Albatron PX845PEV-800 i845PE Motherboard Review
Albatron recently celebrated their
very first anniversary, and looking back it has been
quite a year for this upstart motherboard and videocard maker. Since January
2002 this Taiwanese company have really taken the hardware community by storm. If someone
asks about a high quality, good overclocking motherboard or videocard, Albatron's name invariably pops
up. For a new company in a highly competitive market
such as mainboards this says a lot. With the guidance of Jack Ko, Albatron's
CEO (and former head of Gigabyte)
the company has achieved quick rapport with major players like Intel, nVidia and AMD.
To top things
off, Albatron have also made attempts to cozy up to consumers by pricing their products
very aggressively; they're not always the least
expensive on the market, but they usually do offer some of the best value around.
commemorate this anniversary, Albatron have created
the "Anniversary Special Edition" PX845PEV-800 i845PE Motherboard. This is more than just another i845PE based motherboard
though; Albatron have made the bold claim that this model will run at up to
200 MHz FSB and support PC3200
DDR memory! And to be totally frank, the
Albatron PX845PEV 800 does have the look and feel
of a pure "overclockers" motherboard. From the beginning Albatron have embraced the overclocking
community, and it's nice to see them continue the tradition on their first
the i845PE chipset, the PX845PEV-800 motherboard supports 400/533/800 MHz
FSB Pentium 4 processors (including Hyper-Threading) and features the three
DIMM slots which can carry up to 2GB of PC1600/2100/2700/3200 DDR memory.
The caveats to those two preceeding statements are of course that the i845PE
chipset does not offically support 800 MHz FSB processors or PC3200 memory operation.
Albatron have also taken the liberty of including an on board 3Com
910-A01 10/100 NIC so networking should be a breeze, and
have even added an extra PCI soundcard powered by C-Media's CMI8738 4.1 channel chip. If
that's not enough for you, there are five PCI slots, three fan headers,
six USB2.0 jacks as well as a 4x AGP port.
Ships with the following:
- 2x IDE ATA66/100 Cable
- FDD Cable
- Driver CD
- User Manual
- Quick Installation Guide
- Driver CD
- 4.1 PCI soundcard
|4 Port USB 2.0
use a very cool looking black PCB with their PX845PEV-800, and as you can see
the motherboard uses the exact same layout of the original PX845PEV motherboard that we reviewed back in Nov 2002.
They didn't really address the issues we brought up back then but we'll go through them again for
ATX power connector is located in a good position to the right of the DIMM slots
but the P4 auxiliary connector is not in the best location.
Because the i845PE generates a lot of heat at
high bus speeds, I was extremely happy to see Albatron included an actively
cooled copper heatsink.
It doesn't end there either, the Northbridge fan
also includes some multicoloured LED's so when it's in operation it will blink
in a series of patterns. People with windows in the side of their cases will
certainly appreciate that!
While many motherboards these days include the
CPU-power-sucking Realtek 8100B 10/100 LAN chip, Albatron have opted for
the PCI based 3Com NIC. I guess in the "grand scheme" of things this
doesn't make a big difference, but anything that frees up CPU resources, and
money in your wallet is a good.
thing that pleased me was that Albatron included an actual C-Media 8738 4.1 PCI soundcard! With
sound quality similar to the SB Live! and with support for A3D and
EAX, even the most hardcore gamer would be satisfied with its performance. Incidently, the sound card
also comes with a game controller port.
The motherboard is very well labelled and all the headers for USB2.0, IrDA, etc. are
located at the bottom of the motherboard. This way it is less likely that the cables
will not get in the way of any expansion cards.
complained about it last time and I'll complain about it again, the floppy drive
connector is in a bad location. At the bottom of the motherboard users with full tower
cases (like the Inwin Q500) will have a hard time connecting their
floppy drives. Albatron should have placed their IDE port connectors
just a bit lower on the motherboard then it's current position, but now
I'm just getting anal. Let's move on and see how the board