Chaintech 9CJS Canterwood Motherboard Review

Intel's new flagship Dual Channel, 800MHz FSB desktop chipset, the 875P aka Canterwood, has been met with rave evaluations by the review community as a whole. Chaintech are offering one of the first retail Canterwood motherboards which we have taken a look to date. Read on as Cameron "Sov" Johnson gives us all the dirt on the feature-packed Chaintech 9CJS motherboard.
| May 9, 2003 at 11:00 pm CDT
Rating: 90%Manufacturer: Chaintech

Chaintech 9CJS - Introduction

IntroductionLast month Intel stepped back into the limelight with its introduction of the I875P or "Canterwood" chipset. This chipset is by far the largest step Intel has made in the history of the Pentium 4. With I875P came the first official support for DDR-400 memory for the Intel Pentium 4 and Intel's second generation Dual Channel DDR solution for the Pentium 4 platform.

Chaintech has been one of the more conservative motherboard manufacturers on the market. Chaintech hasn't produced a huge amount of boards, but simply built one board with what they consider to be a lasting and future proof version of board. Chaintech has give the market three series of boards to choose from - Plain, Apogee and Zenith. Plain series just has your board and simple peripherals, Apogee incorporates the C-Box system, while Zenith adds the C-Box2 or the new C-Box 3.On the same day as Intel's release of the I875P, Chaintech announced its very first board based on this new chipset, a board which has been described as everything you'll ever need for your ultimate PC performance. Do these claims hold true? Read on and find out.

Chaintech 9CJS - Specifications

Specifications of the Chaintech 9CJS ZenithCPUSupports Intel Pentium 4 1.4GHz ~ 2GHz mPGA 478 CPU WillametteSupports Intel Pentium 4 2.0GHz ~ 2.4GHz mPGA 478 Northwood (400FSB)Supports Intel Pentium 4 2.2GHz ~ 2.66GHz+ mPGA 478 Northwood (533FSB)Supports Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz+ mPGA Northwood (800FSB)Supports Intel Celeron 1.7GHz+ mPGA 478 Willamette-128 (400FSB)ChipsetIntel i875P AGPset I82875P NorthbridgeI82801ER SouthbridgeIntel Hub Architecture @ 266MB/sBus Frequency100/133/200MHz Internal400/533/800MHz ExternalNetburst Micro ArchitectureExpansion Slots1 AGP 4x, 8x5 PCI1 CMRExpansion Ports1 PS2 Keyboard Port1 PS2 Mouse Port8 USB 2.0 Ports (4 rear accessible, 4 via expansion bracket)3 Firewire Ports (2 via expansion bracket, 1 via C-Box 3)2 Serial Ports 1 Parallel Port3 Stereo Audio Ports 1 Game Port (via expansion bracket)2 RJ-45 LAN PortsSpecial FeaturesBIOS overclocking control of FSB and voltages.Onboard Realtek NetworkingOnboard Intel CSA NetworkingFirewireSATA RAID

