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Intel's Strike Force: 19 DDR-Motherboards With 845 Chipset and DDR-Support

ECS / Elitegroup P4IBAD

Board Revision : 1.0

BIOS Version : 1.0B (December 3, 2001)

The P4IBAD attracts attention with two visual characteristics : first, the PCB is purple, and second, the DDR sockets are blue instead of black. ECS does this in order to distinguish between SDR and DDR SDRAM. Still, these details are all but necessary, as the board usually is not visible after system assembly. Besides that, it’s not possible to insert a standard SDRAM DIMM into a DDR DIMM socket, anyway.

ECS offers FSB speeds up to 130 MHz plus the option to raise the core voltage up to 1.85 V. Looks like great overclocking potential ! All processor parameters are set directly in the BIOS menu. Here, you can also choose from which device you would like the system to boot. That includes both IDE and SCSI drives as well as network adapters and even USB drives, offering excellent flexibility.

The BIOS is quite friendly and tells you what kind of IDE cable you are using (40-pin ATA/33 or 80-pin ATA/66+) - nice, but pretty useless in the end.

In addition to Chaintech, ECS also misbehaved by running the 2.2 GHz test processor at 2219 MHz. Although it does not have any impact on system stability, it improves performance in a rather unfair manner.

There is an AC97 sound system, which makes the P4IBAD ready for multimedia and games. Three fan headers are present so that additional cooling devices can be attached for the CPU and/or the drives. All three headers can be monitored in the BIOS or via suitable management and monitoring software. The same also applies to system and CPU temperature.

Optionally, the P4IBAD is also availabe with an IDE RAID controller from HighPoint. The sound system, a piezo speaker as replacement for the PC speaker and the chassis intrusion detection pin are standard benefits, as is the fact that this board runs perfectly with only the ATX power connector ( !).