Really. I'm serious.
In a world where motherboards are increasingly differentiated more by their bundles than by their features and performance, Chaintech's focus on extras seems like a cunning strategy. Still, there's more to this board than the box of goodies it comes neatly packed ina lot more. Thus far, the success of Chaintech's Zenith line has far exceeded the company's own expectations. We just had to see what all the fuss was about.
Today we're looking at Chaintech's Zenith 9EJS1, a Socket 478 motherboard that includes Intel's 845PE chipset with all the trimmings. Does the board have what it takes to take on its more well-established competition? Read on to find out.
Before taking a closer look at the board, let's take a quick peek at the Zenith 9EJS1's spec sheet.
|CPU support||Socket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors|
|North bridge||Intel 82845PE|
|South bridge||Intel 82801DB|
|Interconnect||Intel Hub Architecture (266MB/s)|
|PCI slots||6 32-bit/33MHz|
|AGP slots||1, 2X/4X AGP (1.5V only)|
|Memory||2 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 3GB of DDR333/266/200 SDRAM
|Storage I/O||Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
|RAID||2 channels ATA/133 RAID 0, 1 via Promise PDC20276 controller|
|Legacy ports||1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports|
2 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
4 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via 5.25" bay expansion header
|Firewire||1 IEEE 1394 Firewire port via 5.25" bay expansion header
2 additional IEEE 1394 Firewire port via PCI expansion header
|Audio||6-channel audio via CMedia 8738
analog front output and mic and line in inputs
rear and center channel outputs via PCI expansion header
digital S/PDIF input/outputs via PCI expansion header
|Ethernet||RTL8100B 10/10 Fast Ethernet|
|Bus speeds||100/133-200MHz in 1MHz increments|
|Voltages||CPU: 1.525-1.85V in 0.025V increments
DRAM: 2.6-3.1V in 0.1V increments
AGP: 1.6-2.1V in 0.1V increments
|Monitoring||Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring|
As you can see, the Zenith 9EJS1 packs quite a punch in the peripheral department. Only Serial ATA support is missing from its list of common high-end mobo features. Chaintech hasn't skimped in other areas, either. There's far more to the Zenith 9EJS1 than its spec sheet implies, so let's dive in and dissect the board in greater detail.