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A real mother

Can it be possible that a hardcore techie has finally found the right motherboard? It’s love at first start-up with Chaintech’s latest.

I’ve assembled a lot of systems using Chaintech motherboards, but I must say that the 9EJS1 Zenith is by far the best. It provides great performance and stability at an very reasonable price ($159 MSRP).

The Zenith’s upsides are numerous. The CBOX2 front panel fits in any 5 1/4-inch drive bay and provides access to USB ports, a firewire port, headphones, microphone, and the DigiDoc, which gives the user an LCD readout of the current processor temperature and boot-up POST codes. Also, the front-side bus is built for 400 and 533MHz; there are five PCI slots for future expansion; and the integrated USB 2.0 controller supports up to six ports.

Other notable features of the Zenith are its onboard 10/100MB Fast Ethernet (Realtek RTL8100B); two standard IDE connectors and two additional UDMA/133 transfers using a Promise PDC20276 RAID controller; rounded cables, which are a nice switch from ribbon cables; two DIMM slots allowing expansion up to 2GB with PC2700 DDR SDRAM; AGP with up to 4x speed; a 1394 Firewire port; and HyperThreading, a feature in which one processor acts as two virtual processors, increasing the overall performance.

Sound is provided with the onboard Cmedia audio chipset. This provides six-speaker support, 32-voice HRTF-based 3D positional audio, support of Microsoft direct sound 3D, Aureal A3D support for Creative EAXsound effects, and full Duplex operation allowing simultaneous recording and playback.

In another very nice touch, the board comes bundled with THIZ Linux 6.0 and THIZ Office Suite software, as well as with easy-to-use overclocking and system monitoring software.

If I were to point out drawbacks, they would be that the Zenith has only two DIMM slots, and lacks both Gigabit LAN and Serial ATA capability.

The Zenith series is the top of the line for Chaintech, and it’s an ideal product for beginners and experts alike. Pentium 4 and Celeron users who want to soup up their PCs, this is a great place to start.

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