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ASUS P4S333 SiS 645 Motherboard Review

By: Cameron Johnson | Editorials in Motherboards | Posted: Jan 17, 2002 5:00 am
TweakTown Rating: 9.0%Manufacturer: ASUStek






Layout-wise, the P4S333 uses a 1/6/1(AGP/PCI/Riser) setup. Supporting a universal AGP port, just about any and all AGP cards can go into this baby. This is important if you don't want to upgrade or don't have the extra cash to buy a AGP 4X video card. Supporting 6 PCI slots, you will just about find it hard to fill this board up with PCI devices. Along with these slots you also get the new ACR slot. ACR is a VIA introduction which is backwards compatible with AMR and CNR, but supporting new Dolby 5.1 Audio, HomePNA and SoftDSL technologies. Most of the hardcore users out there won't give you a dollar for an ACR slot, but the OEM's out there sure will. Looks as if ASUS is determined to win both markets!


The Chipset





Driving this ASUS P4 beauty is the revolutionary SiS 645 chipset. Fully licensed by Intel, this chipset boasts PC1600 (DDR-200), PC2100 (DDR-266) and PC2700 (DDR-333) memory modules. PC2700 increases the bandwidth on the memory bus from 2.1GB/s to 2.7GB/s; excellent for that hungry P4 that runs optimal at 3.2GB/s. Along with this new memory controller is the SiS 951 Southbridge. It provides support for ATA-100 IDE, SiS 900 10/100 Fast Ethernet, 6 USB ports over 2 Controller (3 ports per controller), AC'97 Audio and ACR capabilities. SiS uses the MuTILO interconnect for the North to Southbridge communications. This bus is 16-bits wide and runs at 266MHz, increasing the overall throughput to 533MB/s. This is more than adequate since the PCI bus only needs 133MB, Hard Disk at max will need 100MB and USB and Ethernet will require at most 120MB, leaving around 360MB for the system to upgrade upon. Looking good for built in firewire.


ASUS Extras



Ever since the ASUS CUSL2-C Black Pearl, ASUS has beed adding extras to its motherboards and this is no exception. If you have any type of digital media that records onto flash memory, you can purchase an additional ASUS SmartCard reader and plug it directly into the motherboard via the above ports.



Along with the SmartCard reader, ASUS has continued its commitment to the end user with the ASUS EZ-Plug motherboard series. ASUS EZ-Plug is a standard 4-pin molex connector on the motherboard that, if you don't have a PSU with the +12v 4-pin connector, you can use a Y-splitter cable and use a 4-pin hard disk connector to power the Pentium 4 processor. Of course, there is the standard 4-pin power connector for those of you with P4 PSU's and don't want to waste a HDD connector. ASUS has thought of it guys.



Like AOpen and FIC added voice diagnostic devices to their motherboard, so has ASUS. The tiny chip you see contains debug card information and an AC'97 audio chip. This baby detects the current state of the system and tells you in a loud clear English voice what is happening with your system, including FSB overclocking problems to System booting from OS.



Like so many motherboards now, ASUS has decided to throw away the use of the AC'97 audio processor and add the C-Media CMI-8738 6 channel audio processor. This chip's audio is far superior to any AC'97 audio device and the quality is quite good compared to some 6 channel audio cards, but don't be mistaken, it's no replacement for the SoundBlaster Audigy.


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