by December 6, 2001 0 comments

The initial high cost of a P4 processor and RDRAM meant that systems based on this processor were out of reach of most users. However, the recent cut in P4 prices has made them more affordable. To facilitate this penetration, Intel recently introduced its 845 chipset (Brookdale), which supports regular SDRAM instead of RDRAM, reducing the price further.

The board is completely jumperless, making its configuration easy

Transcend TS-ABD4 Motherboard
Price: Rs 7,600 (one-year warranty)
Meant for: High-end users
Features: Intel 845 chipset, Socket 478; supports mPGA P4 processors; upto 3 GB SDRAM; 5 PCI, 1 CNR, AGP Pro slot; sound onboard, ATA 100 compatible
Pros: Good performance and feature set Cons: None
Contact: Nebula Technologies. Tel: 044-2323716/4522/4543/9815/1469 Fax: 2323715. Block II, 2nd floor,24 & 25, SIDCO Electronics Complex, Thiru VIKA Industrial Estate, Guindy, Chennai 600032.,

We checked out the Transcend TS-ABD4 motherboard, which is based on the i845 chipset. Like most P4 boards, this one too needs a special power supply, so you can’t put to use your older ATX cabinets. The motherboard has a socket 478, which can house the smaller P4 processors with the new mPGA packaging. Its three DIMM slots support up to 3 GB, 133 MHz SDRAM. Expandability is not an issue with five PCI slots and a CNR (Communication and Networking Riser) slot.

Sound is onboard, and there’s an AGP Pro slot, which can take in the latest graphics cards. Laid out on an ATX form-factor all connectors and ports are onboard and well labeled for easy identification. The board is completely jumperless, making its configuration even easier.

We tested it with a P4 2 GHz processor, 128 MB SDRAM, an Asus V7700 GeForce 2 display card, Barracuda ATA III hard drive, and Windows 98 SE, and compared its performance with a similar board from Mercury, the 845 KOB WFSX. The difference between the two was that the Mercury had the older socket 423, which housed the earlier P4 processors. To put things into perspective we also added the results of an 850-chipset-based board from DFI, model WT70-EC, which used the same configuration except for its 128 MB

We tested all boards for graphics and gaming using 3D Mark 2001, 3D Winbench 2000 for graphics intensive games, Quake III Arena as always to test the gaming capabilities, and Business and Content Creation Winstone 2001 for regular productivity and high-end apps. A look at the results table shows clearly that there is very little to choose from when it comes to performance. Another point to keep in mind is that these small differences in scores will hardly translate into anything for the end user. So the deciding factor will have to be the features offered by the boards and their respective prices.

At Rs 7,600, the Transcend is a good deal as it performs well, has a useful set of features, and most importantly it works with conventional and cheaper

2000 FPS
Quake III
Winstone 2001 Winstone Units
Creation Wistone 2001 (Winmarks) Winstone Unit
DFI- WT70-EC  3426 122 157 44.5 43.1
Transcend TS-ABD4 3303 118 131 40.8 39.4
Mercury-845 KOB WFSX 2886 117 128 43.5 42.7

Sachin Makhija at PCQ Labs

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