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  HyperThreading with Style, Iwill's P4HT Motherboard 
  Jan 07, 2003, 10:00am EST 

Up Close & Personal

By: Dan Mepham

Promise ATA RAID Controller

Commonplace for modern boards, the P4HT offers on-board IDE RAID. Two additional channels are provided by Promise’s PDC20275 controller. RAID levels 0, 1 and 0+1 are supported, as is the new ATA-133 standard. Unfortunately, the placement of the additional IDE connectors below the last PCI slot leaves something to be desired (like perhaps a very long IDE cable). We are pleased, however, to see Iwill continuing the use of Promise controllers, our long-time favorites.

IDE RAID Channels

The P4HT is available in two versions; the base model, and the –S model. The latter offers Serial-ATA support as well. As you can see, our evaluation unit was not equipped with the Serial-ATA option, and thus we cannot comment on its functioning.

Serial ATA Ports

The P4HT also offers on-board 6-channel audio, complete with analog and optical digital outputs. Not unexpectedly from an on-board audio system, the quality is very good (particularly when using the optical S/PDIF output), but lacks the feature set and low processor overhead of full hardware solutions. Replacing the second serial port with the additional audio outputs is an excellent idea; serial ports are all but useless nowadays, and it saves the need to consume an expansion slot with a riser bracket. Iwill does, of course, include an I/O shield to accommodate the non-standard layout.

ATX I/O Stack

You’ll also notice in the above image an RJ45 network port. The P4HT features on-board 10/100 Mbit networking, provided by Realtek’s 8100B controller. Some motherboard manufacturers continue to use third-party controllers instead of the chipset’s integrated networking capability because they’re easier to implement, and generally add no more than a dollar or two to the cost of the board.

Realtek LAN Controller

1. Introduction
2. Basic Overview
3. Up Close & Personal
4. When You Look This Good...
5. Likes & Dislikes
6. Test Procedure
7. Test Results
8. Summary

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