Chaintech 9CJS - Features

Features of the Chaintech 9CJS ZenithPackage and Contents
First off let me say that Chaintech know how to include a great package.They ship the 9CJS in a very large box that doubles as a carry case for you to transport your board home from your favourite computer store. Inside is where you see the goodies. Chaintech ships as standards the board, User Manual, two Rounded IDE Cables, one Rounded Floppy Disk Cable, two Serial ATA cables with two Serial ATA Hard Disk Power Converters, Driver CD, Value Pack CD, C-Box 3, IR Remote Control, CMR Expansion Card and a Interchangeable screw driver set.The Chaintech user manual is well documented with explanations for properly configuring of Dual Channel memory, installation of all case cables and full locations for all the peripherals onboard. The rounded cables provided are extremely long that allows for you to install the board into large cases with huge space requirements.The Board, Layout and Gripes
Chaintech uses a silky brown PCB for its new Zenith motherboards. The 9CJS comes with one AGP slot that supports AGP revision 3.0 compliant cards. This means 4x and 8x cards only, similar to the E7205 and other AGP 8x supporting chipsets. Five PCI slots are included for adding in your own sound cards, external ATA controllers and any other PCI devices you may wish to install.A new addition to the Chaintech line-up is the Chaintech Multimedia Riser Slot or CMR, as Chaintech calls it. This new slot is a CNR slot placed in reverse. This slot acts as an interface for the Chaintech CMR expansion card. We will go over this card a bit later in the review but for now we can say this slot only supports the CMR card from Chaintech, this means no other cards can go into this nor can the CMR card be used in any other boards on the market.Chaintech have followed a few motherboard manufacturers in that they have colour coded their DIMM slots. Two of them are blue and while the other two are black. This lets you know how to pair up the memory, two identical modules go into the blue and two identical go into the black to fully populate the motherboard, this makes troubleshooting any memory configuration problems very easy.Placement of connectors is pretty much similar to most other motherboards on the market, so there is no disadvantage with the Chaintech board over the others. Located behind the DIMM slots is the 20pin ATX connector. This keeps the larger ATX cable well away from the heatsink. Located just above the 20pin connector is the Floppy Disk connector. This allows for installation in large cases with high Floppy bay locations. The four pin connector is located between the Northbridge and the I/O panel like most Pentium 4 boards. This does place the cable over the heatsink and can obstruct the air slow around and CPU hence reducing overclocking potential.I875P, Intel's new Powerhouse
The release of the Canterwood chipset from Intel finally brought out what consumers have wanted from Intel for some time.Intel has been very conservative in the DDR department - It took Intel well over three months after the full on validation of DDR-333 memory to use it with the I845PE. This time Intel makes a bold stand. Before SiS or VIA officially validated DDR-400 memory, Intel has taken it on as their ultimate memory solution. Installation in Dual Channel gives a total Bandwidth of 6.4GB/s, which is identical to the requirements of the 800MHz FSB Pentium 4 CPU. Add to this the support for AGP 8x and you have a complete product, however this is not the first AGP 8x chipset from Intel, remember the E7205 was the first chipset to support both DDR and AGP 8x for Intel Pentium 4.Another feature of the I875P which will be unique is the new Performance Acceleration Technology. If you would like to find out more on this, visit our Canterwood review which you will find here.Paired with the new ICH5R Southbridge, Intel finally brings Serial ATA to the desktop as standard. Intel were amongst the big pushers for the Serial ATA standard but has taken well over five months to even add a Serial ATA controller to their desktop motherboards. Now with the ICH5R, Intel adds it native to the desktop platform. Two Serial ATA 150 ports are available for use in either RAID or ATA mode, allowing for up to six drives, four via normal IDE and two on the Serial ATA ports. ICH5R also adds eight USB 2.0 ports and AC'97 Audio. Intel has dropped the Pro100 Ethernet from the ICH5 series due to its new CSA bus on the I875P Northbridge.Firewire
To add to the already impressive support, Chaintech throw the VIA VT6306 Firewire controller chip for good measure. The VIA VT6306 has proven to be a great cost affective Firewire controller with support for up to three Firewire ports. Two of the ports are located on the CMR card and one is located on the C-Box 3 for front panel access.

