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AOpen i915Pa-PLF Motherboard Review
AOpen i915Pa-PLF Motherboard Review - PCSTATS
The Aopen i915Pa-PLF motherboard is a socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 solution designed for mainstream users getting ready to upgrade a little of everything.
 78% Rating:   
Filed under: Motherboards Published:  Author: 
External Mfg. Website: AOpen Mar 02 2005   C. Sun  
Home > Reviews > Motherboards > AOpen i915Pa-PLF

AOpen i915Pa-PLF Motherboard Review

When Intel introduced its pinless Pentium 4 processor, many people threw their arms up and complained without fully understanding why the move to a 775-pin package was made. The big concern after all was that the socket 775 CPU was only supposed to be good for twenty or so insertions. With a bit of research, the benefits of the new formfactor began to emerge, and the flood of RMA'd motherboards with damaged sockets seemed to have been circumvented by plenty of "don't touch" warning stickers. By leaving the socket 478 formfactor behind, new advances have certainly been made which would have otherwise been technically impossible.

The future of Intel processor sockets is certainly going to be pinless, as this package design allows for higher contact densities than any pinned design. And for the moment, Intel seems to be sticking with socket 775, even as it moves into 64-bit processing...

The AOpen i915Pa-PLF motherboard is a socket 775 Intel Pentium 4 solution designed for mainstream users getting ready to upgrade a little of everything. Obviously based on the Intel 915P chipset, this blackened-PCB motherboard supports current 800/533MHz FSB Socket 775 CPUs (Celeron or Pentium 4), and requires a PCI-Express compatible video card. AGP videocards are not supported at all.

AOpen i915Pa-PLF Motherboard


Driver CD, NAV 2004 CD, One Ultra/133 IDE cable, One Floppy Cable, One Serial ATA Cable, One Molex to Serial ATA Power Cable, I/O Shield

For its class, the i915Pa-PLF is not the most well equipped motherboard out there, but it still features the minimum of necessary peripherals users are likely to need. Onboard components consist of 7.1-channel audio, a Gigabit NIC and IEEE 1394. Three PCI slots and a pair of PCI Express x1 slots are present for expansion purposes, as are four Serial ATA headers, and just one... that's ONE, IDE connector.

Enthusiasts know that the pinless 775 CPU socket is fragile, and that is made extra clear (in broken English) on the cap should which reads. "Treat me Tender!"

Generally, the layout of the i915Pa-PLF motherboard is quite good; all the ports/headers are placed in accessible locations. I like how all the Serial ATA, floppy and IDE connectors are placed in the same area just below the PCI Express x16 videocard slot along the edge of the motherboard. AOpen was obviously thinking about the enthusiast when designing the i915Pa-PLF, two fan headers are placed right next to the videocard/Northbridge, great for anyone who intends to use an after market videocard or specialized Northbridge cooler.

ATX 2.0 and the 24-Pin Power

The most obvious change with ATX 2.0 spec is the new 24-pin ATX 2.0 power connector for motherboards. Previous ATX power connectors had 20 pins, and so a special 24-20 pin adaptor must be used when an ATX 2.0 PSU is used with older motherboards.

The four extra pins include an additional +12V, +5V, +3.3V and ground line. These new pins take the place of the Auxiliary line which is no longer available on ATX 2.0 PSU's. ATX 2.0 also requires power supplies to natively support Serial ATA HDD's so Molex to Serial ATA power connectors are no longer needed. ATX 2.0 does not specify how many Serial ATA power connectors are required, however.

The first 20 pins of older ATX standard power supplies are pin compatible with the first 20 pins of ATX 2.0, so older power supplies will operate with ATX 2.0 motherboards just fine as long as they can supply enough power to the motherboard.

The Intel ICH6 Southbridge gets quite warm during operation, as you know, but the AOpen i915Pa-PLF does not feature an active heatsink. If it gets too hot for your liking, there are two mounting holes for third-party heatsink/fan combos.

If overclocking is the name of your game, a little extra cooling down south won't hurt. AOpen has one of the stronger software packages in the market, and included along with the i915Pa-PLF motherboard is a full copy of Norton Anti-Virus 2004.

This should keep users safe while they're learning the ins and outs of a new computer. If only AOpen would make the subscription for NAV 2004 a full year instead of just 90 days, it would be even better.

While we have no complaints about the motherboard itself, we would have liked it if AOpen had included more accessories. The motherboard has four Serial ATA ports and including more than one cable would have been a nice touch.

On top of that, bundling in some real 'rounded cables' would also have been better than including an Ultra/133 IDE cable cut up and taped together.

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Contents of Article: AOpen i915Pa-PLF
 Pg 1.  — AOpen i915Pa-PLF Motherboard Review
 Pg 2.  Power Master?
 Pg 3.  Benchmarks: SYSmark 2004
 Pg 4.  Benchmarks: Winstone 2004, Winbench 99
 Pg 5.  Benchmarks: SiSoft Sandra, Super Pi
 Pg 6.  Benchmarks: PCMark04, 3DMark2001
 Pg 7.  Benchmarks: 3DMark05, AquaMark03
 Pg 8.  Benchmarks: Comanche 4, X2: The Threat, UT2003
 Pg 9.  Benchmarks: UT2004, Doom 3
 Pg 10.  Nice Specs, Nice Speed

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