VIA VPSD P4PB 400 - Page 2

..:: Package ::..

The VIA P4PB 400 comes along with a good package full of goodies for your usage. The package includes several items, those being one ATA-66/100/133 ribbon cable, one floppy cable, an expansion bracket with two USB 2.0 and two IEEE 1394 ports, an expansion bracket with an Optical and RCA output for digital sound, along with two more 1/8Ē mini-plugs, one for rear left and right speakers and the other for the center channel and subwoofer, a quick installation guide in eight languages, the driver CD, and of course the user manual. I would like to see VIA include a second ATA-66/100/133 cable for users who prefer their CD-ROMís and Hard Drives to be located on separate cables, and for users with more than two IDE devices.

The quick installation guide is the same as we saw with the P4PA, a very nice addition to any motherboard package. This guide is basically are for the first time builder who isnít 100% sure on how to go about assembling all of the components for their PC. It is well written and should be useful to all computer building novices. The quick installation guide comes along in eight different languages, such as English, German, French, Italian, etc.

The user manual is very well written and laid out. The majority of the manual is very detailed, however when it comes to the included software, the manual only briefly covers what each does, and nothing more. Iíd like to see a little more information being placed in the manual for users who do not feel comfortable enough to go gung ho and figure it out on their own. The manualís text is large and easily readable, along with large, high quality images to back the textual areas that they cover.

Last up for the package we have the driver / software disc. The disc includes the VIA 4-in-1 chipset drivers, the Enhance AGP 8x driver, the audio driver, LAN driver, USB 2.0 driver, and the ITE Smart Card Reader. The CD also contains VIAís FliteDeck software, which consists of several useful programs and has a logo that reminds me of Star Wars E1, heh. There are four programs included in the FliteDeck software package, FlashPort, SysProbe, Jet Stream, and Mission Control. FlashPort allows you to flash your BIOS within the confines of a Windows based environment. I donít particularly care for flashing the BIOS whilst in Windows, but I found this software to work fine with no issues. SysProbe allows you to take a look at the various information dealing with your PC, from the BIOS to the Cache. Mission Control is one of the most useful programs included in the FliteDeck software suite. Mission Control allows you to monitor the current state of your PC, from temperatures to voltages to hard drive space, Mission Control monitors it all. It can also be configured to sound when a temperature goes above a set level, for example. Last up, we have a program all you overclockers out there will enjoy, JetStream. JetStream allows you to overclock your PC through a Windows environment. Here, you can monitor your CPU temperature, speed, RAM speed, and FSB speed, along with various voltages. This will definitely come in handy for those looking to push that P4 to its limit.

..:: Feature Set ::..

One area we loved with the P4PA was the amount of features it brought with it for the price. The P4PB 400 doesnít drop the ball when it comes to this area, in fact, the P4PB 400 packs even more features onto the PCB than did the P4PA. Exactly what does the P4PB 400 offer? Well, does Onboard 10/100 Ethernet Controller, 6-Channel Audio, IEEE 1394, USB 2.0, a Smart Card Reader, AGP 8x, support for 400MHz / 533MHz FSB Pentium 4ís, ATA/133, and of course support for DDR333 & DDR400 RAM all packed onto a blue PCB sound good to you? The only thing missing would be the option for onboard RAID. Never fear however, as VIA has plans for another version of the P4PB that offers onboard RAID, along with even more features than the P4PB 400. Now that we know exactly what the P4PB 400 offers, letís take a closer look at the specifications for these various features to see what they offer, among other things.