ECS P4IBAD versus Transcend TSABR4

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ECS P4IBAD versus Transcend TSABR4 - Page 2

ECS P4IBAD versus Transcend TS-ABR4
Budget i845s Do Battle!

By, Marco Chiappetta
March  28, 2002


The ECS P4IBAD is equipped with a version of an Award BIOS that is similar to the vast majority of boards currently available.  If you take a look at the screenshots below, you'll probably be familiar with most of the items listed.

We did not find anything new in the P4IBAD's BIOS, but there was a full compliment of options to manipulate and tweak all of the on-board components and other features.  In the "Frequency / Voltage Control" section we found all of the overclocking options...


As we browsed through the "Frequency / Voltage Control" section of the BIOS, it was obvious to us that ECS did not have serious overclockers in mind when they were designing the P4IBAD.  That's not to say you won't be able to overclock your CPU though.  In the "Frequency / Voltage Control" section, users have the ability to adjust the CPU core voltage from 1.1 to 1.85 volts, in .25 volt increments.  Users are also able to adjust the Front Side Bus from 100MHz. to 130MHz., in 2 or 3MHz. increments. (Look at the last screenshot for the exact FSBs available).  Missing from the BIOS is the ability to adjust the DDR and AGP voltages though, and we would have liked to have seen the FSB adjustable in 1MHz. increments.  While overclocking with the P4IBAD, we were able to a maximum FSB of 111MHz. (at default voltage) with our 2.2GHz. Pentium 4, brining our top overclocked speed to 2.442GHz.

The ECS P4IBAD Layout
Nice and Clean!

We were pleased with many of the physical attributes of the ECS P4IBAD.  The most obvious "feature" of the P4IBAD, was it's lavender PCB.  I know some of you might think the color is a little feminine, but I think it's really cool. In any case, it's far more appealing than the boring green we've been forced to endure over the years!


The 6 PCI / 1 AGP / 1 CNR slot configuration was also a pleasant find, and we wish that other manufacturers would adopt it.  This slot configuration offers the most expansion possibilities with virtually no drawbacks.  The AGP slot had a locking mechanism that will help keep your video card locked in place while your machine is in-transit.  Next to the AGP slot, we can see the passive heatsink mounted to the Northbridge.  We prefer active cooling be applied to the Northbridge, but throughout testing the heatsink barely got warm.


The P4IBAD had two DIMM slots allowing for a maximum of 2GB of memory.   Also visible in the picture are the floppy and IDE connections, which are all grouped together, and mounted parallel to the edge of the board. In the second picture we can see the locations where the third and fourth IDE connectors would be, should you opt for the version of the P4IBAD that is equipped with on-board RAID.  The only thing we didn't like about the P4IBAD's layout was the ATX power connector placement.  Its mounted right behind the external connectors, way down near the AGP slot.  Looking at the external connectors, the only things worth pointing out are the game port and audio connectors.  The P4IBAD may not be loaded with extras, but it does have on-board AC'97 compliant sound!  It's not Hercules Game Theater, but it's better than nothing! :)

The TS-ABR4 Up Close...

Tags:  ECS, Transcend, tsa, P4, bad, R4, SCE, 4i

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