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Intel 915P Shootout : Albatron PX915P Pro
By Zachary Chan
Category : Mainboard
Published by Vijay Anand on Saturday, 22nd January, 2005

Albatron PX915P Pro (The Good)

The PX915P Pro sports a subdued dark blue colored PCB. However the board still stands out with some elaborate color combinations, a perfect example being the purple and green colored DIMM slots. Albatron has also separated the six available expansion slots according to color coded groups. We have the three vanilla white PCI slots, two blue PCIe x1 and a bright red PCIe x16 graphics slot. Passive heatsinks are used to cool both North and South Bridge chips. On the South Bridge heatsink, you can just about make out Albatron's albatross logo sculptured as a cooler fin, giving the gold colored heatsinks a distinct look. The overall design of the board is kept simple, and Albatron fills the available space with extra features.

Purple and Green DIMM slots anyone?

Expansion slots include three PCI, two PCIe x1 and PCIe x16.

The South Bridge heatsink with an Albatron's albatross logo.

Using the same ICH6R South Bridge, storage capabilities include one IDE and four SATA connectors. Although SATA is rapidly taking over as the primary hard disk medium, IDE units are still widely available. Besides, users that are upgrading will very much likely want to retain their old hard drives. In light of this, the PX915P Pro has an extra onboard Ultra ATA 133 controller by ITE, offering two additional IDE ports with RAID capabilities. With this third-party controller, the board's total supported drive count is ten, which is quite a generous number.

An additional IDE RAID chip provides expanded storage options - especially for those with multiple IDE hard drives.

All IDE storage connectors are located at the bottom corner of the motherboard.

Unlike the crippled Azalia audio features in both Intel's D915PCY and ABIT's AG8, the Albatron PX915P Pro makes use of an 8-channel HD Audio CODEC by Realtek. They have also included full analog surround jacks at the rear panel. Unfortunately, S/PDIF is only available through an optional bracket.

Realtek ALC880 CODEC offers 8-channel HD Audio.

USB 2.0 is a standard feature and the PX915P Pro supports all eight available ports. Four of them through the rear panel and a bundled bracket offering the remaining four. FireWire seems to be missing from the feature set, but Albatron tries to make up for it with dual Ethernet support. The primary port uses a Marvell Yukon chip while the second is from VIA Networking. Why two different controllers you say? The Marvell 88E8001 is a Gigabit Ethernet controller while the VIA VT6105 supports 10/100Mbps. Both controllers are PCI based, thus there isn't enough bandwidth to accomodate them comfortably. If Albatron had used a PCI Express GbE controller instead, it would have been a different story altogether. Looking at the bright side however, Marvell's Yukon controller supports their Virtual Cable Tester (VCT) technology. This is a software application that allows you to check LAN cable conditions for faults down to individual wires.

Marvell Gigabit Ethernet controller, still PCI based though.

The additional VIA 10/100 Ethernet controller is available only on the Pro version of the motherboard (such as this version we have for review).

Extra four USB ports on the bracket means that all eight ports provided by the chipset can be utilized.

Notable connectors on the rear ATX I/O panel are the 8-channel surround audio ports plus two RJ45 sockets for dual LAN. Notice the empty space is covered over so there will not be a gaping hole even if you do not use an I/O shield.

In the BIOS, the following overclocking settings are available for the Albatron PX915P Pro:-

  • FSB Settings: 200MHz to 333MHz
  • PCIe Speed: 100MHz, Auto
  • PCI Speed: 33.33MHz, 66.36MHz, 40.00MHz
  • RAM Frequency: DDR333, DDR400
  • CPU Voltage Settings: 0.8375-1.600V (in 0.0125V steps)
  • Memory Voltage Settings: +0.1,+0.2,+0.3,+0.4V
  • Chipset Voltage Settings: +0.1,+0.2,+0.3V
  • Multiplier Selection: Yes (unlocked CPUs only)

    Tested & Certified Components
    Graphics Card MSI RX600XT-TD128
    Memory 2 x 512MB Kingston DDR-400
    Power Supply Unit AcBel 400W (API4PC01)
    Cooler CoolerMaster CI5-9HDPA-01
    Hard Disk Maxtor DiamondMax 10 200GB SATA
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