Rambus DRAM is having an increasingly difficult time in the PC marketplace. The memory technology was once supposed to fire up all Pentium 4 platforms, but launching it on a broad front turned out to be a mistake. The word on the street was `too hot, too expensive and only slightly faster than SDRAM.' Although things are different now, Intel gave in to the pressure of the crowd and now mainly relies on double data rate SDRAM, or DDR for short.
After the E7500 dual Xeon chipset was introduced, the new E7205 was modified specifically for the Pentium 4. With AGP 8X, USB 2.0 and dual-channel memory interface in conjunction with HyperThreading, it is gearing up to become the starter package for Intel workstations. How well it can succeed is questionable, since more power than an 850E chipset is not to be expected. But in another area, the E7205 offers more: in comparison to RDRAM, the DDR memory chip barely heats up at all, and the overall platform still provides plenty of latitude for overclocking.
For this this comparison, we received seven of the currently available motherboards. The contenders are AOpen, Asus, DFI, Gigabyte, IWill, MSI and Tyan. The IWill board is unusual because it requires an EPS-12V power supply and thus intentionally excludes home users as a group.