Albatron PX845PEV Pro Pentium 4 Motherboard Review
Albatron have in just a short time, made their mark among
enthusiasts and overclockers for producing high quality computer components. In
this article we will be reviewing the relatively new Albatron PX845PEV
Pro i845PE based motherboard. The Intel i845PE chipset officially brings DDR333
support to the table, and if
you are lucky enough to be able to afford a
new 3.06GHz processor, Hyper-threading support.
In the end, the real question remains; just how
well does the PX845PEV Pro stack up against against the competition?
Showing itself off with a slick blue-coloured PCB that case modders can really appreciate,
the PX845PEV Pro is a rather slim motherboard in size. Don't let that distract
you though, the board has quite a few on board features.
The PX845PEV is built around the i845PE chipset, and comes with
three DDR DIMM slots which support up to 2 GB of PC1600/2100/2700 DDR RAM. Acoustically, Albatron
have opted to equip the board with on board 5.1 channel audio as most
other manufacturers do, but it is based on the AC'97
Ethernet connection makes the need to buy a NIC card a thing of the past, though
the placement right next to the PS/2 ports may be a bit troublesome.
The Ethernet connection is powered by a 3Com 910-A01 10/100
integrated NIC. With a full set of five PCI expansion slots, and AGP slot there
is little room for anything else on this PCB, including IDE RAID or
Ships with the following:
- IDE ATA66/100 Cable
- FDD Cable
- Driver CD
- Quick Installation Guide
- Jumper Sticker
though I knew the motherboard used a smaller sized
PCB than usual, it was still surprising to see that a GeForce4 Ti4600 videocard
is actually longer than the the PX845PEV is wide. By about 1.5cm in fact!
The main ATX power connector is
in a good location to the right of the DIMM slots, however the secondary P4
power connector is located a little too close to the processor itself. All and all, the
rest of the board layout is pretty good, and the small size of
the PCB will make it easy to install in cramped cases.
Albatron use a newer type of AGP sliding lock to secure
those several-hundered-dollar videocards in place. The sliding lock seems to be much better than the older lever type AGP
lock, and it's easier to engage. With the videocard locked in, it won't
accidentally come loose in the socket while the power is on. The fan headers,
of which there are three, are all in good locations and easily
My biggest qualm with the motherboard surrounds
the placement of the floppy drive connector. With it located at the very bottom
of the motherboard, users with full tower cases like the Inwin Q500 will have
big problems getting the drive and motherboard connected.
engineers involved in laying out the components on this board would have done well
to place the FDD connector alongside the IDE connectors. As a consumer
there isn't anything to be done about this, but if you have a
large case you should know the possible limitations.
Albatron took a step in the right direction with
on board networking provided by a 3Com 910-A01 10/100 NIC. Or perhaps that's just my impressions
of what 3Com ought to be bringing to the table.
In the coming months it will be interesting to see how
many manufacturers bring 10/100/1000 Ethernet to motherboards as an on board feature. The only
manufacturer we know of who does this currently is MSI Computer.
Overclocking the PX845PE Pro:
Albatron's earlier PX845E Pro was a good
overclocker, and we were hoping that the PX845PEV Pro follow in its tracks
as well. We began to increase the FSB slowly; starting first with 150 MHz FSB which
proved quite stable. At 160 MHz FSB we had to raise the voltage of the CPU
to 1.6V to stabilize the computer. Add three more megahertz to that and that is where we hit the
wall. No matter what tweaks we pulled the board we tested just didn't want to go
any higher than 163 MHz FSB. Still, 163 MHz FSB is pretty good, though
the MSI 845PE Max2 was able to reach 165 MHz...