iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






ASUS P4B533-E (i845E) Mainboard

This is one of the most interesting products on the i845E chipset: almost all features one or another model can boast of are gathered here.


  • Package of a standard design; 
  • Documentation: user manual in English, brief installation manual in 11 languages; 
  • Cables: 2 ATA66/100/133, 1 ATA33 and FDD; 
  • Bracket with 2 IEEE1394 ports; 
  • Bracket with 2 SPDIF-In/Out connectors (Coaxial); 
  • Bracket with 2 USB and a Game ports; 
  • Bracket for the rear computer panel; 
  • CD containing: 
    • drivers; 
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader; 
    • 3Deep; 
    • CyberLink VideoLive Mail; 
    • CyberLink PowerPlayer SE; 
    • ASUS Live Update; 
    • ASUS HotKey; 
    • ASUS Logo; 
    • ASUS PCProbe; 
    • ASUS Screensaver; 
    • Winbond Voice Editor; 
    • DirectX 8.1. 

The layout has several typical flaws: IDE RAID connectors and audio-ins are not in very good positions, and when a video card is installed it's difficult to handle the IDE modules. It can be difficult as well to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are shown on the textolite.

The 3-channel switching voltage regulator incorporates 6 capacitors of 3300 uF and 4 of 1200 uF. 

The following controllers are integrated: 

  • audio controller based on the C-Media CMI8738/PCI-6ch-MX chip supporting 5.1 audio systems and having connectors for front audio inputs/outputs and for SPDIF; 
  • network controller based on the chipset's capabilities and supporting 10BaseT/100BaseTX; 
  • IDE RAID controller based on the Promise PDC20276 chip supporting RAID 0 and 1 on the ATA133 protocol 
  • IEEE1394 bus controller based on the NEC D72874GC chip; 3 ports are supported. 
Thanks to the ITE IT8708F-A Smart I/O controller the board supports (and have connectors) readers for smart cards and SD and MS flash cards. 

The board incorporates ASUS Multi-Language BIOS, ASUS POST Reporter (reports about problems during booting), ASUS MyLogo2 (for displaying your images when the system boots), ASUS EZ Plug (allows using a power unit which doesn't comply with the ATX 2.03 standard), ASUS Q-Fan (auto fan speed control) and ASUS EZ Flash. 

+5 V supplied in the StandBy mode is shown by the green LED, and when a 3.3V card is inserted into the AGP slot you will see the red LED which means that the card is incompatible (it's impossible to turn on the computer even with the Power button). 

Non-unsoldered connectors: none.

The system monitoring is supported by the ASUS ASB100-A Bach chip. What is controlled: 

  • processor voltage, +3.3, +5 and +12 V; 
  • speed of 3 fans; 
  • temperatures of the processor (a built-in sensor), the board (a built-in sensor) and an external sensor connected to the board.
There are 3 connectors for adjustable connection of fans. 

Brief characteristics of the board: memory slots - 3 DDR SDRAM; expansion slots - AGP/ 6 PCI /CNR; I/O ports - 2 COM/ LPT/ 2 PS/2/ 6 USB 2.0 / 2 IEEE1394 (the controller supports up to 3 ports); dimensions - 305x245 mm. 

Adjustment can be carried out with:

jumpers and switches Jumper to clear up the CMOS  
Jumpers to choose a FSB frequency 100, 105, 109, 133, 135, 141, 145, 166 and 200 MHz
Switches for setting processor's multiplier x8-x24
Jumper for starting up computer from PS/2 keyboard  
Jumpers for starting up computer from USB keyboard  
Jumper for making Vcore voltage range wider Disable/Enable
Jumper for choosing an ASUS POST Reporter output Buzzer/Line-Out
Jumper to enable/disable SMBus 2.0  
Jumper for choosing a mode of the Bass/Center channel Bass/Center / Center/Bass
Jumper for enabling/disabling IDE RAID  
Jumper for enabling/disabling IEEE1394 bus  
BIOS based on the 6.00 version from Award Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, Active To Precharge Delay, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge
Setup of memory frequency + at FSB 100 MHz:
CPU/Memory = Auto, 1:1, 3:4
at FSB 133 MHz:
CPU/Memory = Auto, 1:1, 4:3
Setup of AGP bus +  
Setup of PCI bus +  
Changeable scaler of AGP and PCI buses + AGP (PCIx2) - from 66.66 to 104.46 in 0.4 - 0.8 MHz steps
Manual assignment of interrupts +  
Changeable FSB frequency + 100-200 MHz in 1MHz steps
Changeable CPU multiplier + x8-x24
Changeable core voltage + 1.5-1.9 V in 0.025V steps
Changeable memory voltage + 2.5, 2.6, 2.7, 2.9 V
Changeable chipset voltage -  
Changeable AGP bus voltage + 1.5, 1.6, 1.7 V

We used the latest available version of the BIOS - BIOS 1008 beta 002. 

The board is traditionally good; there are no drawbacks except a quite high price. But believe me, the board's worth it. 

Test results: 

Dmitry Mayorov (destrax@ixbt.com

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