Home » Opinions » Motherboard Roundup » Intel - QDI P4I865GA-6AF

Intel - QDI P4I865GA-6AF

Legend is China’s largest computer components manufacturer and QDI is the brand name for its motherboards. Although QDI has a rather small market share in Europe it is by far the most popular brand in China. Being such a large company, our expectations were high in regards to the review boards, but our expectations were shattered.

The P4I865GA-6AF is an unremarkably bland board with a less than exciting price. We’re not even certain what the target market for this product is since it offers a truly random set of features.

This is the only board on test that features integrated graphics courtesy of the Intel 865G chipset. This features Intel Extreme Graphics 2, which can share system memory to provide an acceptable level of graphics for most non-game players. As long as you have 512MB or more this should be an acceptable compromise, although the overall system performance will be somewhat degraded as the memory is shared. This made us think that the P4I865GA-6AF was targeted toward the office PC market, but oddly enough there is no integrated networking of any kind, which suggests that this is not a motherboard for the office PC.

Even stranger is that QDI has chosen to fit Firewire to the board as this adds cost for a feature that is of less use than integrated networking. There is a single Firewire port around the back and one internal connector, but no bracket is supplied for this so you have to rely on a case with a front mounted port. There are also two S-ATA connectors on the board courtesy of the ICH5 although there is no RAID support. A 5.1-channel Realtek ALC650 audio codec has also been included together with a coaxial S/PDIF on a rear bracket. The only other useful feature is the five diagnostic LEDs that can be quite useful if you experience problems with your PC.

Apart from the S/PDIF bracket, an S-ATA cable as well as an S-ATA power adapter there is little else in the box, not even a USB bracket for the additional four USB 2.0 ports. We find this a bit poor as this board is not cheap enough to justify such a Spartan feature set.

QDI has supplied a well laid out manual that is not too technically complicated, but has the information that is required to install the board. However, some users may find it confusing as it covers several motherboards in the same range with different features, but it’s fairly clear as to what board the different features belong. There are also explanations on how to use QDI’s innovative software features that are all based on the word easy, although some don’t seem to be all that easy to use.
There is as with many of the other boards a Windows based BIOS flash utility as well as a Windows based overclocking utility. The only software supplied is a copy of Norton Antivirus 2003, but at least it is a quality antivirus package.

Where the P4I865GA-6AF shines however is in Sysmark 2002 where it managed to beat every other board on test. This is very impressive, especially as the 865G should be a bit slower due to the integrated graphics core. Nonetheless the P4I865GA-6AF managed to do well in most of the other benchmarks as well.

It’s a shame that this board is not cheaper, as the lack of features makes it impossible to recommend, especially if you consider how much the EPoX 4PDA2+ costs and what you get for your money. If you take advantage of the integrated graphics of the P4I865GA-6AF you could save some money on a graphics card and if you don’t need all the extras found on most of the other motherboards on test, this is still a reasonable choice with excellent performance.

Verdict

However strange it might seem, the QDI P4I865GA-6AF took the top spot in Sysmark 2002, beating the top of the range 875P chipset board from Chaintech. However, the odd combination of features makes us wonder who would buy this board, but if you intend to use the integrated graphics and don’t have a network it’s worth considering.

{table:qdi1}

comments powered by Disqus