P4 i845 SDRAM Motherboards from Asus and MSI

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P4 i845 SDRAM Motherboards from Asus and MSI
The Asus P4B and MSI 845Pro2-R  do battle

By, Dave Altavilla
September 24th, 2001

 
MadOnion provides our next suite of tests.  Their MPEG2 Encode (part of the Video 2000 Suite) and 3DMark2001, really pour the pressure on our test systems.
 
MadOnion's Video 2000 MPEG Encode and 3DMark 2001 DirectX 8 Testing
Serious fun

Surprisingly enough, we see both the i845 and i850 platforms at 1.8GHz., best the Athlon/DDR setup.  The Asus P4B showing is showing its strength of the two i845 boards and the RDRAM i850 based system, pulls away from the rest of the pack.  This is one test, as you have seen the converse within the Winstone tests, that favors the Pentium 4 architecture.

In a much more current proving ground, the i850 and Athlon boards prove to be too much to handle for the i845 SDRAM systems, based on the MSI 845Pro2-R and Asus P4B motherboards.  Here lower end system memory bandwidth, proves to be the bottleneck it is expected to be.  Regardless, these are still respectable scores for the Pentium 4, even with one hand tied behind its back.

Quake 3 Time Demo Testing - OpenGL Performance
Let's wrap it up

Finally, if you are an avid Quake 3 player, you won't be all that disappointed with the performance of a Pentium 4 system, based on either of these two i845 boards from Asus or MSI.  Both the MSI 845Pro2-R and Asus P4B close in tightly behind the Athlon DDR combination, in this OpenGL based test.  Once again however, we're going to place weight more heavily on the 3DMark 2001 score above.  The 3DMark 2001 test is much more of an up to date reference point for overall gaming performance.

 

First and foremost we feel compelled to underscore our concern, for where PC133 SDRAM based i845 boards are headed and their future.  The performance of this platform falls short of comparable RDRAM i850 based systems as well as AMD DDR solutions.  This was an obvious conclusion.  Furthermore, RDRAM although slightly more expensive than PC1333 SDRAM, is relatively cheap at current levels, hovering around $40 for a 128MB stick.  Finally, with DDR i845 and VIA P4X266 DDR solutions almost imminent, it is probably more wise for the custom do-it-yourselfer or PC enthusiast, to wait a few months and skip past right past SDRAM based P4s.  Regardless, we do see a small market window for i845 SDRAM based solutions in the value segment for large OEMs and integrators.

With regards to our two contenders here from MSI and Asus, both of these boards are excellent examples of top quality feature rich designs on this platform.  In some ways we tended to lean toward the Asus P4B for its wealth of options in the BIOS for overlcocking.  However, the MSI 845Pro2-R also has an Ace up its sleeve with its on board RAID controller.  If only either of these two boards were designed to utilize DDR memory, we would have been much more impressed overall.

We're giving both the Asus P4B and MSI 845Pro2-R i845 Pentium 4 Motherboards, a Heat Meter Rating of...

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