21 Mobo Salute: Pentium III i815 mobos

Update: Five New 815 Motherboards

Intel's planning to let the Pentium III make its exit soon, giving the Pentium 4 a clear run at the market. This tactic may lead you to believe in the imminent demise of Socket 370. However, you might be overlooking a few important facts. Firstl, a massive amount of Socket 370 systems are already installed in existing systems. Second, this number is even greater if you take the Slot-1 motherboards into account - they can be upgraded to take many Socket 370 processors, simply by using a Slot-to-Socket adapter board. And finally, there are still plenty of Pentium III processors available.

In terms of performance, modern Pentium III systems are not far behind Pentium 4 machines. Also, putting the emphasis on 3D graphics performance, a fast graphics card is going to be just as good an upgrade choice as a fast CPU so, you could say, a PIII system with a fast 3D accelerator can be equally good as any Pentium 4 or Athlon computer, whether it's for gaming or general purpose use. Another important issue is multi-processor support - while dual processor systems are supported by PIIIs, there is currently no chipset available that would allow dual P4 machines, even if the P4 itself might actually support it.

As you can see, Socket 370 is far from being dead. No doubt, that's why we keep getting new mobos for this architecture from several manufacturers. This time, we are taking a look at five boards from AOpen, FIC, Lucky Star and Soltek. This brings our total for comparative testing to 21. Read on to find out how our new batch compared in our giant round-up.