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VIA P4PA Socket 478 Motherboard Review
VIA P4PA Socket 478 Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
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   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > VIA P4PA

Gaming Benchmarks and Conclusions

3DMark2001 SE Source: MadOnion

3DMark2001 SE is the latest installment in the 3DMark series by MadOnion. By combining DirectX8 support with completely new graphics, it continues to provide good overall system benchmarks. 3DMark2001 SE has been created in cooperation with the major 3D accelerator and processor manufacturers to provide a reliable set of diagnostic tools. The suite demonstrates 3D gaming performance by using real-world gaming technology to test a system's true performance abilities. Tests include: DirectX8 Vertex Shaders, Pixel Shaders and Point Sprites, DOT3 and Environment Mapped Bump Mapping, support for Full Scene Anti-aliasing and Texture Compression and two game tests using Ipion real-time physics. Higher 3DMark scores denote better performance.

3DMark 2001 SE Benchmark Results
Motherboards 3DMarks Ranking
1. P4PA - 100 MHz FSB 7791
2. P4PA - 111 MHz FSB 8370
3. P4XB-RA - 100 MHz FSB 7578
4. 4D845A - 100 MHz FSB 7723

The P4PA does very well in 3DMark2001. In fact, at stock speeds it's 200 points higher then VIA's own VIA P4XB-RA which had a 3DMark score of 7578! It should be obvious that the P4PA and the P4XB-RA have different manufacturers. It's not to often that a VIA chipet based motherboard can beat a Intel based one, but that's happening here!

Quake III Arena

Source: ID Software

Quake III Arena is a First Person Shooter (FPS) that revolutionized gaming as we know it. Using multiple light sources and having graphics textures that can fill videocards, even after 3 years it's still able to bring a cutting edge system to its knees.

Quake III Arena Fastest demo001
Motherboard FPS Ranking
1. P4PA - 100 MHz 282.8
2. P4PA - 111 MHz 308.9
3. P4XB-RA - 100 MHz 257.4
4. 4D845A - 100 MHz 261.1

Quake III Arena Fastest nv15demo
Motherboard FPS Ranking
1. P4PA - 100 MHz 76.3
2. P4PA - 111 MHz 83.9
3. P4XB-RA - 100 MHz 69.7
4. 4D845A - 100 MHz 73

With QIII Arena at the Fastest Settings, the difference between the stock P4PA and its closest competitor the ACorp 4D845A (i845-D) is about 20 fps in demo001 and that's a huge difference! I'm not really sure how to explain this, other then the P4PA's manufacturer is probably a top end mainboard maker! The P4PA also seems to be able to take control of the Pentium 4 2 GHz best, judging by the nv15demo's numbers since that demo is all CPU limited.

Quake III Arena MAX 1024x768 demo001
Motherboard FPS Ranking
1. P4PA - 100 MHz 187.3
2. P4PA - 111 MHz 194.6
3. P4XB-RA - 100 MHz 183.1
4. 4D845A - 100 MHz 186.3

Quake III Arena MAX 1024x768 nv15demo
Motherboard FPS Ranking
1. P4PA - 100 MHz 52.2
2. P4PA - 111 MHz 57.9
3. P4XB-RA - 100 MHz 47.9
4. 4D845A - 100 MHz 49.6

The trend we saw at the lower resolutions is also happening at higher ones such as 1024x768 however the videocard is becoming the bottleneck since the frame rate is much closer together then before.


The VIA P4PA is a very fast motherboard for sure. In fact, it's faster then most of the other Pentium 4 motherboards I've tested recently, and that's quite a feat!

During our testing of the VIA P4PA, we did experience a few BSOD's however stability was much better then the P4XB-RA. VIA has done very well with the P4PA and the performance is top notch to show for it.

With onboard USB 2.0 and 10/100 ethernet (and yes even AC'97 sound) there isn't much you need to add to this motherboard to complete the system. I personally am not much of a fan of the AC'97 audio codec because it is not an actual hardware soundcard. The AC'97 just isn't really good for gaming, MP3's or DVD's.

About the only fault I can find with the P4PA is more of point of lacking, as the inclusion of onboard IDE RAID would have meant that this motherboard was packed to the gills, and fast.

As for "fun factor" the P4PA scores a perfect 10! With the many different memory tweaks/overclocking options, the VIA P4PA allows a enthusiast to fully take control of their system and tune it into top-notch performance. Heck, even our Pentium 4 2 GHz Williamette seemed to like the P4PA quite a bit, it ran faster on this board then any before. All in all, we were very impressed with this socket 478 offering from VIA, and hope it is a sign of more things to come!

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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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