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Chaintech's Zenith 9EJS1 motherboard

Everything but the kitchen sink

Manufacturer Chaintech
Model Zenith 9EJS1
Price (street) US$145
Availability Now

ALTHOUGH ITS motherboards are well known in Asia and Europe, Chaintech's products are considerably rarer in North America. Don't expect that to last. Chaintech is aggressively pursuing the high-end enthusiast market with its Zenith line of motherboards that combine high-performance chipsets with the latest integrated peripherals and a bundle of extras that includes everything but the kitchen sink.

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 in—a 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.

The specs
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
Form factor ATX
Chipset Intel 845PE
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)
AMR/CNR slots One
Memory 2 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 3GB of DDR333/266/200 SDRAM
Storage I/O Floppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
Serial ATA None
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
USB 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
Video none
Ethernet RTL8100B 10/10 Fast Ethernet
BIOS Award
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
: 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.