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Pricey Foundations: 9 Boards For The Pentium 4

Pricey Foundations: Boards With An Intel 850 Chipset

Anyone who's ready to blow lots of money on a PC system would be well-advised to invest in a board with an Intel 850 chipset. After all, you'd be hard-pressed to spend more on a simple board these days. The juicy price tag attached to the chipset also explained the high average price for the nine boards we tested - around $140. Not exactly cheap when you consider that boards for the relatively common and popular AMD Athlons only cost $125. Computer dealers are willing to part with an Athlon 1333 for a little over $100. No doubt about it, boards equipped with Intel 850 chipsets aren't about to be snatched up by student with puny wallets - the customers are bound to be more professional users with refined tastes. The dangers of being careless with your AMD Athlon have already been discussed in our article "Hot Spot: How Modern Processors Cope with Heat Emergencies" . This includes a video demonstration, which you can download from Streamgate , one of our partner web sites.

The number of consumers willing to purchase one of these boards is pretty small, as you might well imagine. In addition to the high initial payment, don't forget that you still have to shell out quite a bit for the Rambus memory and the Pentium 4 CPU itself. The sky-high prices for RDRAM (128 MB currently sets you back about $45) can be very simply explained by the fact that Rambus is only available from brand name manufacturers such as Samsung. Unlike DDR-SDRAM and SDRAM, there's no such thing as a no-name module. But Rambus does have some advantages, too -these models spare you all the headache of searching for the ideal settings for the best performance. And our test demonstrates beyond the shadow of a doubt that one of the main reasons to buy an 850 board is its infallible stability. We've come across few boards that are as stable as these nine test candidates.