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Best P4C-compatible Intel Motherboards?

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July 25, 2004 2:52:21 AM

Hello folks.

Maybe you can help me out again...


As far as I can tell from the Intel website, all of the following Intel Motherboards support P4C Northwood CPUs, and they all have onboard audio, and they all evidently support:

- Hyper-Threading Technology
- Dual Channel DDR
- USB 2.0
- Serial ATA
- Parallel ATA

Please see my questions below...


SOME INTEL MOTHERBOARDS:

D865GBF
Intel Chipset: 865G
Intel Extreme Graphics 2

D865GRH
Intel Chipset: 865G
Intel Extreme Graphics 2

D865GLC
Intel Chipset: 865G
Intel Extreme Graphics 2

D865PERL
Intel Chipset: 865PE

D875PBZ
Intel Chipset: 875P
Serial ATA RAID


Here are my questions regarding the above P4C-compatible Intel motherboards and their Intel chipsets:

1) Do all of them have the best known reliability (including lack of problematic issues) and stability? (Are they all equal in these respects, too?)

2) Are there any significant differences between their performance levels (throughput speed, etc.)?

3) I couldn't find a P4C-compatible Intel motherboard with an 875... chipset that is without integrated RAID. Does one exist without it?


Thanks so much!
DuckTape
July 25, 2004 6:31:15 PM

Heya Ducktape;

The serial ATA Raid is a common feature on i865PE motherboards, a few companies make a board without the Raid feature, one is Abit on their IS7-E, it is without RAID and Firewire, but the same reliable part as the IS7.

I find the Firewire handy on the IS7, however you may not want or need it, if you dont need the RAID and Firewire then the IS7-E is the board for you, if you do then the IS7 is the way to go. If you MUST have an intel mobo then get the D865PERL. I recommend the Abit IS7 over the Intel brand motherboard.

The intel boards are built around stability, and lack extreme performance, with no overclocking ability. If you dont plan to overclock then the Intel board is fine.

The i875 chipset is the flagship where as the i865 series was intended as the value line, it didnt really turn out that way as most motherboard manufactures found ways to overcome the lack of PAT by activating their own version of PAT.
As far as features go the i865 has fewer SATA channels, and stuff like that, However most mobo manufactures have added the features the chipset lacks by adding 3rd party solutions, for added value.
July 27, 2004 2:28:47 PM

Hey XeenRecoil,

Thanks much for your reply.

Do you or any other folks know if there are any ASUS P4C and/or P4E motherboards (with i865 and i875 chipsets) which do not have onboard RAID?

I could not find any using the "Motherboard Selector" feature at Intel.com.

Thanks much!
DuckTape
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July 29, 2004 2:23:11 PM

Heya Ducktape;

The Abit IS7 is super inexpensive right now, its only $80 shipped, just get one and slap a p4c 3Ghz, and 1GB Crucial pc3200 in it and go on with life, it will cost you total about $499 USD shipped for the core...trust me on this one, you can thank me later eheh
July 30, 2004 8:11:57 AM

Hello again, XeenRecoil.

Thanks for the recommendation!

The Abit IS7 motherboards are sounding good, especially with the good reports I hear from you and Crashman. I am strongly considering the Abit IS7-E2 motherboard presently.

At Intel.com, I saw that it is based on the Intel 865PE Chipset, and that it supports both P4C Northwood CPUs as well as P4E Prescott CPUs (among other ones), and that it also supports or has: Dual Channel DDR, Hyper-Threading Technology, Onboard Audio, 10/100 LAN, USB 2.0, Serial ATA, and Parallel ATA.

I actually have already written up a handful of questions for you, Crashman, and all the other folks here, if you would all be so kind as to take a look at them when I post them (maybe in a day or two). (In the meantime, I have posted another question in this motherboard forum.)

Thanks for all your time and knowledge.

Best wishes,
DuckTape
December 14, 2004 4:36:55 PM

Hey XeenRecoil,

You wrote back in July 2004:

<< I find the Firewire handy on the IS7, however you may not want or need it, if you dont need the RAID and Firewire then the IS7-E is the board for you, if you do then the IS7 is the way to go. If you MUST have an intel mobo then get the D865PERL. I recommend the Abit IS7 over the Intel brand motherboard. The intel boards are built around stability, and lack extreme performance, with no overclocking ability. If you dont plan to overclock then the Intel board is fine. The i875 chipset is the flagship where as the i865 series was intended as the value line, it didnt really turn out that way as most motherboard manufactures found ways to overcome the lack of PAT by activating their own version of PAT. As far as features go the i865 has fewer SATA channels, and stuff like that, However most mobo manufactures have added the features the chipset lacks by adding 3rd party solutions, for added value. >>

I understand that the i875 chipset may come with more features than the i865 chipset.

Besides that -- Would you say that the i875 and i865 chipsets share the same amount of performance, stability (?), reliability, compatibility, and lack of problematic issues?

Thanks much!
DuckTape
a b V Motherboard
December 14, 2004 11:26:35 PM

Hello. Intel has 2 versions of their ICH5 southbridge, the ICH5 and the ICH5R. R stands for RAID. It's an added feature that cost nearly nothing (I think they charge an extra $4 for it when they sell to other companies) and you don't have to use it.

The SATA controller of the ICH5R defaults to NON-RAID IDE mode. Drives connected to it are treated the same as PATA drives and don't require additional drivers or anything unless RAID mode is manually enabled.

So by default the ICH5R reverts to ICH5 operation. And those are the only choices for these chipsets, the ICH5 and ICH5R.

