Soltek is among the first manufacturers to release an enthusiast-oriented motherboard based on VIA's new PT880, and I've managed to snag the SL-PT880Pro-FGR for testing. With Gigabit Ethernet, Serial and "parallel" ATA RAID, Firewire, and six-channel audio, the SL-PT880Pro packs a lot of functionality for a sub-$100 motherboard, but does it have the performance to run with more expensive Intel-based competition?
Before we get into the specifics of the board itself, let's have quick look at the SL-PT880Pro's spec sheet.
|CPU support||Socket 478-based Pentium 4 processors (800, 533, 400MHz FSB)|
|North bridge||VIA PT800|
|South bridge||VIA VT8237|
|Interconnect||Ultra V-Link (1.06GB/sec)|
|PCI slots||5 32-bit/33MHz|
|AGP slots||1 4x/8x (1.5V only)|
|Memory||4 184-pin DIMM sockets|
Maximum of 4GB of DDR266/333/400 SDRAM
|Storage I/O||Floppy disk|
2 channels ATA/133
|Serial ATA||2 Serial ATA channels via VT8237 south bridge|
|RAID||RAID 0, 1 support via VT8237 V-RAID|
RAID 0, 1, 0+1 support via Promise PDC20378
|Legacy ports||1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports|
|USB||4 USB 2.0 ports|
Additional 4 USB ports via on-board expansion header
|Firewire||1 IEEE 1394 Firewire port via VT6307 Firewire controller|
Additional Firewire port via on-board expansion header
|Audio||6-channel audio via VIA VT8237 audio controller and VT1616 codec|
Analog front, rear, and center outputs
Analog line and microphone inputs
|Ethernet||10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via VIA VT6122|
|Bus speeds||CPU: 200-250MHz in 1MHz increments|
DRAM: auto, 100, 133, 166, and 200MHz
|Voltages||CPU: 0.08375-1.8V in 0.025V increments|
AGP: 1.5-1.8 in 0.1V increments
DIMM: 2.5-2.8 in 0.1V increments
|Monitoring||Voltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring|
When it comes to integrated peripherals, the SL-PT880Pro has a little bit of everything. And I mean everything. With Gigabit Ethernet, six-channel audio, Firewire, Serial ATA, and RAID support, the board's loaded with features.
Because I know you're wondering, the SL-PT880Pro is also compatible with Intel's toasty new Prescott processors. However, Soltek will only support Prescott chips up to 3.0GHz; at that speed, Northwood is a better option at the moment. I haven't managed to snag a Pentium 4 "E" for the Benchmarking Sweatshop just yet, so we'll be doing all our testing with a Northwood Pentium 4.