ASUS P4P800 SE
Aug 17, 2004 (Updated Aug 17, 2004)
Review by Jon Benton
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Ai BOIS features, Serial ATA and RAID
The Bottom Line: This is an excellent motherboard and and I would recommend it to everyone.
It was time to do a couple computer upgrades in our Web Design department and I needed a couple of motherboards to start my upgrade project. I have been using all ASUS brand motherboards on all of my upgrade projects so it was only logical that I would continue to use them.
Recommend this product?
I had to select a different ASUS board that I have been using because I didn't need the onboard graphics. I was looking to use Serial ATA drives and possibly a RAID configuration. This is one of the main reasons why I chose this board over the ASUS P4R800-VM that I was using. I am really glad that ASUS makes so many different models of their 800 MHz FSB architecture. This allows us to chose one that fits a specific need from a computer. I really like the dual channel memory (2x 400 MHz) configuration that comes with the 800MHz boards.
The model that I selected was the ASUS P4P800 SE.
The P4P800 SE is a full size board that has five expansion slots (PCI) and one AGP slot. The P4R800-VM motherboard has only three expansion slots and one AGP slot and that was going to be too much of a limitation. The P4P800 SE uses an Intel 865PE chipset unlike the P4R800-VM uses an ATI Radeon chipset. ASUS included a ICH5R Southbridge chipset to this board to be used with the Serial ATA and RAID configuration.
The fit is very important since I am using an existing case to put this board in and this new board has to fit inside. Fortunately for me the case I had to use has a removable shield where all the connectors are located. The ASUS P4P800 SE came with a shield that matches all the connectors that are included on the board. This shield just easily pops in place and I was able to install the new motherboard in place of the old one. The actual size of the board is 12"x 9.6" so it fit within our existing cases which are identical to keep uniformity.
The ASUStek P4P800 SE is designed to work with Socket 478 processors, these include the Intel ® Celeron and Pentium P4 processors. ASUStek included the 478 pin ZIF socket (Zero Insertion Force) and a fan mount onboard this motherboard. The nice thing about this is that Intel® includes the fan with the correct mounting hardware inside their P4 processor retail packs. This motherboard is designed to be used with Intel® Celeron and Pentium 4 processors including those processors with HT or Hyper Threading. I chose the Intel ® Pentium 4 3.06 GHz processor. The board supports Hyper Threading technology, but the precessor we chose doesn't have the Hyper threading built in.
Since we have a wide range of computer users I am glad that this board can handle a wide range of memory configurations. ASUStek designed this motherboard with multiple FSB (front side bus) speeds, this gave me an option when it came to the type of memory I could chose from. The board has a maximum of 4 GB of memory with 4 dual channel memory slots and the slots are color coded blue and black alternating. With the dual channel configuration the memory speed bumps up to 800 MHz's. The memory modules that are compatible with this board is PC3200, PC2700, PC2100 DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Module). Since I was setting these two machines up for our Web Design Team I decided to put 1 GB of memory on the board and I selected two 512 MB PC2700 DDR SDRAM DIMM from Kingston Inc., one of the leading memory makers.
This board comes with an AGP (Accelerated Graphics Processor) socket, in this socket goes the video board. This board will support video cards that are 8x AGP compatible, but it will also support 4x AGP video cards. So when it comes to choosing this board to upgrade an older machine you maybe looking at having to upgrade your video card like I did. This board is designed to be used with AGP video cards that use 1.5V and .8V it won't work with any other cards that are 3.3V. So be very careful and remember to ask about the video card you are about to purchase to make sure that it is a 1.5V or .8V video card. I chose an Gigabyte Radeon 9200 SE Graphics adapter to handle the video in this specific machine.
IDE and Floppy Support
The IDE connectors onboard are used to connect up to four hard disks or other internal storage devices. The board has two Ultra DMA 100/66/33 connectors giving you a wide range of hard drives can be connected to this board. Normally we attach a single Seagate 40 GB 7200 rpm drive and a 52x CD-rom drive to the Primary IDE controller or connector on the board. The Primary IDE controller connector is easily identified by it's blue color. The Secondary IDE controller is located directly behind the Primary IDE controller connector and it is black in color. With this secondary IDE controller we can add additional drives if the user has a need for additional storage. It also has a Floppy drive controller for the Floppy drive, which are nearly obsolete now. We are in the process of phasing out the Floppy Drives in all of our network workstations.
ASUStek included an additional feature on this particular motherboard that offers you a way to add additional storage space on your computer. They did this by including two SATA or Serial ATA connectors. Using these two connectors and the cables that were included we could add up to 6 Serial ATA drives. Which would seriously increase our storage capability. The SATA offers an increased data transfer capability since the standard IDE on this board is 100 Mbps and the SATA transfer rate is 150 Mbps. But this increase comes at a price, the SATA drives are a bit more pricey than standard IDE drives but they are much faster. I chose two SATA 160 GB Hard drives, but I didn't chose the RAID 0 or 1 configuration so the users had two separate drives to use the any way they chose. Using the Serial ATA connector will automatically disable one of the IDE controllers and this will limit you to two optical drives (CD/-RW or DVD/-RW)
Note: If you are wanting to take advantage of the Serial ATA RAID feature of this board you must be running either WindowsXP or Windows 2000 OS.
