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Albatron K8X890 Pro II K8T890 Motherboard Review

Albatron K8X890 Pro II K8T890 Motherboard Review  - PCSTATS
Abstract: The VIA K8T890 chipset supports PCI Express, so as you'd expect we see a full PCI Express x16 video slot on this board.
 86% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: Albatron Feb 17 2005   Colin Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > Albatron K8X890 Pro II

The sexy new K8T890 chipset!

VIA's new K8T890 chipset is built for the Socket 939 AMD Athlon64/Athlon64 FX processor, and features a 1 GHz HyperTransport connection (16 bits up / downstream) between the CPU and Northbridge. There are a total of 20 PCI Express lanes available in the K8T890 too; 16 lanes are set aside for the graphics card and the four remaining lanes can be split into four PCI Express x1 slots, or one PCI Express x4 slot for extra high bandwidth devices.

Connecting the K8T890 Northbridge and VT8237 Southbridge is VIA's Ultra V-Link bus which has a total of 1066MB/s bandwidth. The VT8237R includes support for Serial ATA with RAID modes 0, 1 and 0+1 when used in conjunction with a SATAlite controller.

Eight USB 2.0 ports are integrated into the Southbridge as well as support for up to six 32bit PCI slots. There's a direct connection to the Southbridge for 10/100 or Gigabit ethernet controllers which mean they do not have to run through the PCI bus.

mPower, no it's not a BMW...

When using the Albatron K8X890 Pro II, you can install an additional VRM (Voltage Regulator Module) that works with the motherboard's onboard power circuits. When attached, the mPower VRM should help the motherboard provide cleaner, more stable power to the processor and other components attached to the board.

Another added benefit is that the mPower module will lower the operating temperatures of the MOSFETs on the motherboard.

Connecting and configuring the motherboard to use the mPower VRM module is a bit more difficult than it really should be. According to the manual you must set four jumpers properly, otherwise it's possible to damage both the mPower module and the board! We took Albatron's word and set the jumpers accordingly.

o do that however, you'll need to refer to the user manual. There is a label on the motherboard but at first it's not clear what 'PWM4' is (that's the mPower VRM module).

Cleaner more stable power is a great idea and hopefully Albatron can implement it better on future motherboards. A simple plug and play method would be best if possible, as Gigabyte has done on many of its enthusiast-level platforms.

Overclocking and Albatron

Albatron has always been good to the enthusiast and supported overclocking. They've produced some of the faster motherboards out there, so we were anticipating good things from the K8X890 Pro II.

As usual we begin overclocking by lowering the clock multiplier of the processor to 6x, and set the memory to run in 133 MHz mode; this way neither the processor or RAM limits the motherboard in overclocking.

Starting at 200 MHz Front Side Bus, we raised the clock speed 5 MHz at a time. At 235 MHz FSB, the K8X890 Pro II started having a hard time loading WindowsXP. Raising the Northbridge voltage by 0.2V helped stabilize it.

It encountered more stability issues around 252 MHz, and at anything higher the board simply refused to POST. I'm not sure what the problem was exactly, but since raising the voltage a bit more didn't help, I suspect the culprit might be heat. The passive heatsink on the K8T890 chipset was very hot to the touch, so perhaps with better northbridge cooling this board could go further.

Still, getting 252 MHz out of this K8T890-based motherboard was still pretty impressive. It's nice to see that VIA boards can overclock well, and that Albatron is upholding their well earned reputation.

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Contents of Article: Albatron K8X890 Pro II
 Pg 1.  Albatron K8X890 Pro II K8T890 Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  — The sexy new K8T890 chipset!
 Pg 3.  Albatron's BIOS
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: SYSmark 2004
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra 2004, Super Pi
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark3
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 10.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3

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