ASUS P4PE Board
Intel’s dominating chipset presence
When Intel launches a new chipset, everyone jumps onboard. The reasoning behind it is simple, as the world’s largest microprocessor manufacturer, Intel has an overwhelming share of PC’s equipped with Intel processors inside them. And with the majority of Pentium 4 systems being sold based on one variant of the 845 chipset or another, it’s no surprise that motherboard manufacturers were proud to announce their products based on the 845GE/GV and 845PE chipsets that were launched last week.
If you missed our preview of these chipsets, we’ll provide a brief recap. The key addition Intel has added is support for DDR333 memory. This offers the Pentium 4 up to 2.7GB/sec of memory bandwidth and a substantial performance increase over 845E. In our preview article we noted performance gains up to nine percent in some benchmark tests. The 845GE/PE chipsets also support Intel’s Hyper-Threading technology out of the box, motherboards based on the 845 and 850 families support Hyper-Threading as well, you’ll just need to update your motherboard’s BIOS in order to get this support.
Besides these two new additions, there isn’t anything else new with these chipsets, making them a relatively minor release in the grand scheme of things. Later this year Intel, SiS, and VIA will be releasing Pentium 4 chipsets with dual-channel memory controllers. These solutions should bring even more performance to the DDR Pentium 4 platform if they live up to their potential on paper. In fact, we expect them to offer more performance than any other chipset that has been released for the Pentium 4 to this date.
Now that you’re up to speed regarding the 845PE chipset that the ASUS P4PE is based on, we’ll now delve into ASUS itself.
ASUS: Motherboard manufacturer extraordinaire
Based on reader response we’d be willing to guess that you’re probably pretty familiar with ASUS. They’ve been in the motherboard business for over a decade and command the stop spot in the motherboard market. Their products have traditionally appealed to enthusiasts as well as more mainstream consumers thanks to their excellent combination of features, reliability, and performance. The P4PE in particular has quite a few features that stand out from typical motherboards, and as you’ll see in our benchmark results, it’s quite an impressive performer. But first lets take a look at what makes it so special.
The 478-pin socket on the P4PE
The upper portion of the motherboard