Intel Springdale Showdown

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Intel Springdale Showdown - Page 9

The Springdale Showdown
Which board should you "spring" for?

Brought to you by Robert Maloney
July 10, 2003

 
OK, we've looked over the boards, and their bundles.  We've ran them through benchmarks designed to show individual components strengths, overall performance comparisons, and gaming frame rates.  After having these boards on our test-bench for the past few weeks, we came up with our final ratings.

Chaintech APOGEE 9PJL - At this stage of the game, the Chaintech APOGEE 9PJL itself is more style than substance.  It was a great looking board, and came with the best bundle of the bunch, but the lack of a memory performance tweak led to the 9PJL placing last in just about every one of the benchmarks.  The good news, is that this can easily be turned around by a (working) BIOS revision.  Chaintech also shortchanged the board somewhat by using the ICH5 South Bridge instead of the ICH5R, meaning that no RAID configurations are possible by IDE or SATA.  To a lesser degree, this was also the only board that didn't come with on-board Gigabit Ethernet.  The good news would be that these omissions probably have something to do with the price point of the board.  At prices as low as $152, the 9PJL is a still a good performer at a great price, earning it a 7.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter.

 

MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R - The MSI 865PE Neo2-FISR was another board that was somewhat held back by its BIOS.  In this case, it was not the omission of any options, but memory problems that will surely frustrate many users.  One of the earliest boards on the Springdale scene, it still needs a bit of BIOS tweaking to alleviate the memory issues and allow for higher overclocking.  This was a good looking board with color coding of the ports and even the front panel headers, making system setup a breeze.  The blinking lights in the NB fan will surely please the case-mod crowd, and it really makes the board stand out as being "different" from the rest.  The bundle and on-board connections allow for all sorts of devices to be connected, making this an ideal board for digital video editing or other multimedia excursions.  Even with the very complete bundle, we were still able to find the board priced at around $162.  We're giving the MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R an 8 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, at least until the problems get ironed out.

 
 

Albatron 865PE Pro II - Albatron has sure come a long way, baby.  Mostly unheard of a year or two ago, they have really begun to impress reviewers with some quality hardware.  The 865PE Pro II was no exception.  Albatron chose the best on-board audio solution in the VIA Envy 24PT chipset, the only chipset that provides 8 channel output at this time.  They also didn't skimp on the other features, with FireWire, a CSA based Gigabit Ethernet solution, and RAID configurations for both SATA and IDE drives all available.  Unfortunately, these features do come at a price, with the Albatron 865PE Pro II board commanding a $184.99 price point.  Still, a case could be made that the performance was very good, and the bundle had most, if not all, of the pieces one would need in a new setup.  The Albatron 865PE Pro II earns a solid 8.5 on the Heat Meter.

 
 
Abit IS7-G - It finally came down to these two: the Abit IS7-G and the Asus P4P800 Deluxe.  Abit has come up with another great board with the IS7-G.  When we think of Abit, we think of performance and overclockability, and we were not disappointed.  Throughout testing, we didn't come upon any major headaches, and the addition of the Game Accelerator led the Abit IS7-G to some high benchmarks.  The bundle lacked a little pizzazz, but was fuller than some of Abit's other recent offerings.  The only question that came about was with the odd tailing off of the performance at high clock speeds.  The price to performance ratio was outstanding, with the Abit listed on some sites as low as $158. We had mostly good feelings about the IS7-G, rating it with a 9 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, but we still felt that there was one board that was just a bit better...
 
 
 
Showdown Winner - Asus P4P800 Deluxe
 
 
Asus P4P800 Deluxe - When all was said and done, and the boards were placed safely back into their boxes, we looked back at our notes and charts for an answer as to which of the boards was going to be the "one".  Performance-wise, the Asus P4P800 dominated the charts, displacing the "hype" about the HyperPath technology with facts about its true worth.  The memory benchmarks consistently showed the Asus P4P800 head and shoulders above the rest.  Not only did it put up some of the best numbers, making it the "fastest" board, it was the best overclocker, tying the Abit IS7-G for the highest overall speed, but also having the highest stable overclock at 285MHz for the FSB.  If only the board and bundle were spruced up a bit. My heart aches for a "black pearl" version of this board, similar to the P4PE (incidentally, the board that this will most likely replace in Asus' repertoire.)  Anyone who has seen pictures of that board knows what I am talking about.  Visual issues aside, the Asus P4P800 Deluxe has overcome all challengers, and at a relatively low price of only $142.99.  We gladly give it a 9.5 on the HotHardware Heat Meter, and a coveted Editor's Choice Award.
 

 

 

Tags:  Intel, WD, DOW, Show, SHO, spring

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