Albatron PX865PE Pro II i865PE Springdale Motherboard
With the release
of mainstream i865 chipsets today there will be soon an
influx of new Pentium 4 motherboards on the market from which to choose. Albatron
have never been one to sit ideally by and pass on a
technology advancement; so grab a coffee and get ready to follow long as
we test drive the all new Albatron PX865PE Pro II
The PX865PE Pro II is of course based
on Intel's freshly launched i865PE Springdale chipset, which coincidentally enough, actually launched in
spring. Boasting support for 400MHz, 533MHz and 800MHz FSB based Pentium
4's (Northwood or Prescott core) processors, the Springdale chipset forms the basis
of Intel's 'mainstream' dual channel DDR chipset strategy. The only downside to Springdale is that the i865 no
longer carries on support for older 'Williamette' based Pentium 4 processors, or
even socket 478 Celeron CPUs for that matter.
After testing the AOpen i865 AX4SPE MAX
motherboard we were generally impressed with what it brought to the table.
Stock performance was good, and the board was loaded to the gills
with features. We expect the Albatron PX865PE Pro II will have a lot
of "goodies" as well, and hopefully offer a little more in terms of
In terms of the extra's, Albatron pack in Serial
ATA/Serial ATA RAID (ICH5R, RAID-0 only) and an additional Ultra/133 Promise IDE RAID
controller (PDC20276), an Intel 547EI CSA Gigabit NIC, two IEEE 1394 ports, dual
BIOS's and even a 7.1 audio
soundcard (software codec)!
In addition to the integrated
peripherals, the PX865PE Pro II also includes five PCI slots for your
future expansion needs. The four DDR DIMM slots will hold up to 4GB of
PC1600/2100/2700/3200 DDR RAM. Springdale is a dual channel DDR board, so the DIMM
slots have been colour coded to help users install the memory properly.
Each pair of identical memory modules is installed in one set of the
colour sockets (say purple),
It's basic marketing 101 that adding flash to a
product will attract potential customers, and to that effect the PX865PE Pro II does this
in couple ways. The most visible aspect is the copper northbridge heatsink which
cools the i865 chip. Behind the translucent spinning fan are a set of colourful
blinking LEDs that turn on and off in a pattern and should look pretty cool
behind a clear case panel.
|Albatron PX865PE Pro II |
Ships with the following:
- 3x IDE ATA66/100 Cable
- FDD Cable
- Serial ATA Cable
- Serial ATA HDD Power Cable
- Driver CD
- InterVideo WinCinema Pro CD
- Promise RAID Driver CD
- Promise RAID Users Manual
- User Manual
- DIY Installation Guide
- I/O Back Plate
Optical Audio Bracket
Four Port USB 2.0 Bracket
IEEE 1394 Bracket
Game/Serial Port Bracket|
The layout of the PX865PE Pro II motherboard is nice;
the main 20-pin ATX power and IDE channels are at the best possible location to
the right of the DIMM slots where there is little chance of them getting in
the way. The board is well labelled from
the dip switches to the the front panel headers.
more manufacturers would include a DIY installation guide that's as thorough as
the one that comes with the PX865PE Pro II. It makes the motherboard installation
very simple and it's certainly much easier to work with when bent
over an open case than a manual. For the newbie overclockers out there,
Albatron include a small section explaining overclocking that's quite detailed, yet easy
enough for even a novice users to understand.
Because Pentium 4 processors rely on the 12V
line for their power, Albatron places the ATX12V line near the MOSFETs so
the processor can get the cleanest signal.
The new 196 PBGA Intel 82547EI 10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit LAN chip is one of the first
CSA based Ethernet adapters on the market. The small BGA
chipset does not require any form of cooling as it works fine with zero
82547EI has a direct 16 bit DDR bus that runs at 133 MHz and has a maximum bandwidth of 266MB/s, just enough
to keep a fully moving Gigabit NIC happy (Maximum bandwidth for a Gigabit NIC running full
duplex is 2Gb/s or 250 MB/s). This also free's up the PCI bus
for the other system devices. This system potentially allows for better system performance when all the devices
in the system-bus are under load. More on CSA in a moment.
Next let's have a look at the new ICH5R southbridge.