The ASUS P3C-E
Two flavors of 820
Late last year 820 motherboards first hit the retail market. These early 820 products were based on the 820 chipset with the additional memory translator hub (MTH) for support of PC100/PC133 SDRAM. On paper this sounds like a good solution, however our tests of the 820 with the MTH have shown it actually performs slower than the BX chipset it was intended to replace!
Because of this, we don't recommend 820 motherboards that use the MTH. 820 motherboards like the P3C-E are the only option from Intel for true performance enthusiasts that delivers AGP 4X compliance, ATA-66 support, and 133MHz front side bus, all wrapped into one nice package. VIA's Apollo Pro133A chipset offers the same features with one exception: it supports PC133 SDRAM rather than RDRAM.
ASUS offers a motherboard based on that chipset - the P3V4X - however the 820-equipped P3C-E is what we're reviewing today.
Who is ASUS?
Chances are if you're reading this website you've heard of ASUS. Manufacturer of components such as CD-ROM drives, video cards, notebooks, and even SCSI and RAID cards, ASUS staple product has always been motherboards.
For the 820 chipset alone ASUS offers 6 different motherboards, with models for multiple markets. Looking for a dual 820 motherboard? Or maybe an 820 board with integrated LAN and Ultra 160 SCSI? ASUS has it. Or do you just want integrated SCSI? ASUS has that too! When it comes to versatility, ASUS definitely wins hands down.
820 Performance Improvements
Back in our chipset comparison article, the BX chipset performed like a champ. Placing at or near the top of the majority of the benchmarks we threw at it, we didn't expect the P3C-E 820 system to keep up with it in our latest tests.
However, not only did the 820 dethrone our BX system at the same clock speed, it also opened up a new range of clock speeds for our 500E. Before we discuss the performance however, lets discuss the P3C-E a bit more!