DFI NB76EA i845G Motherboard

The DFI NB76EA i845G Motherboard - Page 1

The DFI NB76-EA i845G Motherboard
A Powerful Package Without a Premium Price...

By, Robert Maloney
July 1, 2002

Intel and AMD have been dueling it out for several iterations of CPU cores and the benefactor has always been the end user. The result is a new CPU seemingly hitting the shelves just as the old ones are being installed. When it comes to motherboard chipsets, however, Intel is considerably slower with their releases. While VIA, and to a lesser degree SiS, push out chipsets with cutting-edge technology at a feverish pace, Intel seems to be more relaxed in their approach, producing motherboards and chipsets that are more geared for stability and compatibility. This translates to solid and mature, production releases, of which the i845 is a good example.

Released back in September 2001, the i845 chipset was Intel?s first attempt at pairing the Pentium 4 with something other than RDRAM. While it couldn?t deliver the same performance as the i850, it was priced less, and the availability of SDRAM, in both standard and DDR flavors, made it a fan favorite. The i845G is one of the latest updates to this venerable chipset, providing support for Pentium 4s with both 400MHz and 533MHz front side buses, integrated 3D video, 6-channel audio, LAN capabilities and USB 2.0. Thus, with the i845G, the user is looking at a board that can supply all of their basic needs without needing to purchase additional hardware.

DFI is one of the major Taiwanese based motherboard companies, with an eye on providing quality for less than what one would normally expect to pay. Their main concerns are providing stability and high-performance without the high-end price. Their latest release, the NB76-EA, is a perfect example of their credo. Using the i845G chipset, the NB76 will support the newest Pentium 4 CPUs, comes equipped with onboard audio, video, and Ethernet capabilities, and has something called ?Bitguard?, a watchdog utility in the BIOS designed to catch and take out problems before they occur, a handy tool when overclocking. With so much going for it, we couldn?t wait to see what this board could do.

Specifications / Features of the DFI NB-76EA Motherboard
Powerful package without the premium price


Chipset Type:
  • Intel 845G
  • Intel 845G Graphics Memory Controller Hub(GMCH)
  • Intel 82801DB I/O Controller Hub (ICH4)

CPU Socket:

  • Socket 478

CPUs Supported:

  • Intel Pentium 4 (478-pin) up to 2.2GHz
  • 400/533MHz data bus

Memory Description:

  • Two DDR 2.5V DIMM sockets support up to 2GB (DDR 266/200)
  • 184-pin PC1600 (DDR200)/PC2100 (DDR266) non-ECC, unbuffered DDR SDRAM memory

BIOS Description:

  • Award PCI BIOS with ACPI function
  • Windows 98SE/2000/ME/XP plug-and-play compatible
  • Supports multiple-boot from E-IDE / SCSI / CD-ROM / FDD / LS120 / ZIP
  • Supports DMI 2.0 function

Expansion Slots:

  • One AGP 2.0 slot that supports 1.5V 4x AGP
  • Six 32-bit Bus Mastering PCI slots, PCI 2.2 compliant (1 shared with CNR slot)
  • One CNR 1.0 ?A? type slot

IDE Description:

  • Two independent channels for 4 IDE devices
  • Supports up to PIO mode 4 & Ultra DMA 66/100
  • Two PCI bus mastering ATA E-IDE ports, reducing CPU utilization during disk transfer

Onboard Graphics Features:

  • Shares 512k/1Mb/8Mb of system memory in DOS mode, uses Dynamic Video Memory Technology in Windows mode
  • 200MHz Core frequency
  • 350MHz integrated 24-bit RAMDAC
  • Analog display up to 2048x1536 @ 60Hz
  • 3D Graphics capable up to 1600x1200x32 @ 85Hz
  • Flat and Gouraud shading, 16-bit and 24-bit Z-buffering and W-buffering
  • Double and Triple Render buffer
Onboard Audio Features:
  • 20-bit stereo full-duplex codec 6-channel audio output S/PDIF in/out capability

Onboard LAN features:

  • Realtek RTL8100 fast Ethernet controller
  • Integrated IEEE802.3 10BASE-T and 100BASE-T compatible PHY Full duplex support at both 10 and 100 Mbps

Onboard Media Reader:

  • Supports Security Application Smart Card interface Also supports Memory Stick and Secure Digital Memory Cards

IO Port Description:

  • 4 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 RJ45 LAN port
  • 1 DB-9 Serial port
  • 1 DB-15 VGA port
  • 1 DB-25 Parallel port
  • 1 PS/2 Mouse port
  • 1 PS/2 Keyboard port
  • 3 audio jacks: line-out, line-in, and mic-in

IO Connectors:

  • 1 connector for 2 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports
  • 1 connector for additional serial port
  • 1 connector for game/MIDI port
  • 4 internal audio connectors (CD-in, Aux-in, Video-in, and TAD)
  • 1 4-channel audio output connector
  • 1 S/PDIF-in connector
  • 1 S/PDIF-out connector
  • 1 connector for IrDA interface
  • 1 Smart Card interface
  • 1 Memory Stick interface
  • 1 Secure Digital Memory Card interface

Health Monitoring Description:

  • Monitors CPU/system temperature and overheat alarm
  • Monitors voltages and failure alarm
  • Monitors CPU/chassis/second fan speed and failure alarm
  • Automatic chassis/second fan on/off control
  • Opened chassis alarm

Dimension Description:

  • Four layer PCB, ATX form factor 30.5 cm x 24.4 cm (12" x 9.6")


In the box, we found the motherboard, a driver CD, and interface cables. There was also a breakout box of sorts, with slots for various types of media, and it's associated cables. Noticeably missing, however, was a real manual that we would normally expect to find in a Do-It-Yourself kit. In fact, all we found literature-wise was a layout map and list of features. I should note that an electronic manual is provided on the CD, but we would have to get the system together and running before we could read it!


Above is a screenshot of what is provided on the driver CD.  It covers all of the basics for the board, video, audio and LAN drivers, as well as drivers for the Smart I/O cards. The USB 2.0 driver link does not actually install anything, but told me to go download the update instead, which can be found on Intel?s website. I also found an installer for the Intel Application Accelerator, and an included overclocking utility called Overclock Cruise, which can be used to alter the FSB speed from within Windows.

The BIOS, Layouts and Quality 


Tags:  Motherboard, board, 5G, EA, AR

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