For those of you that require it, The P3B-F does offer enough
to keep your PC consuming as less power as possible when idle. With
the regular user definable options under power management, a few nifty features are provided
as an extension to the status-quo. One of these features is the Suspend-to-RAM option,
STR is an updated energy
saving feature that requires your system to be setup to support ACPI. Basically,
your operating system needs to have support for ACPI and Windows 98 does. In STR
mode, all devices on the computer are turned off except for system RAM. Thus,
the PC consumes less than 5 watts of power.
If your expansion cards do not support STR, you must leave this
field on the default setting of disabled. The benefit of STR allows a user to
shut down the computer and reboot where the user last left off. This certainly
saves a lot of time spent in performing a cold boot of the system. Unfortunately,
it supports for up to only 40 minutes of STR. If you really want more time in
suspend mode, you will have to revert to the old method of the Windows 98
Suspend mode, which really isn't such an attractive option.
AC PWR Loss
Restart allows you to set whether you want your system to reboot after the power
has been restored after a power outage. Quite useful in an automated
environment. Power up on Modem , Wake on LAN, scheduled power up, Wake Up by
Keyboard / PS2 mouse functions are implemented as well.
The ATX switch can be used as a
normal system power-off button when pressed for less than 4 seconds with Suspend
mode turned off. In Suspend mode, the buttons adds a another function which will
place the system in Sleep mode when pressed for less than 4 seconds. Depressing
the button for more than 4 seconds powers down the system
BX-based boards have really made a
large impact on the market the past couple of years. As we saw in this review,
the Asus P3B-F outpeformed motherboards based upon newer chipsets, the i810 and
VIA's Apollo Pro 133A. So though old, the BX is certainly a viable option.
There are a couple of
characteristics which do lack in the P3B-F. Namely, the lack of native ATA/66
and its inability to properly support a 133MHz Coppermine processor (if you are
using an AGP card along with it). Not being as flexible as today's boards such
as the Soltek's 67KV might make it unattractive for some and certainly would
limit the user as to the choice of CPU one wishes to use.
Though a number of options are there for serious overclockers, the
2/3 AGP divider makes it someone limited in this scope and pretty much nullifies
the useability of all these options, which is sad of course. Of course, as this
board supports PCI 2.2 and hence a 1/4 PCI divider ratio, it is possible to
implement a 133MHz FSB CPU with a PCI based TNT2 card or a Voodoo3 PCI without
any problems. But most boards are based upon the AGP bus so these options can be
a bit restricted.
The plus points of this board are that for one, it is a
great performer and exhibits a good deal of stability. Having been picked out at
the choice for server usage is certainly a testimonial for BX boards. And in
the benchmarks / stability tests, we have seen why these chipsets are still in
use in a large number of installations.
So would I be the one to
recommend this board? It depends... Obviously, I would pick it out as a choice
for servers. Overclockers might want to look elsewhere in the market if you are
considering a 133MHz FSB CPU with an AGP based graphics board. Low end users can
find more options on less expensive boards on the market such as ATA/66 and
on-board audio. Basically, this board would be best suited under resource
intensive applications where uptime and good performance is certainly a must.
And the Asus P3B-F delivers just