There's no reason not to use the ICH5R then, because even if you're setting up 1000 systems with a single SATA drive (typical), it will set up just as it would with an IDE drive. No added labor, etc. The only disadvantage would be the small price difference, but since Intel is producing the boards you considered the real price difference isn't there: They charge whatever they think is appropriate.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 20, 2004 6:28:04 PM

Hello Crashman,

Thank you, as always, for your very informative replies.

So, just to be sure I understand:

The one and only difference between the i875 (Canterwood 875P) chipset and the i865 (Springdale 865PE) chipset is the following?:

The i875 chipset has a built-in ICH5R southbridge, and the i865 has a built-in ICH5 southbridge (unless it has been replaced by an ICH5R southbridge).

And the only difference between those two southbridges is that the ICH5R contains a RAID controller, and the ICH5 does not?

Is all of the above correct?

Thanks again!
DuckTape


P.S. Crashman and others: Would you be so kind as to read and comment on another message (I am now posting in this "Motherboards and Chipsets" forum on 12/20/2004) titled "Integrated Firewire/RAID Issues in a DAW/NLE PC?"? Crashman, in this posting I state why I am hesitant to get a RAID controller integrated on my motherboard.
a b V Motherboard
December 20, 2004 7:39:04 PM

No, the only physical difference between the 875P and 865PE is the pin grid, the higher model has all the pins for ECC RAM but the 865PE has those pins missing.

The ICH5 and ICH5R are southbridges. Normally companies put the ICH5 on cheaper boards and the ICH5R on more expensive boards.

Both the ICH5 and ICH5R treat SATA drives as single by default, and work using the standard IDE drivers built into the OS (no need to add drivers in order to install an OS). The ICH5R adds a RAID mode that is disabled by default. When you enable RAID mode, you have to add a driver to load the OS (when the bootup sequence displays "Press F6 to load 3rd party RAID/SCSI drivers from floppy").

So as long as you don't enable RAID mode, everything is the same between the ICH5 and ICH5R.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 20, 2004 10:00:39 PM

Crashman,

Thanks for your reply.

<< No, the only physical difference between the 875P and 865PE is the pin grid, the higher model has all the pins for ECC RAM but the 865PE has those pins missing.

The ICH5 and ICH5R are southbridges. >>

Oh, so the southbridge is not actually part of the chipset, correct?

So would it be correct to say that the i865 and i875 chipsets are completely identical (except regarding the pins you mentioned) in quality, performance/throughput (if these are even factors), reliability, dependability, lack of any possible problematic issues, etc.?

Thanks much!
DuckTape
a b V Motherboard
December 20, 2004 10:17:27 PM

The chipset is normally a set of chips! Hence the name! Most chipsets for the past 10 years have had two parts: A northbridge and a southbridge. The northbridge (875P, 865PE) has the CPU interface and normally controls the RAM and has the AGP controller. The southbridge has things like the drive controllers, PCI controller, USB controller, etc. Together these parts make up the chipset (875P chipset, 865PE chipse, etc).

The core used for the 875P and 865PE comes with a memory shortcut path Intel at one time refused to call "PAT", but their litterature about this feature refers to it. They program the 865PE to ignore that feature, some companies re-enable it. It's only worth around 1-2%, so I wouldn't be concerned.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 22, 2004 8:21:15 PM

Hey Crashman!


By George, I think I've got it!

Crashman, would you be so kind as to tell me if I've got the following all correct?:


1) The i865 Northbridge chip (of the Intel i865 chipset / Springdale 865PE chipset) and the i875 Northbridge chip (of the Intel i875 chipset / Canterwood 875P chipset) are IDENTICAL (including CPU interface, AGP controller, "RAM controller", both contain the PAT memory shortcurt path, etc.) EXCEPT that:

- The i875 Northbridge chip includes all the Memory pins so that it can also take ECC RAM, and the i865 Northbridge chip is missing some pins so that it cannot take ECC RAM.

- The i875 Northbridge chip is able to utilize its PAT memory shortcut path feature (which only gains a relatively insignificant 1-2% in throughput performance), while the i865 Northbridge chip is programmed to ignore the PAT memory shortcut path feature (though this feature is sometimes re-enabled).


2) The ICH5 chip (usually the Southbridge of the Intel i865 chipset / Springdale 865PE chipset) and the ICH5R chip (usually the Southbridge of the Intel i875 chipset / Canterwood 875P chipset) are IDENTICAL (including Drive Controllers, PCI Controller, USB Controller, etc.) EXCEPT that:

- The ICH5R chip also includes a RAID Controller (which is disabled by default), and the ICH5 chip does not include a RAID Controller.


So, ultimately, ASIDE from all of the above, would it be correct to say that the i875 and i865 chipsets are IDENTICAL and share the same amount of throughput/performance, stability, dependability, reliability, compatibility, and lack of problematic issues?


Thanks very much!
DuckTape
a b V Motherboard
December 22, 2004 8:57:58 PM

Perfect!

Now, if you're looking for a board that doesn't have RAID, but all the boards you're considering have RAID, you can simply ignore the RAID feature and buy the board you want!

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
December 22, 2004 9:12:39 PM

Crashman,

Great! Thanks!

And just to be sure -- the answer to the below question is "yes" as well, correct?

<< So, ultimately, ASIDE from all of the above, would it be correct to say that the i875 and i865 chipsets are IDENTICAL and share the same amount of throughput/performance, stability, dependability, reliability, compatibility, and lack of problematic issues? >>

Much thanks!
DuckTape
a b V Motherboard
December 23, 2004 12:12:25 AM

Yes.

<font color=blue>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to a hero as big as Crashman!</font color=blue>
<font color=red>Only a place as big as the internet could be home to an ego as large as Crashman's!</font color=red>
!