Before this motherboard landed with a resolute thud in our labs, we had never heard of J&W, let alone knew it was a manufacturer of motherboards. However, with the promise of CrossFire support at a bargain price, we saw it our duty to see if it was worth considering. And the long and short of it is that for a non-big name motherboard this is a surprising addition worth consideration.
Pure and simple
J&W hasn't gone overboard with whacky features, instead serving up the core abilities of the P35 chipset with a few frills to make it a viable option for those looking to build a Core 2 Duo system on a budget. You do get a pair of a Gigabit Ethernet ports to play with, 8-channel sound courtesy of Realtek and a debug LED for diagnosing system problems, but that's pretty much it. There's not even much in the way of cabling present mind - a single SATA and IDE cable.
Getting obscure motherboards working is not one of our favoured past times, especially when we're messing about with new Penryn processors, but this motherboard certainly did impress on this front, booting without a problem. We did find memory performance less than stunning mind, and tweaking this in the BIOS wasn't easy - not least of which because we were tight up against the 800MHz limit.
Caught in the Crossfire
There are plenty of options available, and subtle overclocking is possible, although passive chipset cooling will ultimately limit things here. One plus in this motherboard's favour is the support for two-card CrossFire - especially for the more budget conscious gamer with a pair of 3850s in mind.
There are plenty of good motherboards out there to choose from, but the price and features of J&W's budget P35 board make this a very tempting prospect for anyone after a low cost 45nm setup.