Chaintech 9CJS - Features Continued

Features of the 9CJS Zenith Continued24bit Audio, Envy Arrives
This is the first board and first time we have seen the VIA Envy Audio processor used since VIA neglected providing us with a sample.VIA Envy is a new 24bit Audio controller designed to take on the Sound Blaster Audigy and Audigy 2 sound cards. Supporting 24bit 96Hz sound, it is comparable on paper to the Audigy and Audigy 2.In testing it was able to outperform the Audigy but no way able to replace the Audigy 2. So if you are looking for an Audigy replacement the Envy is what you will be looking at. The Envy also has another great feature, support for 7.1 speakers. This surpasses the support the Audigy has and is identical to the Audigy 2 output level.Dual LAN, CSA and Fast Ethernet Standard
This is something more common in Server boards rather than desktops. Chaintech gives Dual Ethernet possibilities. The first controller is the Intel CSA Gigabit Ethernet controller. CSA or Communication Streaming Architecture is Intel's latest bus addition to the Northbridge. Due to the bandwidth requirements which Gigabit Ethernet demands, it ends up flooding the PCI bus. As a solution, Intel added a new 266MB/s link from the Northbridge for a CSA compatible Ethernet chip. The Intel CSA Gigabit chip is currently the only CSA controller available. The second controller is the Realtek RTL8100BL Fast Ethernet. This chip has come up on many boards in the past and proved itself to be a great cost effective Ethernet controller chip. Both Ethernet ports are located on the back plate.Chaintech Multimedia Riser
As mentioned earlier, Chaintech now includes a new proprietary card for the 9CJS Zenith. The Chaintech Multimedia Riser card or CMR as its known is simply a card that plugs in to provide the connectors for the extra three stereo audio and one optical Audio port as well as two Firewire ports. As you can see from the pictures, there are no codec chips onboard, so this card isn't technically a card but simply a bridge between the board and the external ports.C-Box 3 - New Front Panel Possibilities
Chaintech has once again added its brand of front panel access known as the C-Box to us with the 9CJS. This new one, dubbed C-Box 3 adds a few new features. First off you have a port 80 for debug information, no need to open the case to look at the code; it is now shown on the front of the case. Second is an IR Receiver for the IR Remote control. Two USB ports and one Firewire port allows for front access of USB and Firewire. Next is the 6 in 1 card reader which connects through an internal USB header and gives access to SM, SD, MMC, CF, MS and Micro Drive. Finally front Audio ports are added for front access to the headphones and mic connection.
This has to be a first from my point of reference, control your PC by remote. Yes that's correct. The remote is an IR based system that transmits to the IR port on the C-Box 3. This remote has a wide rage of functions, one of which is to power up the PC itself, so there is no need for the power button. This can be used as password protection to get into the PC as you can disable the power switch and password protect from coming on by keyboard, a rather handy function.
Finally Chaintech gives you the ability to put this PC together without you having to go and find a separate screwdriver set. Inside the box it looks like a pen, remove the cover and it's actually a set of screw drivers. You simply chop and change around from two Phillips heads and two flat blade screwdrivers - perfect for putting the PC together away from tools.

Chaintech 9CJS - BIOS and Overclocking Results

BIOS and Overclocking ResultsChaintech offers a very feature-packed BIOS with all the major I875P chipset tweaks, including the PAT system to increase memory performance by skipping four out of six wait states. Overclocking is also supported under the Frequency/Voltage Control menu; from here you can change the system speeds and voltages.Front Side Bus speed is adjustable from 100MHz up to 255MHz in 1MHz increments. This was slightly disappointing as the clock generator onboard supports up to 350MHz FSB adjustments. A simple BIOS update is defiantly needed to fix this.PCI and AGP frequencies can be locked to 33/66MHz respectively to allow the PCI and AGP buses to remain stable when pushing the FSB above specifications.Enabling the Voltage Fine Tune function allows you access to CPU Voltage Regulator, DRAM voltage Regulator and AGP Voltage Regulator. CPU voltage can be changed to +0.1, +0.2 or +0.3 of default. This gives a maximum of 1.8v when using Northwood CPU's. More options for the voltage steps would have been ideal for better stability, but you do have enough juice to hit the high notes.DRAM voltage steps are identical to the CPU, +0.1, +0.2 and +0.3 of default giving you 2.8v maximum on the DRAM, While this is good, up to +0.5 would have been better to allow higher DRAM frequencies when overclocking.AGP voltages are of the same token as well, +0.1, +0.2 and +0.3 above normal. This is more than enough for today's AGP as you can lock the frequency, thus eliminating AGP bus overclocking. In our tests we used an Engineering Sample 800Mhz 3.0Ghz Pentium 4, which is unlocked. We backed the multiplier down to 12x to see what the maximum speed we could get out of the board was. We managed to hit 255MHz FSB easy, thus maxing out the board's highest FSB speeds; Chaintech needs to update the BIOS in order to allow much more versatile FSB settings.

