What Makes The Perfect Motherboard?
Once upon a time, in a forum not so far from here, there was a discussion. "What would you design into your own ultimate motherboard?"
The discussion seemed to focus on putting together on an Athlon platform for affordability. The fantasy board supported DDR, four IDE channels with two of which being courtesy of a third party chipset capable of RAID. The board was imagined to have on board 5.1 sound that could support 6 channels.
The discussion really started to take off when we started talking about what we would want in overclockability. Of course, all adjustments were to be made in the BIOS. The adjustments were to include not only the adjustment of front side bus, but also multiplier and voltage adjustment. Some even suggested an adjustable PCI divider so as the front side bus went up; the PCI could be adjusted down.
I think Iwill read our discussion!
When our discussion was underway nearly half of a year ago, there was no PC2700 and ATA133 was unheard of. Back then; our ultimate motherboard was to feature the AMD 761 Northbridge because of its unparalleled stability and lack of compatibility issues.
Since then, AMD bowed out of the chipset market stating that companies such as VIA and SiS had things covered and that there was no need for the more expensive AMD chipset in the desktop market. There was a huge gasp of disbelief that could be heard across the industry. How could AMD leave the future of the Athlon platform in the hands of motherboard manufacturers that primarily use VIA chipsets?
Truth be told; the fact that the Iwill XP333R features an ALi Magik 1 M1647 Northbridge and M1535D+ Southbridge with it's PC2700 support and ATA133 not only refreshing, but also makes this reality in motherboard heaven exceed our dreams!
Why the Iwill XP333R may be that perfect motherboard?
The XP333R featured everything we wanted and then some. The ALi M1535D+ Southbridge supports ATA133 natively, and in case a RAID array is in order for your rig, or a simple need for an additional pair of ATA133 controllers, the XP333R also features the Highpoint HPT372 controller.
The sound is courtesy of C-Media's CMI8738 MX sound chip. It supports 6 channels and is capable of decoding the 5.1 standard, which allows for 5 discrete channels of audio ideal for DVDs.
The BIOS is truly the shining star of this awesome line up of specs. It's all on one page called the "Iwill Smart Setting" menu that made me feel like a kind in a candy store. In this menu, one can select the CPU front side bus, the CPU multiplier, the PCI divider and the CPU core voltage. Core voltage could either be selected from a list, or increased by a flat 10% (the quick and dirty, yet effective way).
Some day, those who wish to use PC333 asynchronously with a typical 266 MHz FSB CPU will be able to do so and see a performance increase. This is something that Iwill assures me is in the works for the XP333R motherboard, but currently the newest BIOS features the ability to set the RAM at 166 with the CPU FSB still at only 133, but one suffers a performance hit as opposed to a performance increase. This did not concern me all too much as other boards on the market with the same chipset don't even benchmark as high as this one WITHOUT overclocking it! The fact that this board is only going to get better for a larger populous through BIOS revisions should make other motherboard manufacturers shake in their bunny suit boots!
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