Big Business: 18 P4 boards In Price / Performance Face-Off

Memory: Run-of-the-mill Timing

The test systems were supposed to be equipped with a total of 512 MB local memory, so we used two different types of memory. In single-channel operation we used a 512 MB DDR400 DIMM from Buffalo. Although this only supports CL2.5 at a speed of 400 MHz, for this specific case it worked. For dual-channel operation of the 865 and 875 Intel chipsets, we used our familiar old DDR400 memory from Corsair.

The DIMMs’ timings were irrelevant. The goal was to get results that represented typical, out-of-the-box systems with mainstream RAM. We thus adapted our testing environment accordingly by using a timing setting of 6-3-3-CL2.5 for all of the boards tested.

The Disk Drive : Has It Worn Out Its Welcome ?

The first impulse is to answer "Yes" to this question. After all, most users use CD burners or other, more elegant media that is faster, sturdier, and more flexible.

The motherboard manufacturers showed their impatience for the demise of the floppy drive by positioning the ports oftentimes in impractical places. Other components obviously have priority in the design, and that is understandable. But anyone who still needs the floppy drive will have to buy a very long cable if they use a big tower case, or go to the bother of threading the cable through the case, or even doing both.

The trouble is unfortunately that Microsoft, despite its love of progress and competition, still can’t offer necessary drivers. Even with Windows Server 2003 the installation program still requests necessary drivers, including many IDE-RAID controllers and all Serial ATA controllers, from a third-party disk. These can be integrated within minutes into the source files on the Windows CD, but there is not always a second computer complete with a burner that is handy.