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Business and School Integrated Motherboard Roundup

Business and School Integrated Motherboard Roundup - PCSTATS
Abstract: Faced with the purchase of dozens of new computers, government agencies, schools and businesses need to find ways to keep costs down while still getting the equipment they require.
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Various Jul 19 2002   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Various

Final Conclusions

To be considered an integrated motherboard each solution must have onboard video, audio and LAN. With the recent release of the Intel i845G and i845GL chipsets integrated motherboards have taken a step up from what was previously the norm. The motherboards with the i845G/GL chipset have the benefit of Intel Extreme Graphics (fancy name for onboard video) and thus offer the sharpest looking text in the golden region of 800x600 to 1280x1024 resolutions. At higher resolutions of 1600x1200 the i845G/GL chipset and its 8MB of shared memory begins to show its limitations and text becomes fuzzy.

Conversely, the VIA ProSavage offers the next best quality with the Trident 3D Blade and SiS 650 fighting for the last place. Where the Trident and SiS integrated video chipsets are concerned, anything above 1024x768 is pushing it. Most office applications will never see their resolutions above that mark, but it is important to at least have the flexibility that the i845G/GL and ProSavage offer.

The quality of 3D performance on integrated motherboards has never taken center stage because it is never really been designed to satisfy the needs of 3D applications or games. In that sense, this limitation is a pretty good means of ensuring office workers don't get "distracted" during the course of the day.

In an office environment where integrated motherboards are more at home, audio is the one feature that will always rank very high on the list of requirements. Giving users the ability to listen to music over a pair of headphones, or small desktop speakers, can be a pretty big incentive and is not something that should be overlooked or taken for granted.

The onboard audio solutions on the integrated motherboards we tested were all based on the AC'97 codec, which can sap a lot of CPU cycles. The difference between 2.1 and 5.1 channels of audio did not weigh in too heavily because we assume most users will be using headphones or small stereo speakers. At low to moderate volumes acoustic performance was entirely satisfactory and as expected.

The limitation of this software-based audio system immediately becomes evident when the volume is cranked up and distortion starts to take place. Users looking for higher quality audio would be best off having an aftermarket hardware-based soundcard. For day to day personal audio, AC'97 is just fine.

Onboard NIC's varied in chipsets from board to board, but since this is a transparent technology most users and system administrators won't really care. Each motherboard supported 10/100 ethernet via RJ45 jack.

Some of the motherboards used current PC99 IO port configurations while others came with their own custom IO shield. For older cases with non-removeable IO shields this could pose a problem, and is something worth taking note of before a purchase. With WindowsXP Professional all the network drivers were already in its database so the installation took care of everything.

Looking to the future:

Making sure that a computer lasts for a few years to come means that certain components (memory, processor, hard drive) will need to be replaced and upgraded. Barring only the few Micro ATX motherboards which did not have an AGP port all of the motherboards offer users the opportunity to leave the integrated graphics behind as budgets and computing requirements improve. System administrators should thus keep one eye towards the future when choosing a low cost integrated solution in the present.

Failure to pick the right motherboard for the right application may leave you with a computer which won't scale to meet your needs. As PCI videocard solutions are usually no better then the integrated video chipsets, upgrading via AGP slots is a must if 3D applications are on the horizon.

So what this all boils down to is knowing what the computer will be used for now, and in the foreseeable future.

Integrated mainboard solutions offer system administrators an easy way to roll out workstations under a tight budget. Used for common office applications and internet based work they offer a very good alternative platform. MSI's Micro ATX MS-6390, MS-6533 and MS-6526 each offer excellent performance for their price point. Iwill's mP4G offers among the best performance and features of the boards we tested but is hampered by a its high cost. If the future points towards uses which will require more intensive 3D support, the standard sized ATX Epox 4G4A+ and Abit BG7 give a little bit more head room.

It all boils down to what you need, and hopefully this roundup will give you the information you need to make the right decisions for your own applications or environments.

< Previous Page © 2017 PCSTATS.com Motherboards News»

 

Contents of Article: Various
 Pg 1.  Business and School Integrated Motherboard Roundup
 Pg 2.  Quick Comparison Specs On the Boards
 Pg 3.  MSI MS-6378 - AMD
 Pg 4.  MSI MS-6390 - AMD
 Pg 5.  MSI MS-6368 - Intel Socket 370
 Pg 6.  MSI MS-6526GL - Pentium 4
 Pg 7.  MSI MS-6533 - Pentium 4
 Pg 8.  MSI MS-6524 - Pentium 4
 Pg 9.  Epox 4GLA+ Pentium 4
 Pg 10.  Epox 4G4A+ Pentium 4
 Pg 11.  Iwill mP4G Pentium 4
 Pg 12.  Abit BG7 Pentium 4
 Pg 13.  Benchmarks and Testing Specs
 Pg 14.  Benchmark: BAPco Sysmark 2002: Internet Content
 Pg 15.  Benchmark: BAPco Sysmark 2002: Office Productivity
 Pg 16.  Benchmark: Winstone 2001: Content Creation
 Pg 17.  Benchmark: Winstone 2001: Business Winstone
 Pg 18.  Benchmark: Winbench 99: Disk
 Pg 19.  Benchmark: Winbench 99: Graphics
 Pg 20.  Benchmark: Sisoft Sandra 2002
 Pg 21.  Benchmark: PCMark 2002: CPU Bench
 Pg 22.  Benchmark: PCMark 2002: Memory Bench
 Pg 23.  Benchmark: SPECviewPerf
 Pg 24.  Price performance comparisons
 Pg 25.  — Final Conclusions

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