- Supplied by: Chaintech USA
- Product page: V915P
- Price: ~$100
The Chaintech V915P is of course based on the Intel 915P Northbridge chipset as the name implies, as well as the new ICH6 Southbridge. What this buys you is support for PCI Express peripherals, including one 16x PCI Express graphics slot, two 1X PCI Express ports, and 3 standard PCI slots as well. Buyers should beware that a 24-pin ATX headers is standard on this board, however a 20-pin ATX plug can be used, but with a possibility of lower overclocking potential. SATA HD support takes precedence over IDE with four SATA ports included and only one IDE port is installed on this board. If you are flush with IDE devices and choose this board, you may wish to purchase an add-on PCI IDE adapter.
The BIOS is Award/Phoenix, with a somewhat atypical layout similar to AMI type bios as used in some Asus boards. Under advanced header and Frequency/Voltage control, there are several options that the overclocker will appreciate. CPU voltage can be adjusted in small 0.025v steps from 0.8375-1.9V. Frankly, the thought of running 1.9V into a Prescott is scary, but I applaud Chaintech for leaving options open, something I wish more manufacturers would do in their bios selections. To promote good front side bus (FSB) overclocking, Chaintech saw fit to include Northbridge (NB) voltage adjustments from default to +0.3v in 0.1v steps. With the newer 915/925 chipset boards, the lack of added NB voltage can put an early end to FSB clocking fun, kudos to Chaintech for not forgetting the enthusiast. With memory voltage, Chaintech again gives us room to work with adjustments from default to +0.4v in 0.1v steps. The only recommendation I might give is to break the voltage steps down a bit from 0.1v jumps to a more fine tuned 0.025 or 0.05v adjustments.
Packaging is standard fare, and don't expect wireless networking or a plethora of soft/bloat ware. This is just fine with me though, as I'm tired of buying a board, only to be saddled with extra parts/gimmicks I don't need. I would rather save a few dollars and just have the board, provided it's a good example.Albatron PX865PE7 Pro
- Supplied by: Albatron
- Product page: PX865PE7 Pro
- Price: ~$100
The Albatron 865 PE7 Pro is quite an interesting board using the older tried and true Intel 865PE chipset. One might ask why someone would want an 865PE chipset board for a socket 775 processor, when a socket 478 would do just as well. This brings me back to the problem inherent in running a Prescott CPU in a socket 478 board, the inadequacy of the power circuitry. Other than the possible advantage of improved power regulation with socket 775, using the Intel 865 chipset also give us support for the older AGP standard, the old standard two IDE ports, but no PCI Express support. The Albatron 865 PE7 Pro board uses the cheaper ICH5 non R Southbridge so no raid functions are supported. However, given the price point of this board this is understandable.
Another advantage of using the Intel 865PE Northbridge is the inherent qualities of overclocking this chipset has shown in the past. While the 915/925 chipsets often have issues going past 250-260MHz FSB, the 865 has been well known to scale to 300MHz FSB and beyond. This should provide all the main board headroom you should need to explore the limits of your LGA 775 CPU. With this in mind, Albatron chose to include some overclocking jewels in their bios as well. CPU Vcore is adjustable, although in rather large increments of 0.1v steps from default to +0.3v. While this will certainly help wring some more MHz out of your precious CPU, I would suggest to Albatron to make these adjustments smaller at 0.025v steps to better fine tune the overclocking process. Memory voltage can be adjusted from default 2.5V in 0.1v steps up to +0.3v. AGP voltage can be adjusted +0.1v as well, not that this has ever helped me, but there may be some people with different experiences that could appreciate this option.
There also appears to be some PAT
(performance acceleration technology) in bios as an option. For the sake of this article I disabled this feature to try to level the paying field a bit. However, lucky users may be able to get a boost out of this feature, should their ram tolerate the settings. The Albatron board much like the Chaintech uses an Award BIOS in the same atypical layout as described above. In fact the layouts are practically identical, with only a few minor deviations between the two.
Packaging is Spartan, and like the Chaintech no mega software packs or weird gadgets are present. Just a nice looking board with the required documentation, driver disks and cables.
Onto the testing ->