Board Revision: 1.0
BIOS version: May 7, 2003
Our call to send the board with the best price/performance ratio was answered also by the Taiwanese manufacturer Acorp. Its 4PE800 is a standard ATX board with Intel's 845PE chipset, which the manufacturer has released for up to 800 MHz FSB speed.
For the retail market, the package would be boring by today's standards and offers little name recognition. Even in the package's contents, Acorp is rather conservative, because nothing is provided but a set of ribbon cables, a driver, the obligatory ATX panel, and an average manual. This Spartan approach has a positive effect on the price, certainly, which is - as we already noted - the be-all and end-all of the business sector.
With a width of only 190 mm, this board is far and away the smallest. This is at the expense of the layout, because the connector for the floppy cable is unhappily placed on the lower edge, while the IDE connectors shorten the overall lengths of at least two of the five PCI slots and the AGP. The minimal overall size, however, makes installation in a small case feasible.
The version we received offers no additional hardware besides a sound system based on a codec from Realtek. A network controller is usually provided, but our version was not equipped with one. It is precisely these features that are attractive for corporate customers; in this respect, Acorp cut a few too many corners.
We think the fan on the MCH is strange and lacks robustness. A cooling device would have sufficed and would not have required maintenance. MSI shows that this approach can work.