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Product: D810E2CA3 Motherboard & Celeron 900MHz
Company: Intel
Estimated Street Price: $81 for the CPU & $80 for the Mobo
Review By: Julien Jay


Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: Graphics & Audio Features
3: D810E2CA3 Motherboard
4: Intel Celeron 900MHz
5: Benchmarks
4: Conclusion

   During the past few years many things have been done to reduce the computers’ total cost of ownership in realizing Bill Gates’ dream: at least one computer in every household. A major slowdown to this dream has always been the prohibitive prices of most PCs. Aware of this statement, the computer industry made several efforts to render computers more affordable. The most important initiative to remedy this problem was the introduction of mainstream processors intended to decrease the average price of a computer. Intel was the first to introduce a low cost processor in 1998, named ‘Celeron’. First Celeron models weren’t very powerful. Indeed and despite the fact they operated at only 266 & 300MHz with an enormous handicap (no level 2 cache memory), they were instantly a big commercial success for Intel and this for, at least, two reasons: first they were extremely affordable (compared to the Pentium II/III & other competing processors) and secondly they were easily overclockable! Indeed most users were able to overclock their Celeron 300A to 450MHz without any problems.

   Even if low cost CPUs are a reality since 1998, one thing was missing: an affordable, all-in-one, motherboard designed to meet the needs of typical home and small office users. Users that have low performance demands are supposed to combine the Intel Celeron 900MHz processor with a motherboard based on an Intel chipset like the i810E2. The Intel i810E2 integrates several features into one single chip: 3D graphics card, network Ethernet interface, sound card, etc. If it’s obvious that the built-in features of this chipset aren’t designed to compete in terms of performance with traditional video or sound cards, a motherboard build on this circuit doesn’t require any supplementary parts so integrators can offer customers with extremely affordable entry level computers without sacrificing multimedia features. Intel has provided us with a set of motherboards build on the i810E2 chipset we’ll review here.

ChipSet OverView

   A chipset is the heart of the computer, more exactly the heart of a motherboard: basically it manages flows of data between the CPU, the PCI buses, the hard disk, etc. Generally chipsets are composed of two chips: the Northbridge & the Southbridge. The Northbridge (here the GCMH 82810E) handles all the communication between the processor and various system components, while the Southbridge (82801BA) takes in charge several features like networking, sound, etc. Having a good chipset is primordial to ensure reliable operations and avoid any hangs, data lost, etc. When VIA fails to provide bug free and reliable chipsets, Intel chipsets have always been rock-solid. Even if the i810E2 is a low cost product, it pursues Intel’s ultimate tradition for quality providing users with a high level of reliability.

The perfect Companion for Intel Celeron Processors: Intel i82810 Chipset

   The Intel i810E2 chipset comes with built-in audio, network and graphics functions. This is partly due to the inclusion in the i810E2 chipset of the I/O Controller Hub 2 supporting the following: 2 Ultra-ATA100 IDE Controllers, 2 USB 1.1 controllers, an Ethernet 10/100MBs interface, 6 channels audio circuit and a CNR slot. The ICH2 component features a bandwidth of 266MB/sec between the different integrated features (sound, usb, lan, UDMA100, optional PCI cards): it’s twice the PCI bandwidth. Actually the i810E2 chipset supports Intel Celeron, Pentium III and Pentium III Coppermine processors (with a 133MHz FSB). However when you use a Coppermine Pentium III CPU along with an i810E2 chipset, the memory will operate asynchronously: while the Coppermine’s front side bus runs at 133 MHz, the memory working frequency won’t exceed 100MHz for a total memory 64 bits bus bandwidth of 800MB/s. This clear drawback is due to the Intel’s Hub architecture. Like with the Solano chipset, there are 2 built-in USB controllers ensuring a respectable global bandwidth of 24 MBps (12MBps + 12MBps) with USB 1.1 devices. This means you can connect more high demanding USB devices at the same time without worrying about the bandwidth consumption. That’s pretty cool to use a web cam in combination with a TV tuner. The Ultra-ATA controller lets you chain up to 4 drives and supports the Ultra-ATA100 mode.

Intel i810e2 Chipset Diagram

   Integrated Intel chipsets are, as stated before, very interesting in terms of pricing: for a low cost they provide all the features today PCs request like sound, 3D graphics, etc. But they can also help reducing the TCO by simplifying maintenance operations and avoiding compatibility headaches. Indeed as the video & audio circuits are included in the chipset, users are sure to not get in troubles because the graphic card they chose isn’t compliant with some parts of their system, etc. Drivers Updates are also easier since a single file can update audio & graphic drivers at the same time.


  Graphics & Audio Features »


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