i875 Motherboard RoundUp MSI, DFI & Chaintech

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i875 Motherboard RoundUp MSI, DFI & Chaintech - Page 3

3-Way i875P "Canterwood" Shoot-Out
MSI, DFI & Chaintech Square Off...

By, Marco Chiappetta
June 18, 2003

        

        

For the most part, Chaintech did a good job laying out the 9CJS.  There were a few things they should have done differently, however.  Our first gripe is with the ATX power connector placement.  The ATX power connector is located below the floppy connector, on the edge of the board.  This could cause some awkward cabling, depending on the location of the floppy drive in your case.  We also didn't like the fact that the case headers were not clearly labeled.  Without the user's manual, trial and error is the only way you'll figure out where your power and reset switches and LEDs should be connected.  Aesthetically speaking though, the 9CJS is real looker.  The light blue and black color scheme is very attractive, and the gold plated connectors and Northbridge cooler look great.  Chaintech made some good decisions regarding the integrated features on the 9CJS as well.  SATA RAID functionality is handled by the Intel ICH5R Southbridge, and a VIA VT6309 controller provides IEEE-1394 "Firewire" capabilities.  The 9CJS is also the only board in this round-up with Dual-LAN controllers.  One of them offers Gigabit speeds, powered by the Intel MCH, and the other, powered by a Realtek RT8101L, is 10/100 capable.  One feature that really sets the Chaintech 9CJS apart is the integrated Via Envy24HT audio controller.  Simply put, the Envy24HT is arguably the best sounding audio controller on the market today.  Many people feel the Envy24's output is even better than add-in cards like the Audigy 2.  The only downside is that the Envy24 doesn't accelerate DirectSound in hardware.  DirectSound processing is handled by the host CPU, which could drag frame rates down in some games.  All in all, the Chaintech 9CJS is a very well rounded product.

Specifications & Features of The Chaintech 9CJS
Chaintech.  Coming On Strong In '03

9CJS ZENITH

  • Socket 478 Intel® Celeron/Pentium 4 400/533/800MHz FSB, ATX, Intel 875P + ICH5R

CPU

  • Supports Intel Socket 478 CPU with Hyper-Threading Technology

  • Supports Intel Celeron/Pentium4 system bus at 400/533/800MHz

Chipset

  • Intel 875P + ICH5R, supports Hyper-Threading Technology

Main Memory

  • Four 184-pin DDR DIMMs up to 4GB

  • Supports Dual-Channel DDR266/333/400 ECC/non-ECC memory and Performance Acceleration Technology (PAT)

Expansion Slots

  • One 1.5V AGP slot for 8X/4X AGP

  • Five 32-Bit PCI slots (v2.2 compliant)

  • One CMR (Chaintech Multimedia Riser) for Chaintech Multimedia Card (CMC 7.1)

Audio Subsystem

  • On-board 7.1-Channel audio

  • 24-bit resolution audio format support

  • Sampling rates up to 96KHz

  • Multi-channel AC-link supported alternatively

  • Supports SPDIF Out

Video Subsystem

  • Video 4X/8X AGP

UltraDMA IDE Ports

  • Supports PIO Mode 4 up to 16.6 Mbps, Multi-Word DMA Mode 2 and Ultra DMA mode 5 up to 100MB/s with Bus Mastering

  • Bus-Mastering software drivers for all common multitasking operating systems

Embedded USB Controller

  • Three EHCI USB 2.0 Controllers support total 8 USB 2.0/1.1 Ports

  • Support USB 2.0 High-Speed Device @480 Mb/s Transfer Rates

  • Optional USB adapters for additional USB2.0/1.1 ports

On Board Super I/O Controller

  • ITE 8712 LPC I/O with system monitors hardware

  • Two UARTs support serial ports and IR function (up to 115.2Kbps) for HPSIR and ASKIR

  • One SPP/ECP/EPP parallel port

  • One floppy disk drive connector supports up to 2.88MB

Embedded system monitoring

  • 8 external voltage inputs

  • 2 temperatures sensing for CPU and system

  • 3 Fan speed (CPU, system and Case) monitoring

Boot-Block Flash ROM

  • Award system BIOS support PnP, APM, DMI, ACPI, & Multi-device booting features

Software

  • Driver CD (Chipset Auto detect) (WinDVD 7.1CH included)

