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ASUS P4S800D on SiS655FX

SiS655FX is represented in our tests by an ASUS P4S800D mainboard. Although this product doesn’t belong to the well-known X-series of low-cost mainboards, its price is really astonishing – you can find it in shops priced at about $80. Although it carries no additional controllers onboard, it is really a full-fledged product. Here’s the list of its specifications:

ASUS P4S800D

CPU

Intel Pentium 4/Celeron (800/533/400MHz FSB, Hyper-Threading, Socket 478)

Chipset

SiS655FX + SiS964

FSB frequencies, MHz

100-300 (with 1MHz increment)

Overclocking-friendly functions

Adjustable Vcore, Vmem and Vagp

Memory

4 DDR DIMM slots for dual-/single-channel DDR400/DDR333/DDR266 SDRAM

AGP slot

AGP 8x

Expansion slots (PCI/ACR/CNR)

5/0/0

USB 2.0 ports

8 (4 – on the back panel)

IEEE1394 ports

None

ATA-100/133

2 ATA-133 channels

Serial ATA-150

2 Serial ATA-150 channels (in the South Bridge, with RAID support)

ATA RAID support

RAID 0, 1 in the South Bridge

Integrated sound

Six-channel AC97 codec: Analog Devices AD1980

Integrated network

10/100Mbps Ethernet Realtek RTL8201BL

Additional features

ASUS WiFi slot

BIOS

AMI BIOS

Form-factor

ATX, 305mm x 245mm

ASUS P4S800D supports all Socket 478 processors, including new CPUs on the 90nm Prescott core. The three-channel CPU power unit seemingly uses feeble transistors, but we had no problems running the mainboard with a Pentium 4 3.2GHz (Prescott), although the MOSFETs would heat up considerably during work.

Like mainboards on dual-channel chipsets from Intel, ASUS P4S800D has four memory slots in two groups (two for each memory channel). You can install DDR400/333/266 SDRAM modules into them and use either single-channel or dual-channel memory access. You can also use memory at a higher clock rate than the FSB frequency, but such asynchronous modes are negative for the system performance.

The PCB of the mainboard is unified with the ASUS P4S800D-Deluxe and has empty spaces for an extra onboard RAID controller and an IEEE1394 controller. ASUS P4S800D only supports SerialATA RAID, implemented via the South Bridge (SiS964). FireWire is not supported by the mainboard at all.

Instead, ASUS P4S800D has an exclusive ASUS WiFi slot – you can optionally buy an 802.11a/b expansion card from ASUS and have inexpensive, but operational wireless network controller that can serve as a programmable access point.

ASUS P4S800D also carries five PCI slots (one of them is shared with the WiFi slot) and an AGP 8x port that only supports 1.5V graphics cards. The AGP is very close to the PCI slots, so graphics cards with a massive cooling system will block the access to the neighboring PCI.

A slightly out-dated AC’97 AD1980 codec from Analog Devices gives voice to the mainboard. The voice is sweet as the analog part of the audio tract is well-designed. Three audio jacks and a coaxial SPDIF output are located at the mainboard I/O panel. Note that you don’t receive any brackets with the mainboard for outputting other audio connectors.

Networking capabilities of the ASUS P4S800D are implemented through the South Bridge, too. The physical level controller is a Realtek RTL8201BL chip, providing a maximum bandwidth of 10/100 Mb/s. The I/O panel of the mainboard also carries four USB 2.0 ports; four more USB ports are available as onboard connectors (you receive a two-port USB bracket for the back panel of the system case). The game port and the second COM port are also implemented as onboard connectors and you don’t receive any brackets to be connected to them.

The PCB design is quite satisfactory, only the processor socket is shifted too close to the right part of the mainboard. The 12V additional power connector is placed behind the North Bridge and its power cable will hang over the processor cooler – that’s not good either. The onboard USB pins stand right before the PCI slots so you may have problems plugging their cables in if you’ve already installed PCI cards or a graphics card with a big cooling system. The North Bridge of the chipset lives without active cooling – it has just a passive heatsink on, which does not get very warm during work.

 
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