Testing The E-Class: 9 Pentium 4 Motherboards With The 845E Chipset

Asus P4B-533E - Q-Fan For Quieter CPU Cooling

Board Revision: 1.02 1.02BIOS Version: 1004 (17. May 2002)

Asus isn't one to scrimp on innovations, either. Its latest technical pirouette, Q-Fan, ensures that the processor fan runs just fast enough to keep the CPU adequately cooled. This especially makes a difference under Windows 2000 or Windows XP, as processors dissipate a mere fraction of the heat dissipated under a full load. With this feature, the CPU fan now makes less noise if you're working with Word only.

The board itself boasts a number of features. In addition to its three DIMM sockets and six PCI slots, there's also a CNR slot and an AGP 4x Pro slot on the board. Be careful when picking out your graphics card! This board only supports 1.5 V models.

You can even rattle a few windows in surround sound since C-Media's CMI8738 is integrated. An adequate number of drives can be connected with an IDE-RAID controller from Promise (PDC20276), which supports UltraATA/133, unlike the IDE controller in the chipset.

The P4B-533E also has an integrated network controller from Intel and a FireWire controller from Texas Instruments. The ports aren't integrated into the ATX panel; instead, they are located in an adapter board that you install in an expansion slot. Thankfully, Asus includes the adapter module with the mobo.

In keeping with Asus standard procedure, CPU settings can be made in BIOS or with the DIP switches. While the latter option might appeal to system integrators, the BIOS set-up still offers a plethora of overclocking features, including modifying the FSB, the CPU core voltage and the clock speed ratio for AGP/PCI.

The package is overflowing with accessories. In addition to a fistful of IDE and USB cables, you'll also find a CD and two manuals. Asus has also thrown in an adapter module to use two FireWire ports and an additional adapter with digital coaxial input and output ports for the sound system.