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MOTHERBOARDS

VIA P4PB Ultra Review
By: Memphist0
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  • Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 30
    2004-07-26

    Table of Contents:
  • VIA P4PB Ultra Review
  • What's in the Box?
  • On-board Audio and Motherboard Layout
  • The BIOS
  • Benchmarks
  • Benchmarks Continued
  • Even More Benchmarks
  • Conclusion

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    VIA P4PB Ultra Review - The BIOS


    (Page 4 of 8 )

    The following screenshots of the bios should look very familiar to most of you.  The VIA P4PB Ultra utilizes the Award bios, something the majority of manufacturers are doing today.  Well, at least they didn't pick some oddball one.

       

       

       

    So far nothing out of the ordinary.  The second picture of the second row illustrates options to turn on some of the integrated goodies such as the onboard LAN and RAID.

     

     

    Now we are getting into something interesting.  Under the memory options you can set the RAM to run asynchronous to the front side bus.  So while your front side bus is running along at 133MHz, you could increase your memory bus to 166MHz or 200MHz.  Just make sure your RAM is up to it.  I would have liked VIA to use ratios instead, because that is exactly what they are.  If you increase you front side bus to 150Mhz the RAM bus does not stay 166MHz or 200MHz.  Instead if 166MHz is chosen, the RAM is now running at 187.5MHz and, if 200 was chosen, your RAM would be running at 223MHz.  So in reality the 166MHz setting is a 4:5 CPU:Memory ratio, and the 200MHz setting is a 2:3 CPU:Memory ratio.  Not a big deal but it might make using the bios a little clearer to some.

     

     

    Mmmm, overclocking options.  VIA has given you about every overclocking option you want in the P4PB Ultra's bios.  The CPU, DRAM, and AGP voltages are adjustable and the front side bus is adjustable in 1 MHz increments up to 200MHz.  However, they seemed to come up a little short in some areas.  The CPU voltage can only be adjusted +/- 1.0 volt. I would have like to seen this option allow at least +2.0 volts. And the DRAM voltage is only adjustable from 2.5 volts (default) to 2.8 volts, again I would have liked to see this go up to a least 3.0 volts.

    While the bios is extremely tweakable, it does not give the full range of voltages we are used to seeing on other motherboards.  I wonder how this is going to affect the overclocking performance of this board?

    Benchmarks

    Test Setup:

    1. Pentium IV 2.53 GHz

    2. GeIL PC3500 PC3500 Platinum Ultra

    3. Western Digital 80GB 8MB cache hard drive

    4. ATi RADEON 9700 PRO

    5. VIA P4PB Ultra vs. ABIT IT7

    Each test was run on the VIA P4PB Ultra at the following settings:

    1. 2.53 GHz processor, 133 MHz memory bus (266 DDR)

    2. 2.53 GHz processor, 166 MHz memory bus (333 DDR)

    3. 2.53 GHz processor, 200 MHz memory bus (400 DDR)

    4. 2.94 GHz processor, 155 MHz memory bus (310 DDR)

    The IT7 was run at the following settings:

    1. 2.53 GHz processor, 133 MHz memory bus (266 DDR)

    2. 2.53 GHz processor, 178 MHz memory bus (356 DDR)

    3. 2.94 GHz processor, 155 MHz memory bus (310 DDR)

    4. 3.47 GHz processor, 183 MHz memory bus (366 DDR)

    Unfortunately, only the 2.53/133 and 2.94/155 results are comparable due to different memory ratios available on the motherboards, the IT7 only has a 3:4 CPU:Memory ratio.  The 3.47/183 tests were run to show what the CPU was capable of if the motherboard didn't hinder performance.

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