  • Value Pack 2002/2003

  • APOGEE Overclocking

Back panel I/O connector

  • One PS/2 mini-DIN mouse and keyboard ports

  • Four USB Ports and two RJ45 connectors

  • Two 9-pin D-SUB male Serial ports

  • One 25-pin D-SUB female Parallel port

  • Audio Line-in, Line-out and Mic-in jacks

Dual LAN

  • Intel PRO/1000CT Network Connection (Gigabit LAN)

  • On-board Intel® 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet Controller supports 2X Gigabit performance through Communication Streaming Architecture and enable ASF 2.0-based secure remote management

Fast Ethernet Controller

  • On-board Realtek RTL8101L supports 10/100Mb Fast Ethernet

On-board SATA RAID Controller

  • Build-in ICH5R supports 2 Serial ATA devices for the highest data transfer rates (1.5Gbps burst) with RAID 0 solution standard for high speed data transfer

On-board VIA VT6306 IEEE1394 Host Controller

  • Serial bus data rates of 100, 200 and 400Mbps

  • IEEE P1394a compliant and IEEE 1394

  • Programmable ATA/ATAPI interface supporting PIO modes 0-4, DMA modes 0-2 and Ultra DMA modes 0-4

On board connector for external device

  • Three 3x1 pin fan connectors

  • 2x1 pin fan connector with housing for Northbridge

  • Two 5x2 pin USB connectors for additional 2 USB2.0 ports, CIR and 6 in 1 Card Reader on CBOX3

  • 6x1 pin Infrared connector

  • 3x1 pin wake on LAN connector with housing

  • 3x1 pin wake on Modem connector with housing

  • 9x2 pin front panel connector

  • 5x2 pin Segment display connector for 2-digits Debug LED on CBOX3

  • 8x1 pin IEEE1394 connector with housing for IEEE1394 port on

Form Factor

  • ATX (305mm x 244mm)


The BIOS:

        

         

The BIOS installed on the Chaintech Zenith 9CJS is a Phoenix / Award derivative, similar to the one found on DFI's LANPARTY Pro875.  All of the standard menu are represented in the screenshots above.  Like the other two boards we're looking at today, the Chaintech 9CJS' BIOS was very complete, giving user's the ability to enable or disable all of the on-board components and offering a host of overclocking options...

     

  

From within the "Frequency / Voltage Control" menu, you'll find all of the overclocking utilities. In the Chaintech 9CJS' BIOS, user's can adjust the Front Side Bus (FSB) from 100MHz to 255MHz, in 1MHz increments. VCore, DDR and AGP voltages can also be altered. The VCore can be raised up to 1.675v, the AGP voltages range is from 1.5v to 1.8v, and available DDR voltages is range from 2.5v to 2.8v. User's can also manually lock the AGP and PCI BUS speeds.  All things considered, Chaintech has done a good job with the BIOS found on the 9CJS.

Overclocking: Chaintech 9CJS
Turning Up the Juice

STOCK CPU SPEED

CPU OVERCLOCKED TO
3.41GHZ (15 X 227MHZ)

CPU OVERCLOCKED TO
3.41GHZ (15 X 227MHZ)


The Chaintech 9CJS was a decent overclocker, but it wasn't quite able to keep up with the other two boards we tested.  Like MSI does with 875P Neo-FIS2R, Chaintech provides a utility that gives users the ability to overclock their systems from within Windows.  With the APOGEE overclocking utility, users can manipulate FSB and Memory speeds in addition to adjusting AGP, DDR and CPU voltages.  We stuck to overclocking the system via the system BIOS, however.  In the end, the top speed we were able to hit with our particular CPU on the Chaintech 9CJS was 3.41GHz (15 x 227MHz FSB).  Squeezing an extra 410MHz out of a CPU with stock cooling and a minor voltage bump is nothing to sneeze at, but with the same exact hardware and settings, both the MSI and DFI boards were able to hit higher speeds. Please keep in mind that overclocking is by no means an exact science.  So, your mileage may vary.

It's Time For Some Numbers


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