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Asus P3B-F i440BX Motherboard Review

Asus P3B-F i440BX Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: For the last couple of years, the industry has been seen supporting a chipset like no other. Back in mid-1998, Intel had introduced their i440BX chipset which was the designated chipset for their Pentium II line of processors. Naturally, every mainboard manufacturer wholeheartedly accepted the chipset as at the time, as there were not any other chipsets on the market that could provide the support and stability as well as the 440BX did.
 90% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Asus Apr 12 2000   P. Masrani  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Asus P3B-F

First Look and Installation

Upon first glance at this motherboard gives an impression that it is a bit longer than other ATX one is used to seeing. This is probably due to the fact that is has a massive 6 PCI slots along with 1 ISA slot giving an illusion of longer length. For the description of the layout of this motherboard, we will be taking the side with the integrated parallel / USB / serial ports as front. The one thing that really catches your eye on this board (aside from the 6 PCI slots) are the 4 DIMM slots which are located towards the back of the board just in front of the Primary / Secondary HDD headers.

With so many slots (a total of 8), I can pretty much guarantee that you won't see a problem when wanting to incorporate additional add-on cards in your system. 6 PCI slots is a lot my friends. The 1 ISA slot is there to make sure just about everyone would be comfortable when making to transition in purchasing the P3B-F. Most cards are PCI these days, but there are still some people out there making use out of their legacy devices.

The regular serial / parallel / USB ports / keyboard and mouse connectors are organized in the usual ATX fashion. The cabinet headers are placed on the far rear left side of the board which minimizes the interference between the thinner cabinet cables and other components / cables in an enclosed system.

Surrounding the Slot 1 interface are 6 1500uf capacitors along with 3 1000uf capacitors as well. Speaking of which, the Slot 1 interface is placed towards the front of the board just behind the ATX power connector. All-in-all, a pretty clean and straight forward board component layout. Were there any associated problems with it? Well just a couple. These being the placement of the blue DIP switch box and the floppy connector.

I can't see why Asus didn't choose to at least group the HDD and FDD headers where the HDD headers already are. Instead, the FDD header is located to the left of the DIP switch box at a distance of only about 1 cm away.

The DIP switch itself is a very close neighbour of the AGP slot. Both of these issues make it extremely difficult to modify system parameters through the use of the box. Now I am sure many people are wondering why I would use the DIP switches when the same settings are accessible through the BIOS. Well, I then conveniently pass the buck to Asus asking them why they ever bothered to include a DIP switch box in the first place! Nyah! Actually, the fact that the DIP switches are there at all automatically makes it eligible for any and all types of scrutiny! ;) Hey, back to the issue at hand...

In short, if you still want to use the manually DIP switches (as opposed to the JumperFree BIOS), you would either need to remove the floppy connector cable or be double jointed. Other than that, no design related problems are evident.

Installation

Probably one of the quickest setups till date. After a format of the hard disk and an installation of the Windows 98 operating system, I was ready to go! However, if you decide to run Windows 95, you will need to install the bus mastering drivers for the Intel 400BX chipset. Thankfully, I didn't spend any time installing any pesky drivers such as graphic drivers in the case of an 810 board. I did go ahead and install the various utilities that were included such as the Asus PC Probe which allows real time reporting of the hardware monitoring process...

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Contents of Article: Asus P3B-F
 Pg 1.  Asus P3B-F i440BX Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — First Look and Installation
 Pg 3.  Testbed
 Pg 4.  Overclocking and BIOS
 Pg 5.  Power Mangement and Conclusion

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