VIA P4XB-R Socket 478

Thursday, January 31, 2002


For some time now, VIA, the world's leading chipset manufacturer, has been content to produce support chips for a variety of motherboard manufacturers. They've even supported a wide array of CPUs, such as the Intel Pentium 4, and the AMD Athlon and Duron.

Now though, we've been presented with something new and intriguing: a VIA Pentium 4 motherboard named the P4XB-R, which incorporates, among other things, an integrated RAID controller, and a C-Media CMI8738 audio-chip. Clearly, it's being aimed at the high-end market, but you have to wonder, does it hit the mark? Let's find out...

Characteristics of the VIA P4XB-R mainboard
-Supports Intel® Pentium® 4 processor in the 478 pin package.
VIA P4X266 VT8753 & VT8233
Form factor
ATX 30.5cm X 24.5cm
5 PCI - 0 ISA - 1 CNR - 1 AGP - 6 USB
3X 184-pin DIMM DDR SDRAM slots for up to 3GB of memory
100Mhz to 199Mhz in 1Mhz increment
Vcore adj.
+0.025v to +0.01v in steps of 0.025v
Vio adj./Dram
2.5v, 2.56v, 2.6v, 2.65v
Audio chipset
C-Media CMI8738


The SY-K7V Dragon Plus's sound capabilities are provided by an integrated C-Media CMI8738 audio-chip. The CMI8738 supports 5.1 speaker-configurations, with 4 to 6 lines-out, including a central base-line.

From a sound standpoint, the C-Media¨ CMI8738 has very little to envy of other audio-chips. It supports up to 32 polyphonic voices, EAX effects, and supports both Microsoft DirectSound 3D, and Aureal A3D.

Unfortunately, VIA did not see fit to provide the RCA or optical jacks that would allow for the treatment of digital or SPDIF signals, though the C-Media chip is quite cable of handling these functions.


Overclockers will be pleased to note that the VIA P4XB-R includes just about every Overclocking function they could hope for.

The "Frequency/Voltage control" BIOS menu, for instance, provides options for setting the clock-multiplier to between 8X and 24X, altering the Vcore and memory voltages, and tweaking the FSB frequency.

From within the "Advanced Chipset Features" menu, it is also possible to pick-and-choose for an incredibly large array of very "tweakable" memory settings. .

In essence then, the P4XB-R boasts a truly Jumperless design, with not a single on-board jumper that relates to the CPU, or basic configuration settings.


Next: Technical details