ASUS P4P800 Deluxe board
Red AGP light on the P4P800
Intelís Pentium 4 3.0C/875P launch in April brought new levels of performance to the Pentium 4 platform, largely due to the faster 800MHz system bus supported by both parts and 875Pís dual-channel DDR400 memory interface, capable of providing up to 6.4GB/sec of peak memory bandwidth to the processor. The downside of these components however was price. Pentium 4 3.0C processors currently sell for over $400, while many 875P motherboards sell for $170-$200: clearly putting both out of the budget of many consumers.
To address the needs of the mainstream market, Intel has recently introduced a trio of new CPUs, the Pentium 4 2.4C, Pentium 4 2.6C, and Pentium 4 2.8C. These processors all feature 800MHz bus support (hence, the ďCĒ designation) and Intelís Hyper-Threading technology. With the added bandwidth the faster bus provides, these chips easily outperform their 533MHz Pentium 4 equivalent. The real kicker though is the price, Pentium 4 2.4Cís can already be found for under $200 online.
In order to tackle the second issue, motherboard price, Intel has introduced the 865 platform. 865 is composed of three chipsets: 865PE, 865G, and 865P. The 865PE is a direct descendant of 875P, offering full support of the 800MHz bus and dual-channel DDR400 memory. The only difference between the chipsetís is Intelís Performance Acceleration Technology, PAT.
As you probably know by now, PAT enables faster timings within the North Bridge of the 875P chipset, resulting in enhanced memory access performance. 875P chipsets have been validated to support PATís tighter timings, while 865PE hasnít. Physically theyíre the same chip. The ASUS P4P800 Deluxe weíre reviewing today is based on the 865PE chipset. In contrast, the 865G chipset adds Intelís integrated graphics core to the equation, this is ASUSí P4P800-VM.
The final chipset in the 865 family is 865P. This chipset features a dual-channel memory controller like its cousins, but doesnít offer the 800MHz bus or DDR400 memory support that 865PE and 865G provide. Instead, it supports Intelís 400MHz and 533MHz buses with memory support up to DDR333. This puts consumers in an unpredictable situation. If you arenít careful, you could mistakenly purchase an 865P motherboard like the ASUS P4P8X and wouldnít know the difference until it was too late. Definitely keep your eyes open if you find an 865 motherboard with a price that seems too good to be true. Chances are it is.
ASUS P4P800: 875P in disguise?
Late last week ASUS turned heads with a shocking press declaring that its P4P800 series supported 875Pís PAT technology: ďPAT is a trigger for extreme performance, boosting system performance by 3-5%. Combined with the 865PE chipset enabling an 800MHz system bus, it is designed for extreme performance. According to Intel, PAT is an exclusive technology for the 875P chipset, but with ASUS' strong engineering capability, the P4P800 series comes equipped with this feature as well.Ē ASUS then provided instructions for enabling this feature on the P4P800 series!
This statement got many enthusiasts heads churning: if the P4P800 offered the performance benefits of PAT, but at a price tag that was substantially less than even the cheapest 875P motherboards, whatís the point of purchasing an 875P motherboard in the first place? With this in mind, itís no small wonder that this press release has been removed from the ASUS website. Since this event occurred, weíve received a deluge of inquiries regarding the P4P800, all regarding Intelís PAT and whether the P4P800 really supports it. Weíll attempt to tackle this issue and the rest of the details surrounding the P4P800 Deluxe over the course of this review.