ASUS P3V4X

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Chris posted this in the Forum – many are interested in this board so we are posting it here as well.

My research and experience with the ASUS P3V4X and VIA 133A Chipset

Well, I just thought I’d share some thoughts and experiences I have had with this board and some other stuff. Just to be straight, I am not a zealot or anti Intel or anything. I just like to get the best product I can for the money with performance and stability in mind. And I do not think my gear is superior to any others just because I bought it and I am trying to justify my purchase. No doubt there are other great video cards, CPU’s and gear out there. Anyways, nuff with the disclaimer. 🙂

I know a lot of people are looking for info on this board, it’s chipset and how well it performs against the BX. As of this message, there is only one review up and it is at Insane Hardware. There should be another up at AnandTech sometime next week. So, since there is so little info I thought I would share my somewhat unbiased experiences with this board.

Put simply this board is great but it shows some immaturity within the BIOS. Changing the bus speed and moving the cursor down and back over the selection results in the bus speed reverting back to an ungainly 80Mhz FSB. The reversion can be avoided by simply hitting ESC and moving to Power options. Also, ATA66 is rumored to be disabled in this BIOS revision (1001 Dec 20) and some rumors are floating around that bus speeds around 145-155 MHz don’t work and cause the system to not post.

So, with those you can see there are a few probs. I have only encountered the first one thus far in my testing (just got the board yesterday). ATA66 speed hasn’t been confirmed yet but I don’t notice any difference in speed than from the HighPoint ATA66 from my BP6 (using a Quantum KA 18.2). Also, many of the above mentioned problems are fixed with a beta bios (1002.002). I have yet to flash it but will tonight. One caveat is that the CMOS should be cleared first before flashing or the bios gets wacky.

As far as speed goes, this board is fast – very fast. Don’t complain to me about speed if you are using anything other than the VIA 4.17 drivers. Versions 4.19 and 4.20 will kill performance by as much as 30%. The 4.17 drivers are the ones included by ASUS on the CD. If you search really hard on the net you can confirm that the VIA 133A is within around 3% of the speed of a BX board. OCWorkbench, AnandTech, BXBoards, Firingsquad are just a few sites with some info on the performance of the VIA133A. As you will see, 3% is fairly accurate. Checking AnandTech’s latest article on the KX133 (part2), you will see that the VIA 133A beats the BX and Irongate on a few bench marks and loses to them on a few others.

With a CUmine at 733 MHz I get 168fps @1024×768 in Quake 2 (everything on) and get 63fps @1024×768 in Quake3 (ditto). This was done with a GeForce DDR. As you can see, this is all in line with the fill-rate limit of the card (for Q3A) and gets up there with the rest of the CPUs for Q2. Sorry, but I still have more testing to do… Just not enough time in the day. 🙂

So, what is the P3V4X good for? Well don’t bother if you have a Celeron or even a Katmai P3. This board is great for CUmines and little else. I would take this board over a BX board for the simple fact that it will get more out of your CPU than a BX board will (on average). There is less worry about AGP, PCI, and ISA peripheral overclocking, and RAM is also less of a worry. Basically, you are free (unless you have some really picky parts that will die on a BX anyway) to find the limits of your CPU.

So, am I endorsing the board? Sure, it is a great board with great features. Also keep in mind that as EVERY board out there, it has some issues. Read up and know what to expect and you won’t have many problems. My installation went very smooth and performance is faster than my BP6 with C550, which is to be expected of course but some people actually think it is slower. Anyway, your problems with performance and compatibility are mainly based on how and what you install. As with all new boards it has some quirks so just watch your ass.

Great board, and very fast. Great for people who know what they are doing. If you are not all that good with this stuff, then perhaps wait a while for a few more BIOS revisions. But if that is the case, why the heck are you overclocking?!?!


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