Graphics cards have indeed come a long way since they first came out. The original cards displayed just 2D images on the screen at resolutions that we would cringe at today. 3D capability was later added and from that point the technology has continually improved in large leaps and bounds.
Asus themselves are primarily a motherboard manufacturing company, and are considered among the top for build quality of their motherboards. They have also branched out to the Video card market, among other diversified areas of computer technology. Only recently has Asus decided to start making ATi based video cards, such as the 9600XT and 9800 Pro.
This leads us to the combination of the two technologies, as ATi has been designing a IGP based chipset for some time now. Some of the chipsets have been used in laptops, to provide ATi based video card technology to an integrated chipset. This is much like nVidia did with their nForce chipsets, which performed very well for what they did, though they were only available for the AMD platform. ATi has a Pentium IV license and so let us look at a ATi based PIV motherboard to see if ATi can do what nVidia did for AMD chipsets.
Asus P4R800-V Deluxe
We already know that Asus has a reputation for a quality motherboard, which includes the packaging and included extra's. So does Asus live up to their reputation, well lets see. If you want a more detailed look at Asus specs, of which we will cover during the review, please .
So lets see an itemized list of what you get in the box:
- Quick setup guide
- WinDVD Suite
- Motherboard CD
- Sound Back plate
- Serial back plate
- USB/game port back plate
- 2 * SATA cable
- 4 Pin to SATA power connector
- ATA 133 cable
- Floppy cable
- ATX back plate
It looks like Asus has included many of the things that you will need, including a couple of extra jumpers if you need them. The inclusion of the serial cable was interesting, as few people are using them these days. The game port also is an interesting addition as most controllers these days use USB, but there are still some very nice legacy controllers out there.
Now to look at the configuration of the left side of the motherboard. First the PCI/AGP slots, we can see that Asus decided to leave some extra space between the AGP slot and the first PCI slot, which means that most two slot coolers will probably only take one extra slot on this board. The overall configuration of 1/5 (AGP/PCI), has always been pretty standard for most uses, though Asus has also included the WiFi slot to add their WiFi card to the motherboard. Moving down from there we see the Radeon IXP along with the other hardware controllers. In the top part of the picture we see the SATA controller from SiS which provides the SATA connectors and one IDE connector. The front panel connectors are color coded for easy recognition, though I still have to look at the manual most times. One interesting thing that I have only seen on a couple of motherboards is the layout of two of the IDE connectors, as they are 90 from what they would normally be, which provides a bit easier connection, in my opinion that is.
Moving counter clockwise, we see that Asus has put the power connector in my favorite spot, right near the bottom of the motherboard away from the CPU socket. Otherwise there is the standard dual channel memory slots of the ATi chipset, which are color coded for dual channel usage. Moving on to the area of the CPU socket we see that it is about as standard as most Asus motherboards we see today, with the passive heatsink on the IGP and the 12v Aux power connector in the upper portion of the motherboard. The only thing that seemed a little cramped was the fan connectors that were right beside the CPU socket which can be a bit tight with the heatsink installed.