Few people are aware that Intel makes and sells motherboards for consumers. They are usually very plain boards focused on reliability rather than extravagance. With the release of the D865PERL, though, Intel has shipped a reliable board with all the features that mainstream and enthusiast users require, ranging from an onboard FireWire port to integrated Serial ATA ports and digital audio capabilities. What’s more, it’s black.
Based on the Intel 865PE chipset, the motherboard will accommodate the latest 800MHz FSB-equipped Pentium 4 chips as well as 533MHz or 400MHz CPUs and, of course, those that feature Hyper-Threading. Dual-channel memory configurations can be implemented via the four available memory slots and they support DDR SDRAM modules up to the DDR400 specification. Testing with 400MHz and 333MHz modules revealed no gain in performance, so you are better off saving your money and sticking to the DDR333 standard for maximum cost efficiency.
The board’s layout offers little space between the AGP slot and the memory levers, so memory can not be manipulated unless the graphics card is removed. There are four fan connectors on the board for cooling and, depending on the type of case you have, the IDE and power connections are clustered together and could cause some cable clutter. There are five PCI slots for expansion. Provision for front-loading ports has been made through the internal USB 2.0 pin headers.
The board performed very well in our tests. Apart from some hiccups during the installation of the network drivers, the end user experience was very smooth. It ships with a useful software bundle, too, comprising CD burning, digital video recording, system recovery and disk management utilities.
- SYSMark 2001; score: 287
- 3DMark 2001 SE; score:17331
- Quake @ 640x480; score:301
- Quake @ 1024x768; score:296
Intel Desktop Board D865PERL
This board is an affordable yet robust and well-featured backbone that will suit users who want to build a high-performance machine.
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