On-board 6-channel Sound
Iwill, along with a couple other manufacturers (most notably Asus) have started shipping boards with much more sophisticated on-board sound systems. Both Iwill and Asus are now using controllers from C-Media. The XP333-R uses C-Mediaís latest controller, the 8738, which supports 6-channel analog and 5.1-channel digital S/PDIF output, as well as Microsoftís DirectSound3D, and Aurealís A3D. All XP333-Rs will ship with the C-Media controller, which uses the boardís connectors to support the front channels, and an add-on riser to support the surround, center, and LFE channels. Some boards will ship with a standard riser that will feature two additional connectors for 6-channel analog sound. Optionally, some boards will ship with a ĎSuperAudioí riser, which will support 5.1-channel digital output and input via S/PDIF and TOSlink connectors.
Fig 2. C-Media's hardware audio controller. 6-channel hardware audio is standard on all boards.
The C-Media controller is still not at a point where it can be considered a pound-for-pound replacement for a SoundBlaster Live! or Audigy, but itís more than competent for most light usage. And since itís a hardware controller (as opposed to ACí97 software-driven sound), you donít have to worry about it eating CPU cycles or otherwise hindering performance.
Fig 3. The standard analog audio riser. A digital version will be available with some boards.
The rest of the board's features are fairly standard. Three DIMM slots are present. We loaded all three DIMM slots with identical DIMMs during our testing, and did not encounter any difficulty. We still do not advise mixing and matching different DIMM brands and speeds, though, as you're much more likely to run into trouble. Five PCI slots are available, as well as the standard AGP slot (no AGP Pro). Iwill's 3-Phase power system is implemented once again.
Fig 4. The capacitors, inductors, and MOSFETs above comprise Iwill's 3-phase power delivery system.