ASUS P4R800-V Deluxe: We take look at an ASUS P4 motherboard packing the Radeon 9100 IGP.
July 7, 2004
Now lets look at the important chips that are on the motherboard. First we have the , which provides all the standard MCP duties, such as AGP control, memory transfers, and all communication with the CPU, but it also adds the integrated graphics based on the ATi 9100 (8500LE) series of video cards. Next is the IXP 150 which provides all the hardware based devices such as the IDE controller, PCI controller, and sound card, just to name a few. After that we see the , which provides the third IDE controller on the motherboard as well as the only SATA headers on the motherboard. It also allows for these drives to be run in a RAID array, from RAID 0 to a RAID 0+1 combination. After that is the firewire controller which provides the standard 400Mb/s speed we have come to expect from firewire, while also providing 2 ports for connections. After that we move to the Yukon gigabit network controller, which moves through the PCI bus to transfer the data, thus limiting the actual bandwidth available. Lastly we see the sound chip, the is your standard AC '97 sound card that offers 5.1 sound and in the case of the board here, has support for digital/optical output.
The software that is included allows you to make good use of the included firewire ports. The WinDVD creator program allows you to capture and edit videos that you have. WinDVD player version 5 is your standard DVD player that many people use to watch DVD movies. The Asus CD is full of all the standard things that you need to use, such as drivers and other Asus standard software. This includes Asus Probe for watching the temperature of the CPU and such, and PC-Cillin for your antivirus needs.
One of the features that this motherboard offers is the ability to use the integrated video card in conjunction with other ATi based video cards to allow you to use up to three monitors at one time. If this sounds somewhat familiar it is, as Matrox has been producing a video card that supports three monitors on one card for a few years now. Just try and figure out which is Matrox and which is ATi based pictures right above this paragraph. Does this work very well? Yes it seems to work just as well as the Matrox card, and you can still use Theater mode on one of the two cards.
Now lets look at the BIOS of this motherboard. Has the use of this slightly rare chipset forced Asus to make radical changes to their BIOS? Are any differences going to limit the overclock-ability of this motherboard?
First we will look at the Advanced menu of this board. Basically it is from here that you reach all the other options that we will be looking at today. For the options on this menu we see that we can enable the USB 2.0 controller, or to enable HT, or even to enable the biggest selling feature of this motherboard, that of Surroundview. One of the menus that branch off from the Advanced menu is that of the Frequency/Voltage menu. In it you have the options to change the CPU FSB, and various voltages. There is the CPU voltage options up to 1.625v, and the DIMM voltage goes up to 2.8v which isn't as good as it could be. Especially the DIMM voltage is rather low as 2.8v is the standard voltage that some DIMM's use, so that leaves no room for growth. Next is the NB and AGP voltage options which allow for a small increase from 1.5v to 1.6v.
Here we see the Chip Configuration menu, and the PCI Configuration menu. First the Chip config menu gives us some useful options for tweaking, such as the ability to change the amount of RAM allocated for the onboard video card. It also allows you to change the timings of the memory as one would expect from any motherboard currently available. The PCI config menu allows you to enable or disable certain onboard devices such as the SATA connectors or the network card.
Next lets take a look at the I/O device config and the hardware monitor. The I/O config gives you control over enabling the serial ports or the parallel ports as well. More importantly for most is the AC '97 control for enabling the sound card, as well as the interesting and somewhat useful Speech IC reporter. The hardware monitor gives you all the pertinent information about the current voltages and temperature.
For the last two BIOS menu's we will take a look at are fairly small options but are still useful. The first is instant music, which offers a interesting option of being able to play music without turning the computer on. Then there is the SiS RAID BIOS setup screen, which allows you to create a RAID array with either type of drive that you are using.