Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review :: The Board

06-08-2005 · Category: Motherboards

By Benjamin Sun
Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Spec Sheet
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Part NumberVNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE
ManufacturerChaintech
Price CheckFind Best Price
DownloadsBIOS
Drivers
Manuals
ChipsetNvidia nForce4 Ultra
North BridgeNvidia nForce4 Ultra MCP
SocketSocket 939
Processor TypesAthlon 64, Athlon 64 FX
Number of CPUs1
Front Side Bus1GHz HyperTransport Bus Link
Memory TypeDDR
Memory ChannelsSingle
Maximum Memory4GB
External GraphicsPCI Express x16
IGP
South BridgeNvidia nForce4 Ultra MCP
Audio8-channel
IDE133/100/66/33
SCSINone
SATA1.5 GB/s
RAID0, 1
LAN10/100/1000
FirewireNone
USBUSB 2.0
Expansion Slots
BIOSAWARD
Form FactorATX
Motherboard Photo

The Chaintech VNF4 Ultra Zenith series VE (Value Edition) is based on NVIDIA's nForce4 Ultra chipset. As such, it supports every AMD Athlon 64 Socket 939 CPU. NVIDIA announced last week the nForce4 platform supports AMD's new Dual Core Athlon X2 CPUs. That's one big advantage with AMD's platform. Intel's new dual-core CPUs require a new motherboard chipset, the 955X or 945G. Older chipsets like the 925XE don't support the dual core CPUs.


Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review CPU Socket

CPU Socket


Memory support on the board is found through 4 DIMM (Dual Inline Memory Modules). The maximum memory the board supports is 4GB of unbuffered non-ECC DDR 200/266/300/400 memory. One thing I really like about Chaintech's layout is the memory slots are nowhere near the video card slot. Many motherboards stack the memory right below the PCI Express X16 slot, blocking a memory slot when a video card is in the computer.


Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review Memory Shot

Memory Shot


The Expansion options available on the VNF4 Ultra boards are as varied as any other board on the market. There is a PCI Express X16 video card slot, accepting the PCI Express video cards available on the market including the S3 GammaChrome, the NVIDIA 6800 series, the XGI Volari series and the ATI RADEON X800 series. I popped in a 6800GT, a X800XT PE, and a S3 GammaChrome into the motherboard without issue. Chaintech included 2 PCI Express X1 slots above the PCI Express X16 slot. This is a good positioning, as placing them below the slot would cause one PCI Express X1 slot to be covered when using a 2-slot video card like the RADEON X850XT PE or 6800 Ultra. Also present are 3 regular PCI slots providing backwards compatibility.


Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review X16 Slot

X16 Slot

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review X1 Slots

X1 Slots

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review PCI Slot

PCI Slot


Storage options on the Chaintech VNF4 Ultra Zenith Series Value Edition are pretty pedestrian, the nForce4 was the first motherboard chipset to natively support the new SATA2 standard for hard drives. SATA2 offers double the bandwidth of SATA (300MB/second versus 150MB/second.) Once SATA2 drives hit the market in force it'll likely be similar to when ATA100 replaced ATA66 in the market. The VNF4 Ultra sports 4 SATA ports. The nForce4 Ultra chipset supports a maximum of 10 SATA ports. Several boards I've seen have at least 6 or even 8 ports. Also present are two PATA ports for IDE hard drives and for optical media.


Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review SATA Ports

SATA Ports

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review IDE Ports

IDE Ports

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review Floppy Port

Floppy Port

Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review Angled Ports

Angled Ports


On-board audio is important to me in a motherboard. Chaintech outfits this board with a Realtek ALC850 7.1 CODEC. This audio CODEC supports EAX2.0, Direct Sound 3D, I3DL2, and A3D applications. The ALC850 is compliant with AC'97 Rev 2.3 and there are six audio jacks present on the board. The Realtek CODEC is popular among motherboard manufacturers. My personal computer has a Realtek sound chip on it and it's sufficient for most every user. Surround sound audio is available and functions adequately for watching movies. The user interface is simple and offers a GUI that is straightforward in its design and implementation. The rest of the back panel consists of a PS/2 mouse and keyboard poert, a 25-pin Parallel port (I would hope motherboard manufacturers would get away from using these, as most every device sold today that use a parallel port (mostly printers) are available in USB form as well), 4 USB ports, and the aforementioned 6-port Audio Jack and S/PDIF output.


Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review Realtek Chip

Realtek Chip



Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review
Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review
Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review
Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review
Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review
Chaintech VNF4 Ultra ZENITH VE Motherboard Review