The new high
end intel chipset is the 925X. It supports only socket 775 Pentium 4 processors,
and runs them at 800 MHz (or 533MHz) FSB for 8.4GB/s bandwidth. While the 915 can
be used with ether DDR or DDR-2 memory, the 925X is
a little more picky.
It operates with DDR2 (ECC or regular)
memory exclusively, in dual channel mode at 8.5GB/s bandwidth. The 925X also says "bye bye" to
the AGP slot entirely, meaning you will have to have a
PCI Express x16 videocard.
Up to four PCI Express x1 slots can
be built into the motherboard for peripheral expansion, but unlike the PCI-E x16 slot they run
through the ICH6R southbridge at 500MB/s bandwidth. On the Gigabyte GA-8ANXP-D there are three
physical PCI-E x1 slots, and one virtual one used by the
Broadcom Gigabit Network adaptor.
Like the i875P before it, the 925X has an optimized memory controller
to differentiate its performance from the mainstream 915 chipset. Intel is very tight lipped about exactly what
its done, hoping perhaps to prevent motherboard manufacturers from creating another
865PE + PAT situation.
The DDR2 memory controller built into the 925X provide 8.5GB/s of bandwidth while
the PCI Express 16x bus can pump out 8GB/s of data, almost four times that of
8x AGP! Between the 925x and the ICH6 southbridge is a fat 2GB/s pipe which
should be more than enough for the demanding user.
all agree that the Intel ICH5 southbridge was a huge improvement over ICH4, and
now ICH6 adds a little more into the mix. First off, ICH6 natively supports four
Serial ATA ports, up from two found with the ICH5. However as a
trade off, the ICH6 has just one IDE channel. We'll all have to get used to
saying good bye to our IDE hard drives now... For expansion needs, the ICH6
supports up to four PCI Express x1 slots, or six regular PCI slots.
With IDE quickly going the way of
low gas prices, Serial ATA devices are where it's at. Being that IDE
RAID was a very popular selling point of many motherboards, it
would be a tragedy if consumers were shuffled back to the days before RAID with
SATA. This isn't the case, thankfully.
The Intel ICH6R variant which is what we
find on the Gigabyte GA-8ANXP-D, supports RAID, which Intel supports through
what it calls its "Storage Matrix Technology." Intel has
always been clever with catchy names. The RAID feature is only found in ICH6R
southbridges, and it supports RAID modes 0, 1 and 0+1. Now, let's see what the
GA-8ANXP-D can do for us in the way of overclocking!