When the Pentium 4 platform launched over two years ago, we certainly would not have recommended it to the majority of consumers. Such a state certainly isnít unusual -- very rarely do platforms present themselves as overly attractive right away. But the Pentium 4 had nowhere to go but up, and up it went. Since the launch of the 130nm Northwood core, in particular, the Pentium 4 has become an increasingly attractive option for consumers looking to buy or build a new system.
What has been clear from the beginning, though, is that users seeking the best performance possible should continue to look toward RDRAM-based platforms. SDRAM-based Pentium 4 systems have proved very successful for the average user, but as yet, have been unable to supply the bandwidth-hungry Pentium 4 with what it needs for optimal performance.
That hunger for bandwidth grew just over a month ago, when Intel raised the Pentium 4ís Front Side Bus to a whopping 533 MHz, which, ideally, would require a memory subsystem capable of delivering 4.2 GB/s of bandwidth. Not even the mighty dual-channel RDRAM could keep up, as there was not sufficient volume of PC1066 memory for Intel to validate, and declare official support.
Nevertheless, for those willing to take the time to look, there are (growing) quantities of PC1066 memory out there. Paired with a supporting 850E-based motherboard and 533 MHz processor, PC1066 will earn an extra couple percentage points of performance across the board. When we reviewed the 850E chipset, we indicated that third-party motherboard manufacturers may choose to offer unofficial PC1066 support, and they certainly have.
Iwill isnít the first, but its P4R533-N motherboard looks to be one of the better 850E-based offerings available today. Featuring optional on-board networking and 6-channel digital audio, as well as guaranteed PC1066 RDRAM support, how does the P4R533-N stack up against the competition?
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