Asus and Albatron 848P Motherboard Review

Intel 848P Motherboard Review - Page 1

Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro vs. Asus P4P800S-E
Budget boards take a bite out of the market

by Robert Maloney
November 20th, 2003


With the proliferation of 800MHz FSB processors and the wide acceptance of DDR400 memory, it's quite easy to see how Springdale and Canterwood boards have captured a large share of the current market.  Performance-wise, both of these chipsets provide a large jump over the very successful i845, but with an equally large bump in the price.  Cost-conscious users who are currently content with their i845 setup might find the cost of upgrading somewhat prohibitive.  As we all know, the upgrade cycle can sometimes be vicious, with few components able to make the "jump" from one setup to the next.  A new board, CPU, twin sets of RAM, etc. - it all adds up quickly.  Intel has come up with a solution that brings many of the performance enhancements of the i865 and i875, but at a fraction of the price.  The recently released i848P chipset comes stocked with 800MHz FSB CPU support, DDR400, and SATA (including SATA RAID) support at the expense of the Dual DDR channels.  It should allow those on a budget to make an upgrade without running up a large price tag.

Our first two samples come from Albatron, with their PX865PE Lite Pro motherboard, and Asus' P4P800S-E.  The names of each of these boards sounds similar to their Springdale versions, the 865PE Pro II and the P4P800 Deluxe.  Although somewhat misleading, this nomenclature correctly suggests that the boards share their structure with their more powerful cousins.  Our only complaint was with Albatron's inclusion of 865 in the title, as some users may assume that the board is a Springdale, which it is not.  These two boards are specifically designed to fill a value or budget niche for each company, although the roads taken are somewhat different.  Read on below for a quick check on the i848P and then let's take a closer look at each of these boards.



Specifications of the Intel i848P
A stripped down Springdale

The schematic above may look very similar to those of the Springdale and Canterwood, and that's no accident.  The Intel 848P Chipset is designed in the same manner as the other two, supporting Pentium 4 processors with Hyper-Threading technology with front side bus speeds of 400, 533, and 800MHz.  High bandwidth interfaces include AGP 8X graphics, Intel Communication Streaming Architecture for Gigabit Ethernet capabilities, and dual SATA ports built into the ICH5/ICH5R Southbridge.  The only major component lacking would be the Dual-channel DDR support that have substantially increased the memory bandwidth on the i865 and i875.  Checking over this list of features, however, brought another chipset to mind - the SiS 648FX.  We had a chance to test a SiS 648FX board from Gigabyte back in August and honestly weren't all that impressed.  So how will today's single-channel boards fare?  We've decided to put these two boards up against the Gigabyte GA-8S648FX, as well as and i865, the Abit IS7-G, to find out...

Albatron's PX865PE Lite Pro up close  

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