Author: Jani 'Japala' Pönkkö
Published: 30.12.2002
Manufacturers: Albatron
Product group: Motherboards
 Albatron PX485PE pro II
 Epox EP-4PEA+
 Gigabyte GA-8PE667 Ultra
 Soyo SY-P4X400

P4 Motherboard roundup

Today there are several chipsets to choose from and while a large selection is generally a good thing, there are some downsides. Manufacturers can't focus on one or two chipsets but they have to support majority of them and this can be seen on the price tags. I personally feel that this also reflects to product quality and stability in a long term. There isn't that much time to test the product properly, drivers are falling behind etc. Maybe this isn't that much of a problem with motherboards yet but while manufacturers continue to integrate more and more intelligence to these boards they will be more vulnerable to design flaws etc. As from the customers point of view, it is great to have many different products to choose from. As long as they remain compatible to each other. :)

I'll be focusing in i845PE from Intel and P4X400 from VIA in this review. Why mix two different chipsets in one review? To tell you the truth, Soyo didn't have i845PE-board ready when I asked one for a review and because of that I received their P4X400-solution. This wasn't a bad thing at all and this product will bring some perspective to this review when you get to see how well these two chipsets compare and is there any real performance differences.



As seen in this picture too, i845PE officially supports DDR333-memory and Intel's new Hyper-Threading Technology that allows processor to execute instruction threads in parallel thus making it faster with the same clock speed. First processor to officially support this new technology is Intel's 3.06 GHz Pentium 4. There are some slower processor models available that have this technology build-in but disabled.

Other features like AGP 4x, ATA-100 and USB2.0 are a bit modest compared to AGP 8x and ATA-133 from chipsets by other manufacturers but many users like the stability and quality of Intel chipsets over the more hyped and newest technology available.

VIA P4X400

VIA P4X400

There is nothing much to be said about this chipset. It is a bit more advanced compared to i845PE in terms of faster AGP and higher ATA rating but other than that there isn't that much differences to regular user. Hyper-Threading is supported and this chipset also has unofficial DDR400 support. There have been talks that this support isn't working properly and because of that this is more like a P4X333-chipset but I didn't have DDR400-memory to confirm that myself. This feature may work better or worse in different boards anyway.

  Albatron PX485PE pro II >>

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