Intel has been steadily upgrading their Pentium 4 845-based chipset line-up, with the latest revision encompassing the i845PE, i845GE and i845GV models. The mainstream section includes some notable upgrades, including DDR333, USB 2.0 and some integrated ICH4 chipset features like 10/100 LAN and audio. Of course, each of the i845 chipsets serves a different market need, from high-end performance systems to inexpensive, entry-level PCs, and has the hardware, features and price to match. As with their older i845 chipsets, these newer models have been extremely popular in the market, and have received incredible support from virtually all motherboard manufacturers.
AOpen is one such company, and their line of i845-based motherboards covers a wide cross-section of available products and configurations. In this review we'll be taking a look at the AOpen AX4PE Max (i845PE), AOpen AX4GE Max (i845GE), and MX4GVR (i845GV) motherboards, all of which supply the required ingredients for each segment. Before getting into the actual motherboards, let's take a quick overview of the various i845 chipsets.
The i845PE is the flagship of the line, with enough features and performance to satisfy even the high-end buyer. The main upgrade is the support for DDR333, while offering integrated USB 2.0, 10/100 LAN and 6-channel audio.
The i845GE is essentially the i845PE with integrated Intel Extreme Graphics (including DVI). It also supports DDR333 memory speeds, allows for a dedicated AGP 4X slot, and includes integrated USB 2.0, 10/100 LAN and 6-channel audio.
The i845GV design is quite a bit different, and is targeted at the entry-level buyer. It incorporates integrated Intel Extreme Graphics, but does not allow for a dedicated AGP 4X slot and only supports up to DDR266 speeds. The other integrated features such as LAN, USB 2.0 and 6-channel audio are included.
As with all of the newer i845-based chipsets, the i845PE, i845GE and i845GV support 400/533 MHz Pentium 4 processors and Hyper-Threading technology.