ASUS P4R800-V Deluxe

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The Board, BIOS & Overclocking


 

The ASUS P4R800-V Deluxe Motherboard
Something a Little Different

The Board:

The P4R800-V Deluxe was built on a gold colored PCB driven by ATi's Radeon 9100 IGP Northbridge and IXP 150 Southbridge.  ATi's flagship chipset is one of the most versatile options available for Intel based motherboards designed for multimedia use.  In fact, as we've seen on several occasions, the ATi Radeon 9100 IGP can compete well with the competition while offering a solid feature set and some of the best integrated graphics available.  Equipped with the Radeon 9100 IGP, the integrated graphics supports up to 128MB of shared video memory and sports both a Composite and S-Video output for connecting to a TV and VCR.  The Northbridge is compatible with Pentium 4 processors in 400, 533 and 800MHz FSB flavors, and can handle up to 4GBs of PC2700 DDR Memory or 2GBs of PC3200 DDR Memory.  If the on-board graphics are not going to fulfill your needs, the board is equipped with an AGP slot for upgrading to an add-in AGP 8X graphics card.  An additional 5 PCI slots are available for system expansion, while an ASUS proprietary Wi-Fi slot is provided for an optional ASUS wireless network card that can double as an access point.  Powering the board's on-board audio is a SoundMAX Digital Audio System driven by an ADI ADI888 CODEC.

    

The board is equipped with two standard IDE ports that only support ATA66/100, not ATA133.  The board also comes with a SiS180 RAID controller which offers two SATA connections for ATA150 hard drives while an additional IDE connection supports two ATA133/100/66 hard drives.  The rear panel is where you'll find all of the necessary connectors to access all of the on-board features.  At the left are the two standard PS/2 mouse and keyboard ports followed by Composite, S-Video and VGA video outputs.  The board also comes with an LPT port and 4 USB ports in two separate banks.  The first bank is topped with a single IEEE1394 port while the second supplies the board's Gigabit LAN connector, powered by a Marvell 88E001 controller.  Lastly, is a riser of ports for the on-board audio including Line-In, Line-Out and Microphone connectors.

    

From a layout perspective, the P4R800-V Deluxe suffers from a few issues.  The first drawback was the proximity of the AGP slot to the DIMM slots, forcing the video card to interfere when attempting to install or remove RAM.  The ATX power connectors are split, with a lot of space separating the two.  Some power supplies have the two cables sleeved together and this layout may make for a little trouble with certain power supplies.

The P4R800-V Deluxe is also equipped with a couple of unique features not typically found on most motherboards.  The first is the Instant Music option which allows users to play their music without completely booting the system.  While this sounds impressive at first, this is a fairly weak feature that has a number of limitations.  For one, Instant Music can only access standard music CDs and nothing more.  Additionally, a PS/2 keyboard is required and Instant Music will only work with the integrated audio.  So while this option may seem intriguing at first, we doubt many users will utilize this option in the end.  Another feature that holds a lot more promise is SurroundView.  SurroundView lets you run up to three monitors when an ATi based video card is installed, utilizing the two video outs on the card and the integrated video on the board.  This is a feature that we could spend a lot of time on in itself, but currently the feature is still in BETA.  Soon to be released in a BIOS update, this feature should prove to be impressive and quite useful.  Above is a screen shot of SurroundView in action provided by ASUS.


The Bios:

The brains of the system is the Phoenix Award BIOS Setup Utility.  The version of the Setup Utility provided with this board sports a nice collection of options for fine tuning performance.  We found a good collection of adjustments for tuning and overclocking, including voltage and bus speed settings.  The P4R800-V's FSB was adjustable from 200 to 266MHz in increments of 1MHz and can also be keyed in directly.  The Memory Frequency could be set for DDR266, 333 or 400 as well as AUTO.  The CPU VCore could be increased from .1 to .4 volts in .1 increments while the DDR Voltage ranged from 2.5, to 2.8v.  The AGP voltage was adjustable to either 1.5 or 1.6v.

    

    

    

The Advanced screen holds the board's memory specific settings including CAS settings and on-board video memory allocation.  The on-board graphics could be set for 16MB to 128MB of shared memory with a maximum Aperture setting of 256MB.  The memory timings allowed for manual adjustment of CAS, TRP, TRCD and TRAS settings down to 1 clock, meaning with the right memory, this system can be configured for pretty aggressive settings.  Lastly we found the Hardware Monitor screen which allows us to peer into the status of the systems critical components including voltages, fan speeds and running temperatures.

 

Overclocking with the ASUS P4R800-V Deluxe Motherboard
Limited Options

We've seen stellar overclocking performance with i875 based systems and were anxious to see if ATi's chipset was going to provide a similar experience.  The answer to that question is no, but that isn't to say the P4R800-V Deluxe didn't overclock well.  In fact, we did reach a peak bus speed of 223MHz, boosting the CPU to 2.67GHz and the memory to 892MHz.  These gains equated to a boost of roughly 11.25%, a nice kick, but a far cry from the 3GHz our processor has hit with i875 based motherboards.

  

So while this motherboard didn't shatter any overclocking records, we managed to get a little extra performance out of it.  The P4R800-V Deluxe didn't compare with the gains we've achieved with i875 based boards, but we still managed a respectable gain in the end.

Tags:  Asus, r80, P4, UX

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