The Roundup

The 13 motherboards in this roundup represent a larger group of around 23 motherboards. We decided to eliminate those boards from the same manufacturers that differed only in offering on-board graphics with the 915G chipset. We covered Intel integrated graphics performance in Intel 915 Graphics: Graphics Media Accelerator 900 and all of the 915G boards that we had for testing did have both integrated graphics and a PCI Express slot for a video update. If you're looking for integrated graphics, consider the performance data in this roundup relevant to the same manufacturer's 915G board with the addition of integrated graphics.

If you're interested in comparing integrated graphics, then the 915G review and the recent ATI Radeon Xpress 200 launch review should provide the information you're looking for on integrated graphics performance. Please keep in mind that 915G boards, geared to entry level systems and the business desktop, may perform the same as the 915P boards from the same manufacturer, but they often have more limited options in BIOS. Enthusiasts generally prefer higher performing graphics solutions in an AGP or PCIe video card, and these are the same buyers who also demand better options for tweaking the performance of their motherboard.

One other consideration is memory. All of the 925X boards used the new DDR2 memory, but the 915 chipset family can use either DDR2 or DDR memory. A couple of manufacturers, Gigabyte and DFI, decided to provide the ability to use either DDR or DDR2 memory, but even so, you cannot use both at the same time. This added flexibility is great if you have DDR now, yet plan to move to DDR2 in the future, but it does come with a price. Both boards are limited to 2GB of memory, which can be either DDR2 or DDR instead of the 4GB maximum for single memory boards.

The rest of the boards in the roundup use either DDR2 or DDR. You will find DDR2 featured on the AOpen, Asus, ECS, Foxconn, and MSI. The rest of the manufacturers decided to build their 915 boards with an easier upgrade path and DDR400 memory. This includes Abit, Albatron, Biostar, Epox, Jetway, and Soltek. Since the type of memory that can be used on a 915 board matters a great deal to many buyers, we have tried to group the test results so that you can identify the memory capabilities easily. Color codes were used in our graphs to make it easy to spot DDR, DDR2 and DDR/DDR2 motherboards. The color codes are described in detail in the Test Configuration on page 29.

Index Abit AG8: Features and Layout
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  • krelian - Wednesday, December 8, 2004 - link

    I been a Intel user since the first Pentium 3 came out now I have a Intel P4 3.0C I refused to spend more money on things I had already bought so I stayed with the 478 socket, seeing as Intel wants me to move to an expensive platform, I say I'll ditch Intel head with the AMD crowd, I'm sure I won't be the only one, maybe legions of intel campers will leave.
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    About the config I put together in the previous post; does anyone know if the overclock lock on the 915P chipsets apply to lower FSB's too? Could I overclock the 133MHz Celeron D to 200MHz on any 915P motherboard?
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    The 915P chipset provides good value for the money. For example:

    ECS 915P-A $79
    Intel Celeron D 325J 2.53GHz $88
    Albatron GeForce 6600 128MB $120.50
    Albatron GeForce 6600GT 128MB $190.50
    (newegg prices)

    The processor can be overclocked to 3.6+GHz very easily, much like the Athlon Mobiles.

    That makes a good budget gaming rig, better than anything you could put together with an AMD processor for the same money. So, at least in my opinion, AMD has a better mainstream/high-end processor, and Intel wins the value segment. Who would say?

    I have now read the entire article, and oh boy! Though I prefer to read about socket 754/939 motherboards, this has to be the best motherboard roundup I ever read. Ever. Well done.


    thank your fixing it. The typo I wrote about on page 10:
    "The fact that Asus manages a higher OC than more recognized OC boards like DFI and Asus "

    Don't you mean ABIT in the last word there?
  • ocyl - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Wesley > Thank you for paying attention to the audio features/components of these motherboards, particularly Dolby Digital Live :)
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #21 - The Foxconn results have been corrected on p.20. Thank you for bringing it to our attention.
  • ChineseDemocracyGNR - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    A few typos:
    "The fact that Asus manages a higher OC than more recognized OC boards like DFI and Asus "

    page 10.

    On page 20, the "Front Side Bus Overclocking Testbed" table is probably wrong.


    Good article.
  • LeadFrog - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Why does only the socket 915 get a 16mb cache Hard Drive?
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Wes, I said thanks before but I'll say it again, great roundup. We appreciate your hard work, always.
  • danidentity - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    Live -

    The P5GD2 is expensive compared to most boards, but it includes a ton of stuff, like 8 SATA ports, dual gigabit LAN, on-board 802.11g/b, and on-board hi-def audio with Dolby Digital Live (realtime encoding, like SoundStorm).

    Most 915P boards aren't as close to as expensive as the Asus. The Abit AG8 is ~ $130, equal or cheaper in price than the K8N Neo2.
  • Wesley Fink - Tuesday, December 7, 2004 - link

    #16 - After I did the price analysis today I changed "outstanding value" to "good value". Thanks for the comment about the review being good reading. It is appreciated as a huge amount of work went into this roundup.

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