Shuttle AV40 Pentium 4 P4X266 DDR Motherboard

Shuttle AV40 Pentium 4 P4X266 DDR Motherboard - Page 1


Shuttle's AV40
VIA P4X266 DDR P4 Motherboard

RAMBUS, watch your back, DDR comes to the P4

By, Dave Altavilla
October 15, 2001

Here's a vocabulary word for you, "litigious".  Good one isn't it?  Before you get nervous that this is some sort of creative writing lesson, let me explain, as this word is very fitting for this article.  Stemming from the root word "litigate", a synonym for the word litigious would be "controversial".  As you are aware, "litigate" speaks of legal actions and law suits.  By now I think you see where I am going here.  The company RAMBUS and the DRAM technology it invented, has been a huge source of controversy over the past year or two.  Their business practices and legal wrangling with competitors have earned them little respect among the end user community.  Coupled with significantly higher price points, RDRAM as a result, has traveled a long road finding its way to the mainstream desktop market.  Even in the current semiconductor market glut, with prices far more reasonable and almost on par with competing technologies, folks still seem to prefer the alternatives to RDRAM, namely DDR Synchronous DRAM.

Intel's dependency on RDRAM as a base memory architecture for the Pentium 4, has also causedShuttle's AV40 Pentium 4 P4X266 DDR Motherboard the processor giant a fair amount of "agita" in driving it's new flagship CPU into the mainstream.  Competitive solutions to RDRAM have been unavailable until recently but that is about to change.  The product we have in the lab for you today, comes to us from the folks at Shuttle Computer Group.  Shuttle was was one of the first motherboard manufacturers to pioneer new Pentium 4 designs based on VIA's P4X266 chipset technology.  This too is an area of controversy, as many motherboard OEMs are hesitant to release product based on this chipset, due to legal issues between Intel and VIA.  So you see, "litigious" fits the Pentium 4 DDR scene very well.  However, the good folks at Shuttle saw fit to step forward and bring to market another choice in Pentium 4 motherboards, this time with full DDR SDRAM support from VIA.

Specifications of the Shuttle AV40 Motherboard
Full featured and DDR infused
(North) VIA P4X266:
Support Pentium 4 System bus
Support DDR 200 / 266 SDRAM interface
(South) VIA VT8233
Built in high bandwidth 266MB/S

Form Factor

Intel Pentium 4 in the 478 pin package

Expansion Slot
Support external AGP V2.0 compliant VGA device
Support 1X, 2X, 4X AGP data transfer
5 x PCI slots

Onboard Audio
VIA AC'97 2.1 compliant CODEC

3 184pin DDR DIMM Slot

On board IDE Controller
2 x UltraDMA/100 Bus Master IDE from ICH2
2 x UltraDMA/100 promise 265R to support RAID 0 (AV40R model only)
80-pin Cable Backward Compatible Legacy ATAPI Devices

Back Panel
2 Serial Ports
1 Parallel Port (SPP, EPP, ECP)
1 PS/2 Keyboard Port
1 PS/2 Mouse Port
2 USB Ports
1x Game / MIDI Port
1x Line in, 1x Line out, 1x Mic

1 x ATX power connector
1 x 4 pin 12V ATX power connector
1 x 6 pin 5V / 3.3V ATX power connector
4 x Fan Power connectors (one for system chipset fan)
4 x UltraDMA/100 Bus Master IDE (AV40R model only)
1 x Floppy

Stored in 2 Mb flash memory
DMI 2.3
CPU 100 / 133MHz FSB setting
BIOS FSB step-less setting from 100MHz to 166MHz with 1 MHz increment
CPU core voltage setting from +0.025V ~ +0.20V
AGP (Vddq) voltage setting from +0.05V ~ +0.20V
I/O voltage setting from +0.1V ~0.2V
Support IRQ manual assign table
Bootable from Floppy, ATAPI device, USB device, SCSI device

VIA's P4X266 Chipset Architecture


As you can see, this board doesn't miss a trick.  The P4X266 chipset not only supports DDR SDRAM but a host of features such as optional integrated LAN, up to 6 USB channels, AC'97 Audio and Modem support and the usual I/O peripherals.

The AV40 we tested did not have the "R" option installed.  However the AV40-R version also comes equipped with an integrated Promise 256R controller for ATA100 RAID support.  We tend to fancy the the Highpoint HTP370 line but the Promise controller is still a well known and competent performer.  In any event, we won't have RAID performance testing for you here, since we tested the standard set up for the AV40 that Shuttle sent us.





"Gorgeous layout", were the first words that came to mind upon initial inspection of the AV40.  One other great feature that we almost missed at first, is the small thermistor probe that is mounted in the center of the AV40's socket area.  This should make for very accurate health monitoring, when it comes to the CPU core temperature status.  However, we'll have to "ding" Shuttle slightly for not including a PC Health Monitoring program with the board.  Why they would take the time to install a thermistor and not give users the ability to read the data it produces, unless you fire up the BIOS, is beyond us. 


Speaking of the BIOS, let's boot up and see what this board is made of.



Get your DDR at...
DDR SDRAM From Kingston and Corsair is here!


Setup and the BIOS



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