All other features of ASUS DIGIMatrix are implemented on the mainboard and chips integrated on it. ASUS P4SQ mainboard used as a basis for the reviewed barebone system is built on SiS651 chipset supporting Pentium 4 Celeron processors with 400/533MHz bus and single-channel DDR333/DDR266 memory. This chipset features an integrated SiS315 graphics core, which is also enhanced with the additional SiS301 chip. Due to the latter, ASUS P4SQ mainboard supports DVI-Out and TV-Out.
The IEEE1394 ports are implemented by the external VIA VT6307 controller, which is very widely spread in the today’s desktop mainboards.
The six-channel sound in ASUS P4SQ mainboard is implemented by the pretty popular but slightly outdated AC97 sound codec – AD1980 from Analog Devices. Moreover, the codec is enhanced by the additional chip responsible for hardware decoding from mp3 format. This hardware combination is involved into mp3 files playback without starting the OS, which is possible due to special software aka Audio DJ. This software is stored in the flash memory and will be discussed in greater detail later today.
Since the SiS962L South Bridge used in this board supports only 6 USB 2.0 ports, VIA VT6202 controller supporting four additional USB ports has been involved. As we have already mentioned there 8 USB 2.0 ports are laid out, one more is used by the TV-tuner and the last one is used by the built-in card reader. By the way, unfortunately, the card reader supports USB 1.1 only, which slows its down a bit compared to what it could have shown. The card-reader is based on NEODIO ND3050 controller, which ensures the compatibility of this device with Compact Flash Type I/II, Microdrive Memory Stick, Memory Stick Pro Secure Digital, MultiMedia Card and Smart Media Card.
The chipset South Bridge of the ASUS P4SQ mainboard also ensures the support of two ATA/133 channels. One channel is used to connect the optical drive and the HDD, while the other one leads outside the case and is intended for external data storage systems.
10/100Mbit Ethernet is implemented by the logical controller integrated into the chipset and the physical controller from Realtek – RTL8201BL. As for the Gigabit Ethernet controller, it is a separate chip: 3Com940.
Note that this specific mainboard doesn’t have any FDD connector and no laid out spots for parallel and serial ports connectors. However, despite the absence of these few things, ASUS P4SQ is rally an impressive product: there are so many components onboard, and all of them are so smartly spread over the PCB, making ASUS P4SQ a perfect solution for small DIGIMatrix cases. We really admire ASUS engineers for having designed something like that.
Moreover, we can’t disregard the fact that DIGIMatrix is supplied with a slim optical drive by default. In fact, ASUS notebooks are also equipped with optical drives like that. The system we got our hands on this time featured a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, which could play DVD discs at 8x speed and CD-discs – at 24x speed. The CD-R speed equals 24X, while the CD-RW – 4x. Note that DIGIMatrix is also accompanied with a special program for work with the writing drives, which is called Nero eXpress version 5.5.