The Active Network
ActiveWin: Reviews Active Network | New Reviews | Old Reviews | Interviews |Mailing List | Forums


Product: Pentium 4 2.53GHz & Intel D850EMV2 Motherboard
Company: Intel
Estimated Street Price:
Review By: Julien Jay

Intel D850EMV2 Motherboard

Table Of Contents
1: Introduction
2: CPU Architecture
3: SSE2 Instructions & P4 2.53GHz CPU Design
4: Intel i82850e Chipset
5: Intel D850EMV2 Motherboard
6: Intel D850EMV2 Advanced Features
7: Synthetic Benchmarks
8: Games Benchmarks
9: Applications Benchmarks
10: Benchmarks analysis

Intel has launched a new version of its leading MaryVille motherboard to support the Pentium 4 with a 533MHz FSB. This Pentium 4 motherboard is highly integrated and features the regular ATX form factor. At the heart of the D850EMV2 beats the new i850e chipset. The motherboard comes with 5 PCI 2.2 connectors, 1 AGP 4x connector and 1 CNR slot. The Pentium 4 architecture is a bit complex and as it offers a high bandwidth, compatible motherboards should now have six layers of printed circuits, instead of the four usual ones that standard main boards use, thus causing the prices to be slightly higher.  

Installing the D850EMV2 in an existing PC box is relatively easy since with the new fixing mechanism there’s no need anymore to screw the retention part of the CPU heatsink to the PC bed. The D850EMV2 motherboard requires, as every Pentium 4 motherboard, an ATX 2.03 (ATX 12 Volts) 300 watt (300 watt is a minimum due to the power consumption of the CPU, the motherboard, etc.) compatible power supply. If your PC meets these requirements you can start installing the motherboard right away. Unlike Asus, Intel motherboards require the presence of an ATX 12volts power unit, otherwise you might experience lookups due to insufficient processor power. Inserting the Pentium 4 into the Socket 478 is a breeze and once you’re done you’ll have to apply a thermal paste to stick the heatsink over it, so the CPU heat will be dissipated and transmitted to the huge metallic heatsink itself covered by a wide and powerful fan. Due to the heat the Pentium 4 and the motherboard produce your PC will have to be correctly cooled by numerous fans to ensure the reliability of the whole system: as you know the more a PC heats more you have chance to encounter strange fatal errors due to overheating.  

The motherboard features 4 RIMM slots to install your RDRAM easily (note that if you use only two RDRAM barrettes continuity RIMM modules are provided with the motherboard). The good thing is that with four RIMM slots you have sufficient memory upgrade possibilities. Since this is an Intel motherboard there’s unfortunately no possibility to overclock existing PC800 RDRAM to 1066MHz. The AGP slot of the motherboard features an embedded retention mechanism to avoid any possible bad contacts due to the excessive weight of some AGP cards. The AGP voltage used by the i850e chipset isn’t compatible with some 3D graphic cards like the old Voodoo 5500 since they only support 1.7 volts mode and not 1.5 volts.

Intel D850EMV2 Motherboard (click to enlarge)

The Intel D850EMV2 comes with a total of four external USB ports: two are located near the PS/2 plugs for the mouse & the keyboard while the others are deported on a connector you have to place in a free slot of your PC. The Intel D850EMV2 comes with a Nec USB 2.0 chip providing native support for USB 2.0 high speed devices. The support of USB 1.1 devices is ensured by the i850e ICH 2 component, while USB 2.0 devices are directly managed by the Nec chip. Curiously the build-in USB 2.0 support creates some problems with Windows XP: after the Windows XP splash screen has been displayed and before the desktop appears the system reinitializes both the USB 1.1 & USB 2.0 chains thus slowing down the start of Windows XP. This behaviour may be caused by the fact the EHCI driver has to be initialized after the OHCI and might re-initialize all USB devices to check which one supports USB 2.0. We have also experienced another annoying issue with the USB features of this motherboard: when waking up from standby or hibernation the USB chain isn't reinitialized thus all your USB devices are useless.

The D850EMV2 motherboard comes with two serial ports which is great since many users still use various serial devices. The usual parallel port is also included and supports EPP mode for fast bi-directional communications.  Depending of the flavour of the Intel D850EMV2 motherboard, yours may have built-in audio support. Three audio jack connectors are available on the motherboard to connect your speakers, microphone or other audio devices. 

The firmware of the motherboard is stored on the Intel 82802AB 4 MB Firmware Hub component ensuring it can be updated. One really good thing is that the BIOS is Multilanguage enabled so it can speak English as well as German! The discreet mode of the BIOS displays a nice ‘Pentium 4’ screen each time you power up the system hiding obscure POST messages that usually frighten novice users. Updating the BIOS is a child game since Intel provides an Express Bios Update that runs directly under Windows. Just like every actual Intel motherboard, the D850EMV2 features a new unique technology named Intel Rapid Bios. This feature will surely interest every user: in order to reduce long booting time, user frustration and to increase the efficiency of today's computers the latest generation of Intel Bios now improves boot time without sacrificing features, quality, or reliability. The BIOS Power On Self Test (POST) was streamlined by parallelizing tasks, eliminating redundant code, reduction of legacy features, and selective hardware usage and configuration. To reduce the boot time you can even choose to disable hard disks tests so your PC will be ready to work faster than before. Underneath is an Intel chart showing the benefits of this new technology. This technology exceeds the PC 2001 Design Specification Guide and is compliant with Microsoft Windows Me (Millennium Edition) as well as Microsoft Windows XP. 

Like with every motherboard release, you’ll have to install the latest Intel INF chipset drivers update so Windows can perfectly manage the motherboard you’ve just installed: it works great under Windows Me as well as Windows 2000 and Windows XP. Intel also provides the Intel Application Accelerator package that consists of advanced UDMA ATA drivers delivering faster hard disk data transfers (increased by 15% in comparison when using Windows ones) thanks to the optimised support of the Pentium 4 data preftech.

Intel Application Accelerator 2.2 (click to enlarge)

« Intel i82850e Chipset Intel D850EMV2 Advanced Features »


  *   *