VIA P4PB 400 P4 motherboard

Based on VIA's own P4X400 North Bridge and VT8235 South Bridge chipsets, this Pentium 4 motherboard will accept processors of the 400MHz or 533MHz front side bus distinction. It has a wealth of features built into it, including 10/100 LAN (with Wake-On-LAN support) and six-channel audio.

I tested the board with the latest 2.8GHz Pentium 4 CPU, 512MB of PC2700 DDR SDRAM, an ASUS V8440 GeForce4 Ti 4400 graphics adapter and a 7200rpm 40GB IBM hard drive. The results were stunning: this configuration averaged a score almost identical in SYSMark 2001 to that of the RDRAM-equipped Intel 850EDMV2, achieving 258 as opposed to 259. In an earlier isolated run it scrambled to an unheard-of score of 282, although it was unable to duplicate this effort.

Overclockers will be pleased that the front side bus speed can be manipulated in 1MHz increments up to 200MHz. For cooling devices, two fan connectors are located on the board itself.

The board's layout is well spaced and the AGP slot (up to 8X) has been placed where the first PCI slot would normally go. This means one PCI slot had to be sacrificed (leaving five in total), but it also means that you don't have to remove the graphics adapter when accessing the memory modules. Speaking of memory, there are three DIMM modules, able to accommodate a total of 3GB of DDR SDRAM up to the very latest PC3200 specification (although I could not get the board to work with this type of memory). For drive connections there are two ATA133 IDE ports and a floppy controller, and for connectivity an extra bracket is provided in the box for USB 2.0 ports, taking the total count of these to six. An optional FireWire bracket can be purchased to utilise the on-board header for this interface.

In brief:VIA P4PB 400

The P4PB 400 is a well-featured and well-performing motherboard that represents great value for the person looking to upgrade to a Pentium 4 system.

Price: $298.

Phone: (02) 9648 0888.

URL: www.bcntech.com.au.

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