VIA's P4XB P4X266A Motherboard!

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VIA's P4XB P4X266A Motherboard
Yes, VIA is Selling Motherboards Now!

By, Marco Chiappetta
February 14, 2002

A few short months ago, if you were planning to build a high-end Pentium 4 system, an i850 based motherboard and expensive RDRAM was in your future.  VIA Technologies changed that though when they released their P4X266 chipset.  With the introduction of the P4X266 came the ability to use DDR SDRAM with the Pentium 4, which at the time was significantly cheaper than RDRAM yet offered similar performance.  Even though having a low-cost chipset on the market would help sales of the Pentium 4, Intel was none too happy about the P4X266.  Intel claimed VIA did not hold the necessary licenses to manufacture chipsets for the Pentium 4, and a lawsuit ensued.  With all of the litigation surrounding the P4X266, many OEMs shied away from building boards based on it.  A few boards did make it to market, but no where near what VIA would have liked to see.  A few months later, VIA improved the memory controller in the P4X266 and released an "A" version of the chipset.  Not happy with the turnout the first time around, VIA decided to take matters into their own hands and brought a whole line of motherboards using their unlicensed chipset to market.  The product we'll be looking at today, the P4XB, is VIA's basic P4X266A based motherboard. Let's dive right in and see what this puppy is made of...

Specifications / Features of VIA's P4XB
The Nitty-Gritty...

 
Click any Image for an Enlarged view...

 

Chipset
(North) VIA P4X266A:
Support Pentium 4 System bus
Support DDR 200 / 266 SDRAM interface
(South) VIA VT8233
Built in high bandwidth 266MB/S
V-Link

Form Factor
ATX

Processor
Intel Pentium 4 in the 478 pin package
(Including Northwood Core)

Expansion Slots
Support external AGP V2.0 compliant VGA device
Support 1X, 2X, 4X AGP data transfer
5 x PCI slots

Memory
3 184pin DDR DIMM Slot

On-board IDE Controller
2 x UltraDMA/100 Bus Master IDE from ICH2
2 x UltraDMA/100 promise 265R to support RAID 0 (OPTIONAL)
80-pin Cable Backward Compatible Legacy ATAPI Devices

Back Panel
2 Serial Ports
1 Parallel Port (SPP, EPP, ECP)
1 PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 PS/2 Mouse Port
2 USB Ports
1x Game / MIDI Port
1x Line in, 1x Line out, 1x Mic

On-board Audio
VIA AC'97 2.1 compliant CODEC


Connectors
1 x ATX power connector
1 x 4-Pin Power Connector

2 x Fan Power connectors (one for CPU fan)
4 x UltraDMA/100 Bus Master IDE (AR model only)
1 x Floppy

BIOS
Stored in 2 Mb flash memory
DMI 2.3
CPU 100 - 199MHz FSB setting
BIOS FSB step-less setting from 100MHz to 199MHz with 1 MHz increment
CPU core voltage setting from +0.025V ~ +0.10V
DDR voltage setting from 2.5V ~ 2.65V
Support IRQ manual assign table
Bootable from Floppy, ATAPI device, USB device, SCSI device

 
THE BUNDLE:

The VIA P4XB ships with a "standard" bundle.  There was nothing terribly exciting to see when we first opened the box.

Included with the board, we found an 80-Wire UDMA/100 IDE cable, a standard floppy cable, a USB cable and plate, a user's manual and a CD that contains all of the necessary drivers to get the board up and running.  The bundle was uninspiring, but this board isn't exactly crammed full of bells and whistles.  This version of the P4XB is a "pure" motherboard, with no extravagant on-board features other than basic audio.

The BIOS and The Board... 

 

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