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Iwill P4HT-S i845PE Motherboard Review

Iwill P4HT-S i845PE Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
Abstract: Looking down at the P4HT-S we find an on board 10/100 NIC, on board 5.1 audio (AC'97 codec), IDE RAID, Serial ATA RAID, memory stick and smart card headers.
 80% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Iwill Dec 03 2002   Max Page  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Iwill P4HT-S

On Board Features

The P4HT-S is one of the smaller motherboards out there, in fact it's about as wide as the GeForce4 Ti4600 is long. The main ATX power connector is in a good location at the right for of the DIMM slots. The P4 power connector is near the top of the motherboard which is nice.

The Northbridge is cooled by a small HSF which glows red when the system is turned on which looks very cool. Case modders will certainly like this!

With more high speed USB devices coming out, Iwill has included an internal USB port. At first I didn't like the placement of the port just under the first PCI slot, but I suppose if the USB slot were near the edge of the board it could be easily broken off.

Probably the biggest feature that we liked was that the board had onboard Serial ATA. This is a great future proofing feature and it's something most other motherboards don't have. Being first is always good! There are two Serial ATA headers at the very bottom corner of the PCB.

I'm sure frequent readers will know what has irked me most about this motherboard. With the secondary IDE connectors below the fifth PCI slot it means the thick IDE cables may have to wrap around all the other devices which can possibly create a big hot spot.

Also, users of full tower cases may have problems running cables all the way to the top of the case.

While the AC'97 codec is alright for everyday use, gamers and audiophiles will certainly have to get a hardware based soundcard. It's too bad Iwill is no longer using the C-Media chipset for their motherboards like they did with their older models.

IDE RAID Explained

IDE RAID 0 is not really considered a true RAID since there isn't any data redundancy. RAID 0 takes two drives of the same size/configuration and stripes them, meaning it makes one big drive out of two equal ones. This improves performance by cutting hard drive latency in half. Since the data is divided equally and written on two hard drives it also increases the data bandwidth by two. The reason it's not considered true RAID is because if one drive fails, all data is lost.

IDE RAID 1 on the other hand mirrors two drives of the same size, so in theory if one drive fails, the other will take over as the primary hard drive and the system can continue to operate normally. This is what is supposed to happen with a SCSI hard drive setup and it actually works pretty well there.

The IDE subsystem doesn't allow hard drives to be disconnected while the computer is still powered up and in use like SCSI can unless you have a special HDD tray. Generally, when one IDE drive fails the system usually locks up anyway. The data is safe since it's mirrored on the other drive which is the real benefit.

With IDE RAID 0+1, you need four hard drives of the same configuration/size. What RAID 0+1 does is stripes two sets of two hard drives, one set for a RAID 0 configuration and the other for RAID 1. What this does is offer the best of both worlds, the high performance of RAID 0, with 100% data redundancy of RAID 1. Hence the name RAID 0+1. The only downside would be the need for four identical hard drives.

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Contents of Article: Iwill P4HT-S
 Pg 1.  Iwill P4HT-S i845PE Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — On Board Features
 Pg 3.  Overclocking & the BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Sysmark 2002
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2002, Winbench 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: Sandra 2002, PCmark
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: 3DMark2001, QIII
 Pg 8.  Conclusions

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