Iwill P4ES i845E Motherboard

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The IWILL P4ES Motherboard Review
Serial ATA is on the way!

By, Robert Maloney
October 10, 2002

The one true constant, when it comes to the world of computers, is change. Even as new items hit the market, or even during our evaluations early on here at HotHardware, newer technological breakthroughs are being developed to get more and more performance from PC system components. Technology silently progresses on whether or not the rest of the world is ready for these new ideas. More often than not, motherboards are the springboard for these new technologies, sometimes incorporating them before the supporting hardware is even released. One such technology is Serial ATA (SATA), which will eventually replace the parallel ATA drives that PCs have been using for over a decade.


The IWILL P4ES is one of the first boards that comes with SATA connectors on board, although it still comes with 2 ATA133 and 2 ATA100 ports as well. The main reason for this obviously, is that we have not seen any serial ATA hard drives available for sale yet. Unlike ATA133, SATA will be officially recognized as a new standard for data transfer, and has full support from Western Digital, Maxtor, and Seagate. Serial ATA will be introduced to the mainstream PC at an initial peak transfer rate of 150 MB/sec and a roadmap leading to up to 600 MB/sec throughput in 2007. It is a very promising technology, with hopes of breaking the data access bottleneck currently experienced with today's hard drives.


Serial ATA is not the only feature of the IWILL P4ES. Based on the established i845E chipset, the P4ES supports both 400MHz and 533MHz front size buses for Pentium 4 CPUs. Other main features consist of 6-channel on-board audio, support for USB 2.0, DDR 200/266, and ATA133, and comes with an external connection box called the FI Panel, short for the "Fantastic Interface" (god help the marketing guy that thought of that one!) All jokes aside, it does come in handy, providing front ports for USB devices, headphones and microphone jacks, as well as support for Compact Flash cards, Memory Sticks and Secure Digital memory cards. So, who's going to show you all this hardware? I guess IWILL. I mean, I will...err... you know what I mean. Let's check out the specifications.

Specifications / Features of the Iwill P4ES
A Full Featured i845E board just begging to be tested

  
CLICK ANY IMAGE FOR AN ENLARGED VIEW

CPU

  • Supports single socket Intel Pentium 4 Socket 478 processors with 400/533 MHz Front Side Bus

Chipset

  • Intel 845E

  • MCH (82845) - Memory Controller Hub

  • ICH4 (82801DB) - I/O Controller Hub 4

Memory

  • Two 184-pin DIMM sockets

  • Supports up to 2GB DDR200/266 SDRAM

IDE

  • Dual channel ATA 100/66/33 IDE controller

  • Dual channel ATA 133 IDE controller

  • Promise PDC20275

  • Supports maximum of eight IDE drives

Serial ATA

  • Silicon Image Sil 3112 SATALink PCI Host Controller

  • Support two independent SATA devices

  • Data transfer up to 1.5Gbps (150MB/s)

Audio

  • 6-Channel AC '97 CODEC on-board

  • Realtek ALC650 audio CODEC

  • S/PDIF digital audio output

System BIOS

  • Award BIOS 4Mb Flash ROM

  • Dual BIOS code - one code read-only

  • Supports ACPI S1, S3, and S4

  • Expansion Slots

  • 1 AGP slot supporting 4X mode (1.5V)

  • 5 32-bit 33MHz PCI slots

Internal I/O Connectors

  • 2 ATA 100/66/33 IDE connectors

  • 2 ATA 133 IDE connectors

  • 2 Serial ATA connectors

  • 1 Floppy drive connector

  • 1 Internal IR connector

  • 1 Internal USB 2.0 header

  • 1 Wake-on-LAN header

  • 1 Compact Flash reader connector

  • 1 Memory Stick/Secure Digital reader connector

  • 1 CD-IN connection

  • 1 AUX-IN connection

Back Panel I/O

  • 2 PS/2 connectors (keyboard and mouse)

  • 1 9-pin Serial port

  • 1 25-pin SPP/ECP/EPP Parallel port

  • 3 USB 2.0 ports

  • Audio connectors (Line-out, Line-in, Mic-in, Center Channel and Rear Channel)

  • S/PDIF connection

FI Panel (Fantastic Interface)

  • 2 USB 2.0 ports

  • Audio connectors (Headphones, Microphone)

  • Compact Flash, Secure Digital, and Memory Stick memory card reader slots

Miscellaneous

  • ATX form factor

  • 12in. x 8.3in. (305mm x 210mm)

  • Winbond hardware monitor

  • Package Contents

  • IWILL P4ES Motherboard

  • Power Installer CD

  • Installation Manual

  • ATA 100 IDE Cable

  • ATA 133 IDE Cable

  • Serial ATA Cable

  • Floppy Cable

  • I/O shield


  

The package contents of the P4ES, contained all of the necessary pieces to get a system up and running. It had a floppy drive cable as well as two IDE cables, which are color coded to match the connectors on the motherboard; blue for ATA100 and yellow for ATA133, although they are both 80-pin cables. Along with the IDE cables, IWILL has included one Serial ATA cable for that eventual day when we find serial hard drives on the shelves. Finally, there was an I/O shield with the correct configuration for the board, allowing for the triple USB ports and center and rear audio jacks, the user's manual and driver CD.


With the board came what IWILL calls the FI Panel. FI can be short for many things: Front Interface, Friendly Interface, Future Interface and Fantastic Interface. Whatever you want to call it, it allows users to attach their USB devices to the front of their PC rather than crawling on the floor to get to the back. There are two jacks, one for a set of headphones and one for a microphone. It also has slots for reading three popular memory cards: Compact Flash, Secure Digital, and Memory Sticks. The cables are wrapped together , which is a nice touch, preventing a mess of cables running to and fro from the board to each respective device. The only downside is that one of the IDE ports needs to be used in order to connect the drives. Since the board comes with 4 IDE ports, it really shouldn't be much of an issue.
 

The BIOS, Layout and Quality 

 
 

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