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Jetway BI-500

Roundup: Six Core 2 Motherboards Under $100
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In today’s comparison, the Jetway BI-500 is the second of only two motherboards to use Intel’s performance-mainstream P45 chipset and to support multiple graphics cards. With size, layout, and features ostensibly comparable to the ASRock P45XE, it makes sense to compare them directly, beginning with the BI-500’s slightly-lower $90 Web price.

Jetway’s layout advantages begin with a floppy connector near the center of the BI-500’s front edge, which is exactly where the Ultra ATA connection of the P45XE is located. But the BI-500 doesn’t have an Ultra ATA controller—a move we consider only a little gutsy since no self-respecting builder would put an Ultra ATA drive in a new system. Could this be the cause of the $5 price difference? Not exactly.

Hidden behind the fact that the BI-500 uses a CrossFire-compatible chipset and dual-graphics circuit board is another fact: although the P45 has divisible PCIe 2.0 lanes, the BI-500 doesn’t support high bandwidth to both its x16 slots. Instead, all 16 of the northbridge’s v2.0 lanes are wired directly to the upper slot, and the lower slot is handicapped with four of the ICH10’s v1.1 lanes. We’ve witnessed the dire consequences of using a PCIe x4 slot in CrossFire graphics mode, where simply enabling CrossFire in the graphics driver often {reduced} performance.

Thus, the BI-500 only offers dual-graphics support, but does not properly support CrossFire, and its real rivals are P43 products such as the similarly priced Biostar TP43D2-A7.

Jetway moved its SATA ports a little closer to the bottom edge than Biostar did, freeing the top graphics card slot to easily support extra-long, double-thick graphics card assemblies. And while four of the ports could be blocked if similarly over-sized graphics cards were put in the bottom slot, we can’t imagine anyone handicapping a high-priced graphics processor in this manner.

The ATX12V connectors of both Jetway and its rival are advantageously positioned in the upper-rear corner, where these can easily be reached by the cables of top-mounted power supplies, whereas the cables of bottom-mounted power supplies can be more directed from beneath, over the top edge of a motherboard tray. A feature not found on the competing TP43D2-A7 is the blank space beside the BI-500’s four-pin connector, which allows eight-pin plugs to easily be used.

The BI-500’s front-panel audio header is found in the traditional bottom-rear-corner, a tradition we’d like to see forgotten since the cables of some cases won’t easily reach this far.

Only half of the motherboards in today’s comparison use electrolytic capacitors, and both the BI-500 and competing TP43D2-A7 are among them. But while low-cost rival Biostar chose a well-known Taiwanese brand, Jetway upgraded to Japanese brand Matsushita.

Jetway BI-500 (Revision 2.0)

Northbridge

Intel P45 Express

Southbridge

Intel ICH10

Voltage Regulator

Four Phases

BIOS

A03 (11/03/2008)

333.3MHz (FSB1333)

333.7 MHz (+0.11%)

Clock Generator

ICS 9LPRS926EGLF

Connectors and Interfaces

Onboard

1x PCIe 2.0 x16

1x PCIe x16 with x4 pathways

2x PCIe x1

2x PCI

4x USB 2.0 (2 ports per connector)

1x ParallelPort header

1x Floppy

6x Serial ATA 3.0 Gb/s

1x Front Panel Audio

1x CD-Audio In

1x S/P-DIF Out

1x Fan 4 pins (CPU)

1x Fan 3 pins (Chassis)

IO panel

2x PS2 (keyboard + mouse)

1x Digital Audio Out (S/P-DIF coaxial)

1x Digital Audio In (S/P-DIF coaxial)

1x Serial Communications Port

4x USB 2.0

1x RJ-45 Network

6x Analog Audio (7.1 Channel + Mic-In + Line-In)

Mass Storage Controllers

Intel ICH10

6x SATA 3.0 Gb/s

Network

Realtek RTL8111C PCI-E

Gigabit LAN Controller

Audio

Realtek ALC883 HDA

7.1 + 2 channel Multi-Streaming Output


We question the logic of putting dual slots and a CrossFire-compatible chipset on a dual-graphics circuit board that doesn’t support CrossFire. Jetway could at least have wired the two slots into x8 mode permanently if it felt jumper blocks or selector cards were too expensive. The firm also produces a P43 version of the BI-500, called the BI-520, and the only reason we can think of not to choose the lower-cost version is that its availability is limited.

Digital audio input is a fairly uncommon feature that, in combination with digital audio out and a full set of analog audio ports, gives the Jetway BI-500 a big lead in audio connectivity over the similarly-priced Biostar TP43D2-A7.

Jetway’s additional audio channels require a better-featured device to support them, compared to the 5.1-channel output of its rival. Rated at a 95:1 decibel signal-to-noise ratio, Realtek’s mid-spec ALC883 codec accesses Intel’s ICH10 integrated HD audio controller.

Realtek’s RTL8111C is a manufacturer-favorite for the low-cost market, using a 2.5 Gb PCIe x1 interface to provide optimal bandwidth to 1.0 Gb network devices.