Chaintech 9CJS - Benchmarks - Test System and Sandra 2003

BenchmarksTest SystemProcessor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0GHz (800Mhz FSB) (Supplied by Spectrum Communications)Memory: 2x 256MB DDR-400 Kingmax (Supplied by Kingmax Australia)Hard Disk: Western Digital WD80 7200RPM (Supplied by Techbuy)Graphics Card: ATI Radeon 9700 Pro (Supplied by ATI)Software Used: Sisoft Sandra 2003, Lame MP3, DIVX Encoding, Sysmark 2002, 3DMark2001SE, PCMark2002, Vulpine GLMark 1.1, Quake 3 Arena, Star Trek Voyager, Jedi Knight II, Comanche 4, Aquanox and UT 2003SiSoft Sandra 2003SiSoft Sandra (the System ANalyser, Diagnostic and Reporting Assistant) 2001 is a synthetic windows benchmark that features different tests used to evaluate different PC subsystems.
Chaintech has done a great job optimising the 9CJS compared to Intel's Desktop board.

Chaintech 9CJS - Benchmarks - System and Multimedia Productivity

Real World System and Multimedia ProductivitySysmark 2002Sysmark2002 incorporates the following Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity applications:Office Productivity: Microsoft Word 2002, Microsoft Excel 2002, Microsoft PowerPoint 2002, Microsoft Outlook 2002, Microsoft Access 2002, Netscape Communicator 6.0, Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred v.5, WinZip 8.0, and McAfee Virus Scan 5.13.Internet Content Creation: Adobe Photoshop 6.01, Adobe Premiere 6.0, Microsoft Windows Media Encoder 7.1, Macromedia Dreamweaver 4, and Macromedia Flash 5
Sysmark wise Intel and Chaintech tie it on both levels.Lame MP3 EncodingLame MP3 Encoder is used to convert a 120MB WAV file into a 128bit 44Hz MP3 File - the lower the score the better.
The slightly increased bandwidth of the Chaintech gives the 9CJS its first real world victory.MainconceptMainconcept is used to convert a 1.2GB Digital Video to a MPEP-2 file using 25fps as the default rate. The Benchmark is expressed in time in seconds, of course less is better.
Again higher bandwidth on the memory gives Chaintech another win.

Chaintech 9CJS - Benchmarks - Synthetic 3D and PC

Synthetic 3D and PC3DMark033DMark03 is the latest instalment in the popular 3DMark series. By combining DirectX 9 support with completely new graphics (including the GeForce FX and ATI Radeon 9800), it continues to provide benchmark results that empower you to make informed hardware assessments.
While the extra power showed up in the real world, 3DMark03 doesn't take as big an advantage as we would have thought.PCMark2002PCMark2002 is a completely new, multipurpose benchmark, suited for benchmarking all kinds of PCs, from laptops to workstations, as well as across multiple Windows operating systems. This easy-to-use benchmark makes professional strength benchmarking software available even to novice users. PCMark2002 consists of a series of tests that represent common tasks in home and office programs. PCMark2002 also covers many additional areas outside the scope of other benchmarks.
PCMark2002 shows the memory performance gains on the 9CJS.Vulpine GLMark 1.1pVulpine GL mark is a Windows based OpenGL API designed to stress the OpenGL systems of a 3D Accelerator. Patch 1.1p adds in support for ATI Radeon 9800's fast 256bit memory interface optimisations and early support for the nVidia Geforce FX.
Vulpine shows no advantage to the Chaintech board on this level.

