ASUS P4T533 i850E Motherboard Review i850E Armed with 32

The ASUS P4T533 i850E Motherboard Review i850E Armed with 32 - Page 1


The ASUS P4T533 i850E Motherboard Review
i850E Armed with 32-bit RIMM 4200

By -Chris Angelini and Dave Altavilla
June 17th, 2002

ASUS first earned acclaim with the hardware enthusiast community for building reliable motherboards that deliver industry-standard performance.  Their products often feature value-added integrations, such as IDE RAID, USB 2.0 and C-Media?s six-channel audio processor (as opposed to the software codec many manufacturers opt for).  Accordingly, ASUS boards often command a premium price.  The P4T533 is no exception, coming in at more than $300.  The price doesn?t tell the whole story however.  Along with the motherboard, you also get a 512MB module of RIMM 4200.  Why does ASUS include memory with the board?  Perhaps it is because the fledgling 32-bit, RDRAM standard based modules, are still nearly impossible to find. 

It would seem as though Rambus has forsaken their prior naming convention.  RIMM 4200 operates at PC1066 frequencies and is capable of transferring up to 4.2GB per second of data.  Apparently, RIMM 4200 sounds more compelling, especially in light of the competing PC2100 and PC2700 DDR standards, which are also named for their bandwidth capabilities.  Hey, if you can?t beat ?em, you may as well join ?em, right?

Specifications of the ASUS P4T533 i850E Motherboard
With the latest RIMM 4200 Technology


Special Features
Supports RIMM 4200/3200 (PC1066/800)
Supports ATA-133 IDE Hard Drive
POST Reporter
Promise IDE RAID
Integrated Audio (C-Media 6-channel)

Socket 478 for Intel Pentium 4 Northwood/Willamette

Intel i850E/ICH2
400/533MHz FSB
AGP 4x
Support for dual-channel RDRAM

Supports 400/533MHz FSB

Main Memory
Two, 232-pin sockets
Maximum memory size up to 2GB
Supports 32-bit dual-channel RIMM

Promise 20276 RAID On-Board Controller
Support ATA133 IDE RAID 0 or 1
The two IDE RAID connectors support hard drives only.
Note: only two hard disk drives will adopt RAID function.
One AGP 4X slot
Six PCI 2.2 32-bit Master PCI bus slots

On-Board IDE
An IDE controller on the Intel ICH2 chipset provides IDE HDD/CD-ROM with PIO, Bus Master and Ultra DMA 66/100 operation modes
Can connect up to four IDE devices

C-Media 8738-MX six channel PCI controller
Direct Sound AC'97 Audio.
6-channel analog output.
SPDIF interface.

On-Board Peripherals
1 Floppy port supports 2 FDD with 360K, 720K, 1.2M, 1.44M and 2.88Mbytes
2 Serial ports (COM A + COM B), 1 Parallel port supports SPP/EPP/ECP mode
1 USB 2.0 header for two additional ports
1 USB 1.1 header for twoadditional ports
S/PDIF in/out connector
Smart card connector
iPanel front panel connector

USB Interface
4x USB 2.0 ports
4x USB 1.1 ports

The mainboard BIOS provides Award "Plug & Play" Flash BIOS which detects the peripheral devices and expansion cards of the board automatically

ATX Form Factor.


Below is a list of the items that accompany the ASUS P4T533  Motherboard

3 - 40-pin 80 Conductor UDMA 100/133 Ribbon Cable
1 - 40-pin 40 Conductor UDMA 66 Ribbon Cable
1 - Floppy Ribbon Cable
1 - ASUS P4T533 Support CD
1 - S/PDIF in/out module
1 - 2-port USB 2.0/ Game Port Module
1 - Bag of Jumpers
1 - User Guide
1 - I/O Shield
1 - CT-RIMM Continuity and Termination RIMM


RIMM 4200 RDRAM Technology
32 Bit RDRAM on one module

As we noted earlier, RIMM 4200 RDRAM technology is essentially PC1066 memory but now instead of utilizing two 16 bit RDRAM channels with a pair of modules, you have a single 32 bit architecture on one module.  Whereas standard PC1066 RIMMs need to be installed in pairs, a RIMM4200 module can be installed in a single stick setup with a CT-RIMM (Continuity and Termination RIMM).  Most all motherboard manufacturers that adopt RIMM 4200 technology, will also bundle a CT-RIMM in with their boards, just as standard C-RIMMs are bundled now.

Take a closer look at the physical differences between PC1066 and RIMM4200 modules, as well as C-RIMMs and CT-RIMMs, below.

Click image for full view

Again, as noted earlier, RIMM4200 has the capability of offering 4.2GB/sec of bandwidth in a single module at 1066MHz or 1.066GHz.  There are also RIMM3200 variants available, which are simply 32 bit PC800 based sticks that support 3.2GB/sec at 800MHz speeds.  This surely is a good play for RAMBUS, in competition with Dual Channel DDR technologies, that will be coming to the Pentium 4 line in the not so distant future.  Incorporating Dual Channel PC1066 RDRAM into a single 32 bit module, is a cost and design complexity advantage for the motherboard manufacturer.  We're also aware that 1200MHz 32 bit RIMM technology is on the RAMBUS roadmap, as well as RIMM9600, with a 64 bit interface and a whopping 9.6GB/sec of bandwidth.  So, it seems RAMBUS certainly has the architecture and the muscle moving forward with RDRAM.  However, cost is always an issue that plagues the adoption of any new memory architecture and it will be paramount that RAMBUS bring these new technologies to market at a competitive price point, versus Dual Channel DDR.

So the real kicker here is, what are the performance differences, if any, versus PC1066 or 16 bit RDRAM architecture?  Well, theoretically there will be a small boost in performance due to reduced latency of 32 bit internal memory interfaces, versus narrow 16 bit standard RDRAM interfaces.  However, we'll prove out the whole theory for you here, with real world benchmarks.

Installation / Setup
All you need to complete the package

Once under the hood, you'll quickly realize that the P4T533 has all the trimmings bundled in with the motherboards itself.  The P4T533 bundle includes ATA-133 capabilities, as well as USB 2.0 connectivity.  Accordingly, all of the necessary drivers are included on the bundled setup CD.  Intel?s latest Application Accelerator (version 2.2) and chipset update utility, are also provided. 

ASUS is known for including a comprehensive accessory package that enables maximum utilization of each board?s features.  The P4T533 includes three, 80-pin IDE cables for use with the primary IDE outputs, in addition to the two RAID channels.  An optional S/PDIF module facilitates digital audio output and an extra USB connector gives the P4T533 two extra USB 2.0-compliant ports.  Since unused RDRAM channels still need to be terminated, ASUS also includes a Continuity and Termination RIMM (CT-RIMM) for the second, unused slot.


Layout, BIOS, and Overclocking


Tags:  Asus, Motherboard, ARM, P4, review, board, view, IE, T5, AR

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