by January 2, 2000 0 comments

This category contains five motherboards based on the Intel 810 chipset with onboard graphics 
and video. Onboard graphics is actually a limitation because it won’t give you the desired 
graphics or gaming performance, despite having a PIII processor. These boards supports the PIII and some of them are duals. The winner in this category is the XO Tronic Slot 1 810 ATX (See “The best Motherboards”, page 92 in this issue).

Azza PT 810DTC

Dual-processor motherboard with Socket 370 and Slot 1. The advantage of this type is that if you go for a Celeron, you can upgrade to a PIII later. 

The board has onboard sound and graphics and can take up to 512 MB of SDRAM in two DIMM slots. It has four PCI slots and an AMR port for future modems. It’s built on the Micro ATX form factor and gives you the option of using either ATX or AT power supply. You can use either a Slot 1 or a Socket 370 processor by changing the position of DIP switches. The manual contains all the necessary information in this regard. 

We tested the board using a Celeron as well as a PIII. In productivity applications there was an 11 percent boost in performance, and in 3DWinbench the results changed from 408 to 457 on switching to a PIII. But the amount of money you’ll spend on upgrading to a PIII doesn’t justify this small increase in performance. The absence of a separate AGP port also limits your graphics capabilities. 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 4,400
Software: Virus Buster; Virtual drive (CD Emulator); sound and display drivers.

Jetway 911 AF

Dual-processor motherboard based on the Intel 810 chipset. It’s built on the ATX form factor, which makes life very easy when it comes to installing the board, as all the ports are onboard and color-coded. You can choose between a Slot 1 or a Socket 370 processor by changing the jumper settings, although DIP switches would have been easier. The board has two DIMMs–which together take 512 MB of SDRAM, four PCI slots, and an AMR slot too. 

In case of productivity apps, the motherboard performed better on a PIII, giving a 10 percent boost in performance. In gaming, it fared pretty well in the Intel Game Launcher results, where it got a boost of 25 percent with a PIII over a celeron. In Quake II, however, there was hardly any difference. The board also comes bundled with PC Health, PC-Cillin, and Xing Media Player. 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 4,800
Software: PC Health; PC-Cillin; Xing Media Player; sound and display drivers.
Website: None.

Crusader BIW 1B

Another dual-processor motherboard based on Intel’s 810 chipset and supports existing Socket 370 and Slot 1 processors. You can choose your processor by changing the jumper settings. Although the manual does explain this procedure, DIP switches or even jumper-less detection could have been much easier. Being an 810, it has onboard sound and graphics. Again, the absence of an AGP slot means that your graphics capabilities are limited, especially if you decide to upgrade to a PIII later. The board has two DIMM slots, which have a combined capacity of 512 MB and also an AMR port. The board is laid out on a Baby AT form factor with the option of using AT or ATX power supply. Three PCI slots and no ISA slot does limit your expansion capabilities, so be sure to take into consideration your future needs before you go in for this particular board.

This motherboard fared well in performance, scoring the highest in Business Winstone99 ratings using a PIII. Here too, the increase in performance from a Celeron to a PIII doesn’t really justify the money being spent on upgrading. 

Overall, although the motherboard was a good performer, it lost points due to its limited upgrade potential.

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 4,750
Software: PC-Cillin; PC Health; sound and display drivers.

Asus P3W

This too is based on the ATX form factor. The board has onboard sound and video, and you don’t need to buy an extra display and sound card. However, the absence of an AGP slot limits your gaming and graphics capabilities. This is also evident from the test results. While a PIII with an external graphics card scored 1,010 in 3DWinbench, the P3W managed only 464. Although the score of 464 is the highest in its category, it’s evident that the onboard graphics is not equipped to handle heavy graphics. 

So what good is a PIII with onboard graphics? This can be seen from the Business Winstone results. In case of productivity applications, the P3W scored 20, while a PIII with external graphics card–the P3B-F–scored 21. Now let’s look at the price difference. The P3W costs Rs 6,300, while the P3B-F costs Rs 7,950, plus about
Rs 9,000 for a good graphics card. That comes to a price differential of Rs 10,650 between the two. This huge difference is not at all justified for a marginal increase in performance. So if you want your productivity applications to run faster, a PIII with onboard graphics will not only get the job done, but also save you a lot of cash. 

This particular board has three DIMM slots with a combined capacity of 512 MB. Expansion too isn’t a problem with six PCI slots and an AMR slot for future modems. As with all Asus boards we received, this one was also accompanied by a good manual. So where did the board lose out? It lost out in pricing. The XO Tronic, priced at
Rs 4,100, managed to beat the Asus by a small margin for top honors in this particular category. 

Chipset: Intel 810
Price: Rs 6,300
Software: LAN Desk Client Manager; PC-Cillin; 
PC Probe; Acrobat Reader 4; sound and display drivers.


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