Chaintech 9CJS - Benchmarks - OpenGL

Real World OpenGLQuake 3 ArenaQuake 3 Arena is a real-world OpenGL benchmark that we have been using here at TweakTown for quite a while now because it has proven itself to be one of the best gaming benchmarks around to compare a range of different products.
Quake 3 Arena, old yet still shows gains in technology like no other. Chaintech's faster memory performance shows up here again.Star Trek VoyagerStar Trek Voyager is a real-world OpenGL benchmark. Based on the Quake 3 Arena engine, this game is a OpenGL master utilising DirectX 8. We also apply the new Opt3D patch to allow for the use of Hardware T&L's use as well as new optimisations for AMD Athlon XP and Pentium 4 SSE2.
Being heavier on the hardware than Quake 3, Star Trek Voyager shows up the performance gain by Chaintech more clearly.Jedi Knight IIJedi Knight II, Jedi Outcast is a newly released OpenGL game that many have been waiting for. It has much improved graphics over its predecessor. It fully supports advanced shaders, as well as very high texture resolutions and effects. There is one demo included in the multi-player section that is good for benchmarking use. In order to enable the benchmarking mode, you have to make a shortcut to the jk2mp.exe program located in the GameData folder of Jedi Knight 2. You have to put the switch "+set sv_cheats1" (no quotes) at the end of the line in the Target Area so that it looks like this: "C:\Star Wars JK II Jedi Outcast\GameData\jk2mp.exe" +set sv_cheats 1. The demo file used is jk2ffa.
Again due to heavy reliance on the memory, Chaintech pulls ahead of the rest.

Chaintech 9CJS - Benchmarks - Direct3D

Real World Direct3DComanche 4Comanche 4 is a helicopter flying game using the DirectX 8.1 graphics interface. It is used to test the memory and 3D sub systems of a motherboard and video processor. Any weaknesses will show up on this baby.
Both the Chaintech 9CJS and the Intel Desktop I875P are neck and neck on Comanche 4.AquanoxAquanox is the latest instalment of our benchmark software. This game is based heavily on DirectX 8 and 8.1 advancements and is designed to stress video cards to their ultimate limit, in all one of the best D3D benchmark to date.
Aquanox on the other hand show the advantages of the more optimised Chaintech motherboard.UT 2003Unreal Tournament 2003 continues the success that Unreal Tournament generated as an online game and benchmark. UT2003 pulls all of its weight on to the 3D and Memory subsystems, pushing graphics reality to the maximum is its game, and you need some serious power to pull this one off
In the last of our benchmarks, Chaintech takes home the final victory.

Chaintech 9CJS - Conclusion

ConclusionChaintech might be one of the most liberal with their portfolio but when a board comes out it stands out in the crowd.Layout of the board was on par with 99% of the Pentium 4 market, with only that 1% pulling off the perfect layout. Cable clearances and placements of the IDE, FDD and 20 pin socket were what we could class as being in the best possible places, with only the 4 pin being the one to complain about. The idea of colour coding isn't a totally new idea but it is one that we are glad to see Chaintech has included, this makes for setting up the Dual Channel memory much easier than having to go through the book to find the right slot for each configuration.The onboard preferals were nothing short of great. Using the Intel Serial ATA controller to give RAID is a great bonus along with the trusted VIA Firewire controller. Adding Dual Ethernet was something that was a shock to us. While most of us don't need dual Ethernet, you can use it to boost your LAN speeds with dual ports on a router or switch, either way it's still nice to have two ports.Overclocking on the board was good in that we managed to get some high FSB speeds out of the 9CJS, the only bad part on the FSB front is that it maxes out at 250, which might seem high but with a 2.6C 800FSB P4, 250MHz is a very limiting number. Voltages were pretty well high enough to gain a successful high end overclock, however, we would have liked to see more voltage steps for the CPU rather than 3 simple +0.1, +0.2 and +0.3Overall the Chaintech 9CJS is defiantly at the head of the class at this stage released with some great features onboard and potential for future use.- ProsFastStableOnboard FirewireVIA Envy 24bit SoundC-Box3 Remote Control Access to PC- ConsPlacement of 4 pin ATX ConnectorLimited FSB maxToo few CPU voltage optionsRating: 9 out of 10 and TweakTown's Editors Choice

Last updated: Apr 7, 2020 at 12:25 pm CDT

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