Lucky Star PIV Motherboard - P4A845D

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A decent, if unspectacular, motherboard. – Joe

SUMMARY: AN OK PIV-DDR board for Mom.

Lucky Star was nice enough to send a sample of their PIV-DDR 845D board, model # P4A845D, rev 1.0.
(For a spec overview, go HERE.) This board has two DDR RAM slots (up to 2 GHz) and on-board audio (AC 97) – sufficient for the basics but not much beyond that. It is optionally available with RAID.

As to tweaks, this board is pretty limited:

  • There are no CPU of RAM voltage adjustments;
  • The FSBs top out at 130 MHz;
  • PCIs are not adjustable;
  • RAM can run asychronously (200 or 266).

I did find a nice power complex – capacitors are 6 @ 3300uf, 2 @ 1500 (both 6.3v) and 2 2200uf @ 16 v capacitors. Note there are also 6 power regulator chips – double what I’ve seen on some other PIV boards. Running Prime 95, the power regulators do not get overly warm to the touch.

Power

There are no surprises with this board – it’s pretty much vanilla. This is not a tweakers board by any means (nor was it intended to be such). So with that in mind, I ran some benchmarks to see what’s possible.

I ran it first with an engineering PIV 1700 to see how far it can be pushed – I found it stable at 130 MHz FSB while testing for a PIV-XP comparison:

XP and PIV @ 1400 MHz

Benchmark

XP 10.5×133

PIV 13×130

% Diff

SiSandra CPU

3930/1929

3179/2043

24/-6%

SiSandra MM

7797/8972

6714/8250

16/9%

SiSandra Memory

802/859

1096/1237

-27/-31%

Quake

184.9/182.9

218.0/211.9

-15/-14%

3D Mark 2001

4751

4274

11%

Lucky Star P4A845D, 13 x 130 FSB, vs Shuttle AK31, 10.5 x 133 FSB.

Next I tested it with a retail PIV 1500, SL5UF, D0 stepping. DDR settings were by SPD (2633) – attempting to set more aggressive timings resulted in a no-boot condition. The RAM used was 256 MB of Kingmax DDR266, CAS2. I ran until I found the most stable FSB, altering only FSBs:

Lucky Star P4A845D – PIV @ 15 x 100 vs 15 x 117

Benchmark

PIV 15×100

PIV 15×117

% Diff

SiSandra CPU

2794/1795

3283/2113

17/18%

SiSandra MM

5896/7292

6916/8567

17/17%

SiSandra Memory

1020/1187

1189/1270

17/7%

Quake

163.6/158.9

221.9/216.2

36/36%

3D Mark 2001

3819

4293

12%

I think a little CPU voltage bump would have helped a lot – I could boot at 130 MHz, but it froze after about a minute. I worked down until I hit a stable 117 MHz. I could boot into W98 at higher FSBs, but Quake or 3DMark 2001 would freeze.

CONCLUSIONS

I’ve not had any experience with Lucky Star’s products, but I am using the board for PIV heatsink testing. It chunks along, runs Prime 95 for hours on end and does not complain. Once setup, it works – no mystery re-boots or no-boots. It’s what you might call a “journeyman” motherboard. Depending on pricing, it can be the core of a decent, if unspectacular, system.

One concern I might have is tech support – the site is not too polished. However, considering that getting support out of almost all of the “giants” is laughable, as long as the board works OK out of the box, it should be OK.

PS: Skip added this: “I toasted my 1.7G PIV because the heatsink mount popped off the motherboard, along with the heatsink. I always thought those plastic push-pins were asking for trouble. Just watch, it seems changing heatsinks weakens the push pins.” The Lucky Star bolts the mount onto the motherboard – no push pins.

Thanks again to Lucky Star for sending this our way!

Email Joe

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