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

Intel D845BG

Board Revision: 01

BIOS Version: P02 (January 17, 2002)

Only few years ago, Intel motherboards had a terrible image in the retail sector: they did not perform well and there were hardly any interesting features. But the chipset leader is not asleep. The D845BG provides good solutions in the details, and the remaining performance lag has become so small that it's not worth talking about anymore.

There are 6 PCI slots as well as 2 DIMM sockets for peripheral and memory upgrades. By the way, Intel is the only manufacturer that ships its motherboard without the CNR slot. This expansion slot (Communications and Network Riser) can be used to plug in cheap audio/ network/ modem cards. As you can imagine, this kind of interface is primarily used in the business sector.

Though this motherboard does not support USB 2.0 (which is offered by the D845BGSE), you will get 7 instead of the typical 4 USB ports. Four of them can instantly be used, as they've been placed between the other connectors on the ATX back panel, so no adapters are required.

Several monitoring features have been added to keep an eye on temperatures and fan rotation speeds (for all three headers). Also, there is an AC97 sound system, making this motherboard ready for multimedia. Finally, one 100 Mbit network controller is ready to connect your system to the Internet or to other networks.

It's pretty well known and certainly understandable that Intel won't ever add overclocking features to their boards. First, it's bad for the CPU business and second, stability and features are the primary directive - which is reasonable enough. One of the nice features of this motherboard is that it only took about 30 seconds to boot the Windows 2000 test installation. Using Windows XP, this time would even be shorter, thanks to Intel's Application Accelerator software and the Rapid Boot BIOS of this motherboard. By the way, the latter can be programmed directly from within Windows. Finally, you can do without the boot disks when flashing the BIOS.

Intel includes a manual, driver CD, all the cables you need and software such as Norton Internet Security (a firewall for home use), NTI CD Maker (CD recording software), Real Player 8 and Intel Active Monitor.