Conclusion: 845G Is On Its Way To Becoming The BX-Successor
Intel is going in the right direction with its 845G chipset, which is well on its way to succeeding the legendary 440BX from the old days of Slot 1. The characteristic of this unit with integrated graphics makes itself evident: DDR333 is supported by nearly all the boards that we tested, making the P4 platform more attractive than ever. This is especially so because the top boards combined with DDR333 memory outperform RDRAM boards with PC800. This makes it clear that Rambus is on the decline - if PC1066 doesn't find greater acceptance and becomes more widely available. However, there's still cause for criticism: the introduction of the 845G chipset in Munich was accompanied by a focus on new graphics from the gigabit network functionality. Furthermore, the manufacturer showed an adapter card for the AGP slot that enables the digital connection of a TFT monitor. Not a single one of the test candidates in this comparison had integrated a GBit chip from Intel (82540EM). The reason for this is obvious: it's too expensive for the mass market. Here, DFI was unique in that an adapter card for the AGP slot was included in the package.
Our engineers at the test lab found that the Gigabyte GA-8IGXP made the best impression in Part I of this comparison. The board design is striking for its integration of numerous additional functions. Yet, the board only costs about 179 Euro in retail stores, which makes for an excellent price/performance ratio. We won't be announcing an overall winner until Part II of the 845G test. If you're primarily concerned about pure performance, and less interested in features, then you should consider the Asus P4B533-V. However, this board costs approximately 239 Euro, and its performance is just a hair's breadth ahead of the Gigabyte board. Asus doesn't exactly hold back very much in terms of the price for end users - if you pay this much for a board, you might think that they would have at least integrated Intel's GBit network chip.
After a long absence from the retail business, Intel has made a successful breakthrough with its 845G chipset. It offers the best performance in combination with DDR333 memory, and this will be followed by another version without integrated graphics. Friends of overclocking, and perhaps certain users who made the switch from AMD, will be thrilled: you can get a stable platform with overclocking potential, consisting of Intel Celeron 1700 (with P4 Willamette core) and based on the 845G plus 256 MB DDR266. All for a total price of about 338 Euro. For the same money, you can get an AMD Athlon XP 1800+, a motherboard with the KT333 chipset and the same memory.
A final comment about all of the motherboards: the 845G chipset offers manufacturers, OEM buyers and local specialty dealers a solid basis for a healthy profit margin. At least the path has already been set.
Please follow-up by reading DDR333 for P4: 16 Boards with Intel 845G - Part II .