Albatron Mars PX915G Pro Motherboard Review
the new Pentium 4's (LGA775) have been released, you have to ask yourself; "is
it time for me to upgrade my old PC?" Well, let's consider the following points.
1. Intel is trying to push a whole host of new technologies on end users. 2.
From its revolutionary pinless CPU, to high bandwidth PCI Express peripherals,
DDR2 memory and of course the new BTX form factor, there is a
lot of new hardware out there.
exciting new technology is PCI
Express of course, and even AMD will be introducing it soon to its Athlon64 platform.
The AGP architecture is just too slow, and let's not forget the PCI bus
which was originally introduced in 1992 for the first Intel Pentium processor! Heck there are PCI peripherals
out there like Gigabit network cards that can easily saturate a PCI
bus, and its paltry 133MB/s bandwidth.
As far as
the PCI bus goes, total bandwidth limitations are just one problem. Because of
its shared architecture, it is open to issues where just one peripheral sucks up
all the bandwidth, leaving little to none for other system devices. The small
blue PCI Express x1 slots on the Albatron
PX915G Pro on the review bench today
has more bandwidth than the entire PCI bus. That's 500MB/s at full duplex mode folks!
To remedy the shared bandwidth issue, each PCI Express slot has its own direct
pipeline to the ICH6 southbridge. Individual PCI Express devices can no longer steal
bandwidth away from other peripherals.
there's more to the Albatron Mars PX915G Pro than PCI Express, and we'll
be getting to those other features in a bit. The motherboard supports all current
Socket 775 Pentium 4 processors, but even though it is based on the Intel i915G
chipset, it still uses regular DDR memory.
The PX915G Pro can run two pairs of dual channel DDR, instead of the
more expensive DDR2 DIMM's. Keep a close eye on the benchmarks a little
later to see how the PX915G Pro handles loads without the aide of DDR2...
very interesting! Other standard features are an IDE RAID controller, 7.1 channel audio, and twin
Gigabit and a 10/100 Mb LAN connections.
The Mars PX915G Pro comes in a shade of typical Albatron blue,
with colour-coded slots and device headers. With a quick start guide, it is
easier for new users to install parts if all the different slots are organized
by colour. Labeling is also top notch, and even the I/O front panel headers are
marked with polarity, as it standard now.
The overall layout of the board is good, and I
especially like how there's a fan header just above the x16 PCI-Express slot. Albatron have located the 24
pin ATX power supply and floppy drive connectors are to the right of the DIMM
Note that I say
24-pin. There are four more pins in the power connector, but some backwards
compatibility has been built in. You can get away with using your old PSU with this
motherboard for now, but expect to have to upgrade to a more current PSU eventually. Incidently, don't connect
the 4-pin auxiliary power connector here, it is still used, and still has its own