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VIA P4PA Socket 478 Motherboard Review

VIA P4PA Socket 478 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: The P4PA supports existing 400MHz based Pentium 4 processors, and goes an extra step further by including support for the up and coming 533MHz Pentium 4 processor.
 81% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: VIA Feb 27 2002   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > VIA P4PA

BIOS and Overclocking

The BIOS used with the VIA P4PA is an Award BIOS, and it looks as though VIA have been trying hard to target some of enthusiast market. In addition to all the wonderful things a BIOS should do, there are also quite a few memory tweaks and overclocking options to keep insomniac tweakers busy till the early hours of the morning. It's nice to see that VIA allows the user to take a lot of control over their own system.

The memory tweaks and overclocking options are all bunched up together on one screen which is not a bad idea since if a tweaker pushes their system too far, it's most likely these settings which will need to be reset.

As far as the memory tweaks go, you can adjust the memory speed to run +33 MHz if you have PC2100 DDR RAM. CAS latency can be manually selected and I like the fact that 4-Way bank interleaving can be forced. As for voltages, the CPU VCore can be adjusted from 1.1-1.85V and the DDR voltage can be moved from 2.5-2.8V.

Since Northwood Pentium 4's don't seem to have a hard time reaching those high FSB's, DDR RAM voltage controls was a pretty good idea.

The FSB for 400 MHz based Pentium 4's can be increased 1 MHz at a time between 100-132 MHz. With the newer 533 MHz based Pentium 4's coming out very soon you should note that the FSB does go higher, but since we don't have one though, we're not sure what the limit of the board is. If you're lucky enough to have a engineering sample Pentium 4 there are also multiplier controls. However for the rest of us this is pretty much useless.

Overclocking:

As for overclocking, the VIA P4PA was surprisingly good even with just a Williamette Pentium 4 2.0 GHz. Using that chip we were able to push the CPU up to 2.25 GHz, which is up from the usual 2.2 GHz we've been able to reach with almost every other m478 mainboard! While 50 MHz doesn't sound like a big deal, it is still 50 MHz higher than any other socket 478 board has been able to reach.

Without really knowing for sure there were a few clues that led us to believe the P4PA was made for VIA by possibly FIC or Asus. The P4PA's lettering for instance has that feel to it. During testing, we also noticed that even at stock speeds, our FSB would be running at around 101.5 MHz. When we overclocked the FSB to 111 MHz, the CPUID a 112.75 MHz FSB.... Asus is notorious for running their FSB just a tad over default while FIC is usually a little better. Still it is hard to say for certain, and all things considered it really doesn't matter, both manufacturers have really good reputations.

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Contents of Article: VIA P4PA
 Pg 1.  VIA P4PA Socket 478 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  3.3V and 1.5V Video cards
 Pg 3.  — BIOS and Overclocking
 Pg 4.  System Benchmarks
 Pg 5.  Gaming Benchmarks and Conclusions

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