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Jetway BI-500

From:TOMSHardware       Date:2009-1-5       [Print]

More Link:http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/intel-p45-core,2110-10.html

Jetway BI-500

In today's comparison, the Jetway BI-500 is the second of only two motherboards to use Intel's performance-mainstream P45 chipset and to support multiple graphics cards. With size, layout, and features ostensibly comparable to the ASRock P45XE, it makes sense to compare them directly, beginning with the BI-500's slightly-lower $90 Web price.

Jetway's layout advantages begin with a floppy connector near the center of the BI-500's front edge, which is exactly where the Ultra ATA connection of the P45XE is located. But the BI-500 doesn't have an Ultra ATA controller—a move we consider only a little gutsy since no self-respecting builder would put an Ultra ATA drive in a new system. Could this be the cause of the $5 price difference? Not exactly.

Hidden behind the fact that the BI-500 uses a CrossFire-compatible chipset and dual-graphics circuit board is another fact: although the P45 has divisible PCIe 2.0 lanes, the BI-500 doesn't support high bandwidth to both its x16 slots. Instead, all 16 of the northbridge's v2.0 lanes are wired directly to the upper slot, and the lower slot is handicapped with four of the ICH10's v1.1 lanes. We've witnessed the dire consequences of using a PCIe x4 slot in CrossFire graphics mode, where simply enabling CrossFire in the graphics driver often {reduced} performance.

Thus, the BI-500 only offers dual-graphics support, but does not properly support CrossFire, and its real rivals are P43 products such as the similarly priced Biostar TP43D2-A7.

Jetway moved its SATA ports a little closer to the bottom edge than Biostar did, freeing the top graphics card slot to easily support extra-long, double-thick graphics card assemblies. And while four of the ports could be blocked if similarly over-sized graphics cards were put in the bottom slot, we can't imagine anyone handicapping a high-priced graphics processor in this manner.

The ATX12V connectors of both Jetway and its rival are advantageously positioned in the upper-rear corner, where these can easily be reached by the cables of top-mounted power supplies, whereas the cables of bottom-mounted power supplies can be more directed from beneath, over the top edge of a motherboard tray. A feature not found on the competing TP43D2-A7 is the blank space beside the BI-500's four-pin connector, which allows eight-pin plugs to easily be used.

The BI-500's front-panel audio header is found in the traditional bottom-rear-corner, a tradition we'd like to see forgotten since the cables of some cases won't easily reach this far.

Only half of the motherboards in today's comparison use electrolytic capacitors, and both the BI-500 and competing TP43D2-A7 are among them. But while low-cost rival Biostar chose a well-known Taiwanese brand, Jetway upgraded to Japanese brand Matsushita.

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