The Intel Pentium 4 line has been the most evolving line that we have ever seen. It has gone through two different sockets and now over 12 different chipsets, and most of these are from Intel themselves.
First off was the i850, the very first Intel Pentium 4 chipset. This required RDRAM and held the Pentium 4 back due to the markets' rejection of RDRAM back when the Pentium 3 was set to use it. Due to licensing contracts with Rambus, Intel was unable to produce DDR solutions for up to a year, leaving Intel with only one other option, PC133 SDRAM.
Due to the memory bandwidth constraints of SDRAM, the Pentium 4 was a slow dinosaur compared to the AMD Athlon, and even the Pentium 3 was able to outperform the Pentium 4 in a lot of tests. Intel named this chipset the i845, and the name is still carried through into today's chipsets.
When Rambus contracts were up, Intel didn't jump full force into the DDR market like VIA and SiS had done, but rather started very slowly. The i845 B step was released; simply it was the i845 with a DDR SDRAM controller installed. This allowed either DDR or SDR memory to be used on the i845 B step, truly a versatile chipset.
Intel soon moved its Pentium 4 to a 533MHz FSB and this required the chipset to increase. Intel released the i850E for RDRAM based systems with 533FSB support, but this chipset also never took full flight. The i845 was given a 533FSB control option and two variations were available; the i845E, which was the i845 B step with 533FSB, and the i845G, which added Intel's Internal graphics adapter for value end boards (this controller is similar to the i815 chipset).
While adding 533FSB to the E and G series, DDR-333 was still left out, only the aging DDR-266 memory was supported. With this being limited to a 2.1GB/s transfer rate, it left Intel's 533FSB P4 well behind as it required 4.2GB/s to fully perform at its best. Intel took the i845E chipset and reworked the memory controller for 333 MHz operations and again two new variations were released, the i845PE and the i845GE.
EPoX, being the company they are, have taken the best Intel chipset and placed it onto one of their feature packed motherboards. Today we look at the 4PEA+ motherboard, which has been designed for the overclocking market segment.
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