Supermicro’s P4STA Pentium 4 Mainboard
Supermicro is a supplier of computer hardware from quad server systems to
basic desktop solutions. Founded in 1993, SM has already passed through an
impressive growth over the last few years with their Server/Desktop innovations.
SM was actually the first corporation that brought dual Pentium Pro mainboards
back in the early days. We are looking at their new i850 P4TSA board for the
- Intel 850/ICH2
- Socket 423
- 4 x RIMM sockets
max. 2GB (PC-600 or PC800 RDRAM)
- Intel Pentium
4 processor (Supports 400MHz system data bus)
- 1 AGP slot (Supports
1.5V AGP 4x)
5 PCI slots
1 CNR slot
Intel's latest 850 chipset was designed specifically for the Pentium 4. The
i850 has very little differences over its expensive and high-end brother the
840E chip. The 850 like the 840 is using a dual-Rambus channel memory architecture,
of course this requires that you install the RIMM modules in pairs of two.
If you already have some knowledge with the dual Rambus channel on the 840
you already know that this technique helps the latency issues to be lessened
and at the same time doubles the bandwidth of the memory. Continuing with
some other similar features to the 840, the 850 shares the same hub architecture
(ICH2), meaning that the 850 chip offers pretty much what the 840 has to offer
in features. The 850 of course includes AGPX4 support and the standard features
that Intel's ICH2 hub has to offer, this includes ATA/100 support, an additional
USB hub resulting in a total of four USB ports, the implantation of the AC97
audio and 10/100Mpbs LAN. What differs most is the capability of handling
Intel's latest Processor.
The main difference
between the 840 and 850 is the support of the new bus to the processor. The
difference between the Pentium 4 AGTL+ bus and the Pentium III AGTL+ bus is
that the Pentium 4 uses a 100MHz quad pumped bus, resulting in 400MHz compared
to the 100/133MHz bus the Pentium III uses. Another important point to mention
is that the 850 chip does not support dual processors (SMP) compared to the
840 that can fully take advantage of two Pentium III CPU's. At this specific
moment, this really does not matter because the Pentium 4 is a single (unit)
processor. This will change once the new Pentium 4 (.13) is released later
The Pentium 4 it self is already an expensive piece, not forgetting the Rambus
memory that is priced twice the price of normal SDRAM memory, so will the
850 motherboards be another limitation for the average user in getting one?
You bet. 850 motherboards are starting in the 200$ Range. The i850 Chip (MCH
- ICH2) is retailing for almost twice the price of the 815E (EP) chip for
the Pentium III.
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