One Tough Cookie: 10 Boards with Intel i875P Chipset: Part I

Asus P4C800 Deluxe: Minimalist Top Candidate, Continued

A look at the connections of the Asus P4C800.

A positive mention should go to the AGP-Pro interface, which has room for professional OpenGL graphics cards, but is slowly going out of fashion. Finally, PCI Express is imminent. Using a passive Northbridge cooler, Asus shows that the chip can also get by without an active fan. A highlight is the three-phase voltage regulator in SMD design, which keeps heat down. As with most manufacturers, the motherboard has an integrated Firewire chip from VIA (VT6307), which comes considerably cheaper than the Texas Instruments modules that were the norm just a short while ago.

Interchangeable: Flash chip.

One issue concerns BIOS: the built-in CD player (Instant Music) didn't work, but that isn't that big a deal. In principle, Asus has changed from Award/ Phoenix to AMI with the result that the board is not detected during the so-called Live Update under Windows XP. The manufacturer attributes the change to the fact that the BIOS kernel can be better maintained by the programmer. Nevertheless, the menu structure of BIOS has been kept in Asus' usual style, as has the old method - insert DOS boot disk and reboot your computer. We just hope that all users still have a floppy drive on hand. After all, many PC manufacturers have stopped installing floppy drives altogether.

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