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Big Business: 18 P4 boards In Price / Performance Face-Off

Intel D865 PERL

Board Revision: ?

BIOS Version: RL86510A.86A.0058.P08 (July 18, 2003)

Intel is a good example of how suppliers' policies can change over the years. While Intel motherboards from a few years ago were highly conservative, today's D865PERL now goes a far as to offers a burn-in mode. This is nothing more than an overclocking capability, and a reasonable one at that.

An initial glance at the board reveals excellent attention to detail. The layout is very clean. Only the presence of a single, large capacitor makes it impossible to fit a long expansion card in the first PCI slot. As there are a total of five slots available, this is unlikely to present much of a problem.

An Agere FireWire controller with a total of three ports offers further connection options. A panel on the rear provides a network port, four USB ports, serial and parallel connectors, and five jack sockets for the sound system with digital support. In short, we cannot imagine a better use of available space.

An IDE RAID controller is also provided, although this was not present on our test sample. In its place was an Intel 82547EI network controller with support for 1,000 Mbit/s. Thanks to the latest ICH5, there are two Serial ATA ports.

The specification of the D865PERL is clearly performance-oriented, which has an inevitable affect on the price. Even with its Gigabit Ethernet, this board is quite pricey compared to the average board we tested. An 100Mbit Ethernet card would have reduced the price somewhat. Intel has pulled out all the stops to achieve a good benchmark performance and a long feature list. A generous software bundle includes Norton Internet Security. But quality, of course, comes with a price.

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