Intel's D845GEBV2, A Quick Take:
The i845GE based
Intel board we tested, unfortunately was a little more plain
vanilla than its Asus counterpart. However, users are
treated to integrated 10/100 Ethernet, 6 Channel
Sound, 4 USB 2.0 ports and integrated Intel "Extreme
Graphics", should you have the need to build a cost
sensitive configuration. The integrated graphics
portion of this Intel offering is certainly not intended to
cater to the serious gaming community however. Think
of about 60 fps in Quake 3 at 800X600X32 and about
23 fps in Unreal Tournament 2003 at the same resolution
but without any DX8 special effects.
integrated graphics are anything but "extreme" actually.
Regardless, should you only have the need to game on a few
"light duty" occasions, perhaps this feature will serve your
needs. For Team HotHardware however, we'll just plug
in a Radeon 9700 or GeForce 4 Ti4600, thank you very much.
Of The Asus P4PE
and The Intel D845GEBV2
A tale of two BIOSes
Asus' P4PE BIOS Setup
Intel's D845GEBV2 BIOS
The Asus P4PE
certainly setup to entertain the PC Enthusiast.
It has just about every bell and whistle one could imagine
in its BIOS. For starters, you get FSB selections up
to 200MHz in 1MHz increments. Then there are the memory
timing ratios, which as you can see above, offer 400MHz DDR
timing, when the FSB is set to 150MHz. Talk about
overclocking nirvana. The sweet spot for many a P4,
that we've had in house, is 150MHz FSB mark, so the P4PE
dials in quite well here. There are also a plethora of
voltage adjustments for CPU core, DDR DRAM, and even AGP!
The icing on the
cake, would have to be the memory timing options, many of
which most users will have no clue how they affect
performance, but for them, tweaking is half the fun.
DRAM Burst Rate, Idle Timer and Refresh Rate, are a few of
the settings that will leave novice users in the dark but
trial and error tactics will suffice. Finally, this
brings us to one last feature we should mention, that is
available with many Asus BIOS variants. If you set the
board up in the BIOS in such a way that it won't boot, upon cycling
the power, the board will automatically set itself to
defaults timings, allowing the user to go back and try
again, without having to clear the CMOS manually. In short, the
BIOS on this board is about as perfect as we've seen.
D845GEBV2 on the other hand, left us with one word in
mind..."yawn". Intel intentionally doesn't give the
user overclocking options of any shape or form, since they
don't officially support/condone overclocking in any way.
Think about the warranty issues alone, if you were the
manufacturer of a CPU like a Pentium 4, and you'll understand
why this is so. No, about the only thing you'll find
that is even remotely "tweakable" with the D854GEBV2's BIOS,
is the memory timing section, where users are allowed to
adjust RAS, CAS, Pre-charge...etc. We should note one
thing that is a major benefit in going with a sometimes
bland Intel motherboard like the D845GEBV2, they are easily
some of the most stable products on the market. Even PLL timing on these boards meet exacting specifications,
with very little drift or jitter. In fact, our board
posted a perfect 2.53GHz under SiSoft Sandra CPU tests.
which, let's move out to some basic testing.
Signs With Sandra and Overclocking