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

Likes & Dislikes

By: Dan Mepham

We always feel it important to point out some of the strengths and weaknesses of any product. In keeping with that, here are a few strengths we noted during our testing:

Sanyo Capacitors. Given the recent tumult regarding high failure rates of certain brands of Taiwanese-made low-ESR capacitors, we were extremely pleased to see our sample board covered with high-quality Sanyo capacitors. Sanyo and Nichicon capacitors have thus far not exhibited the failure rates associated with some other brands. Our board did contain a few Her-Mei capacitors, but most were Sanyo.

Stability. As youíll see in the next few pages, the P4HT not only met, but exceeded the demands of our challenging suite of stability tests. This is a testament not only to Iwillís design, but also to Intelís excellent 845PE chipset and chipset software.

On-board Digital Audio. As previously mentioned, the on-board audio is hardly a match for the latest multimedia soundcards, but with optical digital output, it offers quality far superior to most on-board audio systems. The bane of most on-board audio is background noise caused by interference from the electrically-busy motherboard. The digital output eliminates noise caused by such interference by keeping the signal in digital form throughout.

It Looks Good. Okay, weíre not going to tell you to buy a motherboard simply because it looks good. Further, most users will just pack it away inside a case where its looks wonít matter at all. Nevertheless, you have to at least slightly admire the effort Iwill has put into dressing up the P4HT nicely.

We also noted a couple areas in which we think there's room for improvement:

Missing a few BIOS settings. Iwillís BIOS offers very reasonable flexibility, however we have seen a few out there with just a few extra possibilities, such as more memory ratios, timings, etc.. Donít get us wrong, the P4HTís BIOS is more than sufficient for most users, but those looking for absolute control may wish to consider offerings from Asus or Abit.

Too Few and Poorly Positioned Fan Headers. The board does have three fan headers, however one is used by the cooler on the MCH. That leaves only two fan headers, one of which is positioned down by the IDE RAID ports, where it is all but useless. The wires on most fans are not sufficiently long to reach around expansion cards and all the way down there. Another fan header near the processor area (for an exhaust fan), or near the front of the board (for an intake fan) would be better.

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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