Intel manufactured motherboards used to be targeted towards the business market where a reliable solution was more important than performance and features. This may still be true for the majority of its motherboards, but the D865PERL is targeted directly at the consumer market.
The specifications of the D865PERL are similar to several boards on test, but it doesnâ€™t have anything special that sets it apart from the competition. You get native S-ATA RAID support from the ICH5R but apart from this there are no extra storage drive controllers. As this is an Intel board you do of course find an Intel CSA Gigabit Ethernet controller which adds high-performance Gigabit networking to the board. Intel has also fitted Firewire, although you only get a single port at the back of the board. There are two internal headers that can be used with an optional rear bracket, but these are usually not that easy to obtain.
Itâ€™s a shame when a company as large as Intel doesnâ€™t supply additional brackets when every other motherboard manufacturer seems fully capable of this. Especially since this product that is targeted at the consumer market.
Sound is provided by a 5.1-channel Analog Devices AD1985 audio codec which is one of the best audio codecâ€™s currently available. All the ports for 5.1-channel output are fitted to the board as well as optical and coaxial S/PDIF outputs. Worth noting is the oversized heatsink on the chipset, as itâ€™s the biggest we have ever seen.
The box contents is pretty sparse and comprises two S-ATA cables, two IDE cables and a rear bracket for an additional four USB 2.0 ports. Not much in the way of extras for your money.
The manual comes on CD which is extremely poor and makes it completely useless unless you already have a PC that you can use it in.
The supplied software bundle is the only saving grace for the D865PERL, as it comes with a wide range of applications. What you get is Norton Internet Security 2003, NTI CD-Maker, WinDVR Lite, Sonic Focus, RestoreIT Lite and Diskepper Lite. Sadly most of the supplied software packages are limited use â€œliteâ€ versions.
So far, not so good and sadly the Intel didnâ€™t excel in the benchmarks either, although it wasnâ€™t terrible. But considering the asking price we expected more from Intel. Looking across to the MSI 865PE Neo2-FIS2R you realise that you can get a much better board with more features and faster performance for less money. The only reason for buying this board would be the Intel brand name, but weâ€™re not sure if even this makes it worth the high price.
Intel makes excellent components, but if this is the best it can do when it comes to motherboards we have to worry. The Taiwanese board makers offer far better specified products at much more attractive prices.