The P4R533-N is certainly one of the most unique 850E-based boards weíve seen, and is one of only a couple models available not based on Intelís reference design. The most noticeable feature is the positioning of the RIMM banks. The RIMM slots are located perpendicular to each other -- two across the front of the board, and two along the right edge. The logic here is that by moving two of the slots perpendicular to the others (as opposed to in front of), the trace length between them and the MCH can be reduced, thereby resulting in the potential for greater stability at higher speeds. As a secondary benefit, we have observed in our labs that separating the RIMM slots (as opposed to having four together) results in slightly cooler operating temperatures for the RIMMs. This will also increase stability and lengthen component lifespan.
Perpendicular orientation of the RIMM slots helps to reduce trace length and heat buildup, and improve stability.
As mentioned, the board uses the Intel 850E chipset, which means support for 400 MHz and 533 MHz Pentium 4 CPUs (the current best on the market is the Pentium 4 at 2.53 GHz). PC800 RDRAM is supported for all bus speeds, and PC1066 support is guaranteed for 533 MHz processors by Iwill (but not officially by Intel, yet). The 850E MCH also supports AGP 4X graphics cards of the 1.5V variety. 3.3V AGP cards are not supported.
The board boasts five PCI 2.2-compliant PCI slots, each Bus Master-capable. Note that not all PCI slots are always Bus Master-capable, so if you plan on filling them all, thatís something to check on when purchasing a motherboard.
The P4R533 will be available in two varieties -- the P4R533, and the P4R533-N -- the latter offering on-board 10/100 Mbit networking, courtesy of the Realtek controller. Drivers are supplied with the board, but Windows 2000 and XP already have them in their libraries.
Intel's ICH2 I/O Controller Hub provides the USB, PCI, and IDE functionality.
The board also features optional on-board 6-channel digital or analog audio. Audio is provided by a CMI controller, which fully supports 2-, 4-, and 6-channel audio in digital or analog modes. Some boards will ship with a 6-channel analog audio riser, some with a 6-channel digital audio riser, and some with no riser at all (meaning you get 2-channel audio using the connectors on the ATX I/O plate). If youíre interested in the on-board audio, be sure to clarify with your vendor which, if any, audio riser is included with your board.