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Top Comments
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
Other Comments
  • -5 Hide
    V3NOM , December 24, 2008 9:10 AM
    interesting, although pretty much anyone building a P775 system these days would spend a bit more than $100... and somethings really weird with this commenting thing cos i can't read what i'm typing... it just ... doesnt fill the box? just when i type something it instantly goes to the left instead of filling the box... but anyway, interesting if a bit useless article.
  • 5 Hide
    cangelini , December 24, 2008 9:42 AM
    FWIW, the issue with text disappearing from the commenting box as you're typing is something I've reported and m waiting for a fix still. Thanks for confirming that it's still an issue.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 11:16 AM
    Yes - everyone has money shooting out of their pantless ass to buy more expensive motherboards. I use a gigabyte Ep35 DS3L and am very happy with it. What is a >$100 board going to give me? Is it just that you want to waste money? I'm guessing you are one of those people who carry a balance on your credit card and lease a Lexus - you debt-carrying phag.
  • 5 Hide
    jsc , December 24, 2008 11:38 AM
    "What is a >$100 board going to give me?

    I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports.
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , December 24, 2008 12:11 PM
    I run the I.T. department for a couple small businesses, and the sub $100 motherboard is almost essential in today's economy. Sure I could use a $120-$150 motherboard, DDR3, 10000 RPM hard drive, and all kinds of other things, but I would end up with a system that is only marginal faster in business applications for 3+ times the price. Take one of the G3x or G4x motherboards, 2GB DDR2, Intel E7x00 CPU and 80GB+ HDD and you have a system that will meet the needs of a good majority of businesses and home users. I am personally a gamer and can see the value in the higher end components; but there are a lot of other market segments out there where this makes financial sense.
  • 4 Hide
    gaiden2k7 , December 24, 2008 1:06 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $99 during black friday... would that top this list? :) 
  • -8 Hide
    Noya , December 24, 2008 1:27 PM
    I got a Gigabyte UD3P for $84.50 during Black Friday, pwned you ninja gaiden fag.
  • -8 Hide
    malveaux , December 24, 2008 1:28 PM
    Wait, no AMD stuff?

    :( 
  • 6 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 1:46 PM
    lol @ rjcorrin's 1st comment.

    In reply: Maybe he already had HDDs laying around of smaller size and thought it best to save money by spending a few more dollars on more SATA ports than hundreds on new 3 x 1TB HDDs. You're reasoning is asinine and self contradicting.
  • 2 Hide
    Tindytim , December 24, 2008 1:47 PM
    rjcorrinDid you happen to notice that the comment box detects your errors and underlines them in red?

    Did you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.

    rjcorrin"I have a DS3P becuae i need the exrta SATA ports."The DS3L has 4 Sata ports which could easily handle 3 terabytes and a DVD drive. You could have saved money by editing down your porn collection and deleting your stolen .iso's of the entire "Friday the 13th" collection.

    And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.

    Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.
  • 1 Hide
    gwolfman , December 24, 2008 2:11 PM
    Ummm, maybe I missed it but I didn't see anywhere that said what video/graphics card was used in these test. Anyone!?! I'm curious because of the power consumption numbers. Thanks.
  • 3 Hide
    cambion , December 24, 2008 2:14 PM
    Attention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.
  • -1 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:20 PM
    cambionAttention to detail alert... The MSI Neo3-f has eight SATA ports not, as the article claims, six.


    This is the exact number of ports on the DS3P. So, again, what does a >$100 board going to give me?
  • -3 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:24 PM
    Though this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu
  • 1 Hide
    tmc , December 24, 2008 2:26 PM
    tmcThough this does give you an what our Taiwan & Chinese friends have in the goodie bin at the local computer store.. you will still want to wait to bu

    Ugh, got cut off..
    Wait to build your system until Q1, Q2 processor price cuts of 2009.. especially if you have your heart set on $ inTEL $ 775 vs amd.
  • -9 Hide
    rjcorrin , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    TindytimDid you happen to notice you're using Firefox? It, not this comment box, does that.And what about Raid? And all the PC's I've had in this Millennium have had 2 Removable Disk drives.Not to mention I have multiple OSes installed, and an extra drive I use for storage (I reformat often). So I have plenty of drives.


    /Sarcasm
    Maybe I should load up a few more OSes, Opera, IE (6 & 7) and Chrome to fully analyze the capabilities of this text box. I should probably hook up a raid array (mode 0+1 anyone?) to maximize my system performance and maintain the integrity of my porn collection prior to starting my full analysis of this text box.
    /sarcasm
    Do you get any real work done on that computer of yours? Seems like you're spending all your time loading operating systems, plugging in drives, reformatting, and flipping between your extensive collection of linux derivatives. Get a life dude!! You are a hacker-poser!

    And...
    Merry Christmas to EVERYONE!! (even the Jews)
  • 6 Hide
    orangedrink , December 24, 2008 2:29 PM
    Merry Christmas
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