Board Layout and BIOS of the D845PEBT2
least for Intel!
a reliable motherboard starts with power delivery.
Many motherboard manufacturers skimp in this
department, opting for a two-phase power solution
instead of three, which negatively impacts the life of
the motherboard. Intel doesn't hold back though,
as the D845PEBT2 utilizes a three-phase solution.
Eleven capacitors surround the Socket 478 processor
interface but are small enough to not interfere with
heat sink installation. However, the i845PE MCH
is passively cooled with a large heatsink that does
have the potential to obstruct a larger heat sink.
The 20-pin ATX power connector is thoughtfully located
on the upper right-hand corner of the board, far from
addition to the i845PE chipset is validated PC2700 DDR
memory support. It's no secret that the Pentium
4 processor demonstrates top performance on a platform
with lots of memory bandwidth, so i845PE is a
significant improvement over the original i845E.
As a trade off for the faster memory support, the
D845PEBT2 is only able to offer two memory slots with
a 2GB memory ceiling. If you'd prefer a little
more flexibility in terms of future upgrades, ASUS'
P4PE i845PE board features the same PC2700 memory
support and includes three DIMM slots instead of two.
One AGP and five PCI slots
Silicon Image SATA Controller
includes a CNR slot even though the D845PEBT2 comes
with integrated Ethernet. Also present are five
PCI slots and a single AGP 4x slot. At this
point we aren't too concerned with the lack of AGP 8x
support as many of the other AGP 8x-compliant boards
we've tested exhibit some degree of instability,
namely with the ATI RADEON 9700 Pro. All of the
i845PE boards we've tested work properly, though.
We did notice that the AGP slot is placed
uncomfortably close to the two DIMM slots, so if you
were to install a RADEON 9700 Pro at the wrong angle
you may risk shearing the capacitor at the bottom of
the card. Further, if you want to perform a
memory upgrade, you'll certainly have to remove the
graphics card. The floppy and IDE connectors are
behind the AGP slot but orientated in such a way as to
clear the graphics card with no problem.
past, we've seen Intel implement some fairly mundane
BIOS options. Choices essential to the system
setup are about all that are offered. However,
the D845PEBT2 deviates from that path, if only just a
little. When it comes to tweaking features like
the AGP bus, very few options are given (as
illustrated in the first picture). But memory
timings are opened up for modification, though not to
the extent we've seen from some of the more popular
Taiwanese manufacturers. With the latest BIOS
release Intel has even implemented an overclocking
feature that is offhandedly called "Burn-In Mode" and
is to be used for "validation and test purposes only."
There aren't many options available in burn-in mode,
but the settings that are available can be seen
in the second picture. In the interest of noise
control, Intel has also added a variable fan control
that can increase or decrease the cooling fan speed
based on operating temperature.
hardware monitoring screen shows voltages, fan speeds
and temperature readings on the board, even though
there are no adjustable voltage options within the
BIOS. Intel also offers a software utility that
displays these same readings from within Windows.
The main BIOS screen contains general system
information, as well as a switch for HyperThreading
(in the case of applicable processors, of course).
Among the other chipsets that share HT support are
Intel's i850E (which has also been validated with
PC1066 RDRAM support), the i845GE chipset and VIA's
P4X400 core logic. SiS will join the ranks soon, as
its 655 dual-channel DDR chipset is still in the
Overclocking is a luxury we've grown accustomed to
thanks to competition in the hardware enthusiast
market. Intel still doesn't condone it and so it
is consequently no surprise that the D845PEBT2 doesn't
offer selectable front side bus settings. It does,
however, offer the aforementioned "Burn-in Mode" that
reportedly adjusts the host clock by up to four
percent. We updated our board with the necessary
BIOS and tried our hand at overclocking Intel-style,
but to no avail. We tried power supplies,
different video cards, memory modules, and processors,
but in each situation the board would reboot before
finishing the POST. C'est la vie, we weren't
expecting much in the overclocking department anyway.
At least Intel is on the right track by incorporating
some sort of option to run its products out of spec.