse, Network, DVI, D-SUB, Parallel, Composite Video, S-video and audio ports
Left: SPDIF, Firewire and Power button. Right: Rear Ports: 2x USB, PS2 Keyboard, PS2 Mouse, Network, DVI, Serial, D-SUB, Parallel, Composite Video, S-video and audio ports

At the rear there’s more expansion possibilities. All the usual suspects are present, but notably only two USB ports. I solved this by adding an extra USB PCI card, but that gobbles up an extra PCI slot, which isn’t ideal.

The audio ports support 8 channel audio, and as there is only three of them, they are assigned functions (main, rear, centre, bass) in the realtec HD audio manager software.

Internal Layout.
Internal Layout.

Moving to the inside of the machine, there’s not much space left to waste. This makes putting the optical drive and HDD cage in a little tricky (and is also why there’s no photos of this stage). ASUS supply a 3 inch SATA cable, but leave you to fight with a full length IDE cable. After some fernangling it’s possible to get everything installed, but I wouldn’t have liked to have done this without my dainty fingers.

PCI Expansion slots, with USB card installed. CPU Fan Duct
Left:PCI Expansion slots, with USB card installed. Right:CPU Fan duct.

PCI expansion is dealt with by an inbuilt PCI riser system, which supposedly can handle full size PCI cards. From what I’ve read it is possible to fit full size cards in the system, if not without a little tinkering.

The CPU fan is ducted through the side of the case, via some stamped holes in the side of the case.

Overall the system is very quiet. The fans are kept in check by ASUS Q-fan technology and only spin up very fast at boot up. This however lets the system run a little hot for my liking. CPU temp loiters around 45?, but the system temp is around 40?, owing to the limited ventilation in the system. This hasn’t proved to be a problem yet, but I’m keeping an eye on the temps in the long term.

The lights inside the case are also insanely bright, and when the computer is on the desk they are just at eye-level. I managed to subdue them with some cleverly placed bits of paper, but I really wonder why companies insist on installing blindingly-bl00-leds.

I’m pleased with what I got, and considering the case/motherboard/psu came to around the same price as a seperate build I’m happy with the value of the sytem. If ASUS ever come out with an intel 975 version of the system I think I might just get one myself :)

← previous entry | next entry → Fri 15th Sep 2006 - 00:00 | 3 comments | tagged with Reviews, Photography, Computery Stuff

 Comments 3 comments made

It looks very impressive, and I love PC internal lights, especially those lovely Ultraviolets! My new PC has a perspex shell so I’m definitely buying some. I hate PCI though, my current PC has a PCI graphics slot which I was told is virtually impossible to upgrade.

By the way it’s not “down south” it’s “doon sooooth” :P

Nice post. I know it’s rather old, but I’d like to ask a few questions as I’m considering an Asus P2 og P3 for my parents :)

Which CPU did you use? How well has it been running? Did the heat result in any problems?

Best regards,

Anders K. Jacobsen

originally posted by Anders

Which CPU did you use? How well has it been running? Did the heat result in any problems?

There’s an AMD X2 3800 in there, it has been running pretty flawlessly since I built the thing and has covered all their needs during that time. The heat hasn’t proven to be an issue — though there was a period where it was pushed up against the wall (blocking the venitlation fan) and things did get a bit toasty; so that’s something to beware of (No using it in a real bookcase, then!).

The only issues have been:

  • Small CDs are a pain because of the CD-ROM being mounted sideways, and suprisingly there has been four or five that we’ve needed to use (for drivers or whatever). This has been solved by temporarily putting the box on its side;
  • The system is no longer whisper quiet. There’s definitely a distinct fan noise when using the machine, but it’s not that distracting and I’ve heard much worse.

I don’t think there’s much else to say, other than it has fulfilled its position well, and I suspect will do for the next few years.

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