I/O Ports and Expansion Slots
1x Parallel Port
1x Serial Port
4x USB 2.0 Port
1x PS/2 Keyboard
1x PS/2 Mouse
8 port sound connectors (Headphones, Mic and Speakers)
1x Expansion port for the Digital output S/PDIF and
1x RJ45 connector for Lan
1xAGP 5x PCI
1x WiFi internal port (WiFi card is an option available from ASUS)
What comes in the box
ASUS P4P800 SE Motherboard
The Users Manual
2x HDD cables (40 pin and 80 pin ribbon cables)
2x SATA cable
CD (drivers, bundled software)
Intervideo® WinDVD Suite Platinum
Unique ASUS Features
ASUS Wi-Fi Slot: This slot is designed specifically for the ASUS Wi-Fi-b card and software package combines to turn your computer in a Wireless Access Point. This will save you from having to purchase a separate AP for your wireless network. The card comes with an external antenna that attaches to the external port on the outside of the card. This antennae can be placed in an area that will optimize reception.
Ai NET solution: ASUS included a special onboard chipset (The Marvel® Gigabit LAN controller chipset) that is solely for the LAN on the Motherboard configuration. This chipset along with the onboard RJ-45 connector gives you network capability without having to buy a separate NIC card. This onboard LAN supports 32bit 10/100/1000 ethernet connection and along with the included driver it is really easy to setup.
Ai Audio solution: ASUS included their very successful SoundMax® ADI 1985 AC '97 audio CODEC which supports 6-channel 5.1 surround sound. The SoundMax® 4XL software is a new version of the audio software that includes and extra feature called AudioESP (Audio Enhanced Enumeration and Sensing Process) that allows it to detect when an audio device is attached to any of the audio jacks and it cant detect a device that may or may not be compatible.
Ai Overclocking: Even though I am not much on overclocking, I realize that many computer builders are and I wanted to make sure I include this in my review. This will allow you to safely overclock up to 30% depending on the CPU and memory that you installed on this board.
ASUS Q-Fan Technology: Most computer builders know that heat generated within the computer case is the most serious risk to computer components. So to combat this heat that is generated by these components the makers of the components rely on small cooling fans and aluminum heat sinks or combination of both mounted on the IC (Integrated Circuits) chips to discipate the heat. ASUS uses a special technology that monitors the system load and it will adjust the speed of the cooling fans to help keep the system running optimally.
CrashFree BIOS 2: This feature uses the supplied CD that will allow you to restore your BIOS settings in case your BIOS gets corrupted. With this feature you wouldn't have to replace and expensive BIOS ROM chip if the information gets corrupted, you would simply restore the BIOS data from the CD.
MyLogic2: This feature I really like because it allowed me to customize the boot screen on this board. I was able to import our companies logo into this utility and set it up.
C.P.R: No this isn't Cardio Pulmonary Resucitation, it stands for CPU Parameter Recall. What it actually does is helps to restore your BIOS settings in case you have a lockup problem while attempting to overclock your system. Without this utility you would have to open the case and reset the BIOS and start again. With this Utility activated all you have to is reboot your computer and it will allow you to reset the BIOS to a safe state.
ASUS EZ Flash BIOS This EZ Flash BIOS is just another one of the BIOS features that ASUS has included to make it much easier for the user to control and adjust the BIOS without having to go through any complicated procedure. No floppy disk is needed to boot from when updating the BIOS.
The installation of this board was pretty easy and it only took me a short period of time. Once I removed the old board I found that I had to add a couple of extra stand off so I could attach this new board. This is because the ASUS P4P800 SE is a larger form factor board and it required a couple extra screws to attach it. This was really the only issue I had to deal with when installing the board.
After I had the board screwed down it was time to install all of the components that I was putting on the board. Fortunately ASUS included the mounting hardware for the processor fan and after installing the Intel P4 processor into the ZIF socket, I attached the fan that came with the Intel processor retail package. I then plugged the two 512MB memory DIMM's into the first two memory slots. This gave me a total of 1GB of memory configured as dual channel for the fastest data transfer.
Next came the video card and it fit right in the AGP slot. Then I hooked up the two 80GB Serial ATA drives to one of the ports on the board and I am glad ASUS included two of the Serial ATA cables so I didn't have to try to find one at the computer store. The CD-RW attached to the IDE port and the floppy drive cable attached to floppy drive port on the board.
Once I had all the hardware setup and the case wires attached to their proper location for the power button and LED's on the front panel of the case, it was time to load OS and drivers for all of the onboard features. Fortunately the OS installation was pretty easy since it was Windows XP Professional. Then it was time to load the CD that contains the drivers and software to control all of the special features that I talked about earlier. I had to make sure that all features were functional and if it wasn't I was ready to load drivers. The video card was the only set back for me and that is because ATI cards want you to install them as standard video cards in the OS and then load the specific drivers for your video card to be able to take advantage of all the features of your graphics card.
Once I had all the drivers loaded for the onboard devices and drives it was time to load all of our software programs.
My final thoughts
I continue to be impressed with ASUS brand motherboards and I doubt we will use any other brand. The ASUS P4P800 SE is a great board and I would recommend it to any computer builder. It was so easy for me to install the board in our older cases and I if I had to buy another case I am sure it would be just as easy to install in a different case.
The features that ASUS has included with this board make it a very versatile motherboard to build your computer around. I really like the My Logic2 feature so I can put a more personal touch to our business computers. Even though I don't over clock our machines I think the Ai over clocking feature is a great little deal to make it easier for those who do like over clocking.
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Amount Paid (US$): 105.00
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