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Intel - QDI Superb 4FX-6A

Most of the Pentium 4 motherboards in this group test are quite expensive costing close to a £100 or more. That’s why we where surprised when we saw the price of the Superb 4FX-6A as it comes in at less than half the price of some of the boards on test at under £62.

So what do you get for your money? Well, the Superb 4FX-6A is not the most feature rich board on test, but if you’re after an affordable motherboard for something like a Celeron this could be a good choice. The chipset of choice here is the SiS 648FX which supports the three current bus speeds for Pentium 4 processors. The main difference between this board and the others on test is that the SiS 648FX only supports single channel memory. This shows in the Sisoft Sandra memory tests and the Superb 4FX-6A does suffer a bit in Sysmark 2002 compared to the competition.

There are none of the features that we have seen on the more expensive boards present on the Superb 4FX-6A. You do get 5.1-channel sound as QDI has fitted a Realtek ALC650 audio codec. QDI has also supplied a coaxial S/PDIF on a bracket. There are four USB 2.0 ports on the board and an additional two on a rear bracket. A word of warning if you intend to use the Superb 4FX-6A with a large tower case with the floppy drive at the top; QDI has fitted the floppy connector at the bottom of the board below the PCI slots, so the cable would have to be very long indeed.

The manual is very similar to that of the P4I865GA-6AF in terms of quality and content which is a good thing. The only software supplied is a copy of Norton Antivirus 2003 which is a useful addition but not the greatest bundle around.
Oddly enough the Superb 4FX-6A doesn’t feature any of the QDI “easy” features seen in the P4I865GA-6AF.

Where the Superb 4FX-6A managed to shine was in PC Mark 2002’s hard drive test where it outdid every other board. Sadly it didn’t do as well in the rest of the benchmarks. Bearing in mind the low cost of the Superb 4FX-6A one has to consider what features are worth paying extra for or if the bare basics are good enough. For a low cost Pentium 4 or Celeron machine the Superb 4FX-6A should suffice, but it’s a not for you if you’re after a performance motherboard.

Verdict

However cheap the Superb 4FX-6A might be it lacks anything in the way of features. For a basic cheap PC it still offers a reasonable platform, but don’t expect anything out of the ordinary from it.

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