Articles: Mainboards

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As for the supported memory types, things are much easier here. The memory controller of the i848P is one “half” of the i865 memory controller. So, I guess it’s clear why the P4P800S has only two memory slots, which is really few according to the today’s standards. The i848 chipset simply cannot uphold more DIMM slots, irrespective of the mainboard it is used on. The available slots, though, can accommodate DDR266/DDR333/DDR400 SDRAM. The chipset and, accordingly, the mainboard, don’t support ECC. It should also be mentioned that DDR333 memory works in fact at 320MHz rather than 333MHz when the FSB frequency equals 200MHz. This is done to achieve better synchronization. Overall, it’s all just like with mainboards on the more advanced i865PE chipset, save for the second memory channel support.

I guess PAT technology or what remains of it here is also interesting to you. The i848P is based on i865PE, and as you remember, the mainboard makers already know how to enable PAT there. This way, i848P also conceals this technology deep inside itself. That is, when the 800MHz FSB and DDR400 memory are used, the performance of the i848P and mainboards based on it may be boosted up. It’s now only up to the manufacturers whether to use this opportunity or not. ASUS decoded to implement this and we will describe a bit later how you can turn on PAT in an ASUS P4P800S mainboard. By the way, thanks to the implementation of this technology, the mainboard works noticeably faster than i845PE-based mainboards with the bus overclocked to 800MHz.

The mainboard supports the AGP 8x interface: you can see the corresponding slot on the PCB picture. There are also five PCI slots and the exclusive WiFi slot, shared with the last PCI. The WiFi is supposed to accommodate Wi-Fi cards from ASUS. We will discuss the Wi-Fi capabilities of the ASUS P4P800S a bit later today.

The ICH5 chip without RAID support serves as a South Bridge in the reviewed mainboard. The rest of the mainboard’s features are mostly determined by the characteristics of this chip. For example, the maximum number of drives you can connect to ASUS P4P800S at a time is six. Four of them may be connected to the two ATA-100 channels, and the other two are plugged into standard Serial ATA-150 connectors, supported by the South Bridge of the i848P chipset.

Also the ICH5 South Bridge of ASUS P4P800S supports eight USB 2.0 ports. Four of them are located at the mainboard connector panel and the remaining ones are implemented via onboard connectors. ASUS includes a two-port USB bracket with every mainboard package, so you will be able to use six up USB 2.0 ports right away. This seems to be enough, considering that many modern system cases have a couple of USB 2.0 connectors on their fa?ade, too.

The mainboard can also make the operating system believe that USB media, like flash-drives, card-readers, ZIP-drives, external HDDs and the like, are a floppy-drive. This means you can access those devices from DOS or other operating systems that don’t support them directly. Besides, it is possible to boot up an OS from any USB media.

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