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Conclusion: Board And RAM Not For Tinkerers

One Tough Cookie: 10 Boards with Intel i875P Chipset: Part I
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Even as we speak, boards with the Intel i875P chipset for dual DDR400 and FSB800 are perched on store shelves. The new chipsets have no trouble outstripping the Rambus platform with PC1066 or PC1200 RAM. But our other conclusion in Part I of this comparative test is to wait and see - at least until the (BIOS) problems with the aggressive RAM timings have been resolved.The RAM modules themselves pose no problems: dual DDR400, for instance, runs perfectly in conjunction with the Nvidia NForce 2 chipset and Socket 462 (AMD platform).

Due to the numerous BIOS updates in the motherboards, our comparison proved to be a nail-biting affair: not every RAM module worked in each board at the same quick timings. And so overclockers would be well-advised to wait a while, since you encounter the most problems when running a FSB of 200 MHz and maximum RAM speed simultaneously. In any case, there is already the right RAM for this, even DDR466 is occasionally available on the market.

One peculiarity in this test is the wide range in performance among the boards, even though all participants used the same chipset. You can draw your own conclusions about the differences in BIOS programming. In order to achieve the best performance in each case from every board, we have used seven different RAM modules - if there had been one or two RAM types, that would not have been possible.

The best performance is offered by the Asus, but the manufacturer saves both on the layout and the accessories; all that adds up to a steep price. Real fans of the brand won't be bothered very much. On the other hand, Gigabyte and MSI are bursting with accessories. Gigabyte is more balanced with average performance, while MSI has serious problems with quick timings.

Abit, the first port of call for overclockers, did not come out so well in our comparison. The board offers scarcely any potential for overclocking - it does not offer more than 200 MHz for quick timings. As far as performance is concerned, the manufacturer falls behind considerably; here a corresponding BIOS has to put things right.

Although no Siemens board is represented in the test field, Intel assumes this role - as far as the layout and features are concerned. It's rock-solid with few tweaking options and a sparse layout tailored to OEM customers. After all, what business user would ever want aggressive RAM timing - assuming he's even ever heard of it?

Please continue by reading Mobo Tsunami! 24 Boards with the 865/875P Chipset .

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