iXBT Labs - Computer Hardware in Detail






Albatron KX18D Pro II (NVIDIA nForce2 Ultra 400) Mainboard

To all appearances, this is Albatron's latest solution for Socket A. The most perfect chipset (nVidia nForce2 Ultra 400), rich accessories and functions, additional Serial ATA controller - Albatron integrated all possible components and features that can attract true gourmets, though there isn't so much stuff indeed... However, some don't like such monsters stuffed with all possible additional chips.

The layout is not that handy: audio-ins are in front of the PCI, the power supply connector is next to the rear panel, and the crowded connectors around the memory modules can make it difficult to access them. It's not easy to reach some jumpers when the board is already installed. Their functions are indicated on the PCB. There's also a LED indicating +5V Standby. No wasted space for components that didn't get included in the final design. 

The 2-phase switching voltage regulator incorporates 3 capacitors of 3300 uF and 5 of 2200 uF. There are also voltage regulators of the AGP bus (3 1000 uF) and of the memory (4 of 1000 uF).  The board measures 305x245 mm ("wide ATX", 9 fastening screws, the front edge doesn't hang loose).  

System monitoring is supported by Winbond W83627HF-AW chip. It controls: 

  • processor voltages: +3.3, +5 and +12 V, VBAT and +5 V Standby 
  • rotation speed of 2 fans;  
  • temperatures of the processor (built-in sensor) and the board (built-in sensor).  

The same PCB is used for one more board - Albatron KX18D Pro. It has a less functional south bridge - nForce2 MCP (Pro II has MCP-T installed) and is deprived of the IEEE 1394 controller. Besides, the KX18D Pro doesn't get equipped with an Serial ATA RAID chip.

Ports & connectors onboard

  • CPU socket (Socket A);
  • 3 slots for DDR SDRAM DIMM (one pair painted a dedicated color);
  • AGP slot (not Pro, with a retention clip);
  • 6 PCI slots (32bit, 33MHz);
  • Standard power supply connectors (ATX, no 4pin for 12V);
  • FDD;
  • 2 IDE slots (Parallel ATA) - on chipset;
  • 2 Serial ATA slots - via external controller
  • Connector for a bracket with 2 FireWire ports;
  • 2 Connectors for a bracket with 4 USB ports;
  • Connectors for a bracket with audio ports;
  • Connector for audio-out from CD/DVD drive;
  • 3 connectors for fans (2 with regulation of rotations, the third connected to the north bridge cooler).

Rear panel (left to right, units)

  • PS/2 ports for keyboard & mouse;
  • 2 USB (2.0) and 1 RJ-45 (Ethernet);
  • 3 Audio and Game port.

The manufacturer preferred to move most connectors to additional brackets. Well, it's not good or bad, but it just adds work to assemblers.


  • Package of the standard design;
  • Documentation: a user manual in 4 languages, a poster with a brief description of the board's installation and SATA RAID manual in English;
  • 2 ATA66/100/133 and FDD cables;
  • SATA cable (with a power supply adapter)
  • Bracket with 2 FireWire ports;
  • Bracket with 4 USB ports;
  • Bracket with headphones-out, mic-in, S/PDIF-Out (TosLink & Coaxial), S/PDIF-In  (Coaxial);
  • I/O Shield;
  • CD with software: 
    • drivers;
    • PC-Cillin 2002;
    • DirectX 8.1b and 9.0.

Well, Albatron is not in the habit of supplying licensed software.

Integrated controllers

  • audio controller based on the MCP-T processor (integrated into the south bridge) and Avance Logic ALC650 AC'97 codec; 5.1 audio system supported, front audio-outs and S/PDIF connector provided;
  • network controller based on the chipset, 10/100 Mbit Base-T (Fast Ethernet) supported;
  • SATA RAID based on the Silicon Image SiI3112ACT144 chip, RAID 0 & 1 supported;
  • FireWire on the Texas Instruments TSB41AB1 chip, 2 ports supported.


  • BIOS Mirror (backup Flash EEPROM chip for BIOS recovery);
  • Voice Genie (voice notification of boot problems).


jumpers and switches Jumper to clear the CMOS  
FSB clock speed jumpers 100/133, 166 and 200 MHz
Temperature control activation jumper  
Voice Genie language switches  
BIOS Mirror mode jumper  
SATA RAID controller on/off switch  
BIOS based on Phoenix AwardBIOS 6.00PG  Setup of memory timings + CAS Latency, T(RAS), T(RCD), T(RP)
Setup of memory frequency + DDR/CPU = By SPD, Auto, 1, 1.2, 1.33, 1.5, 1.6, 1.66, 2, 2.4, 2.5, 2.66, 3, 3.33, 4
Setup of AGP bus +  
Setup of PCI bus -  
AGP/PCI frequency setup + 50, 66-100 MHz in 1-3MHz steps
PCI IRQ manual assignment -  
FSB frequency setup + 100-300 MHz in 1MHz steps
CPU clock ratio + x5-x24
CPU voltage control + 1.1-2.65 V in 0.025V steps up to 1.85 V and in 0.05V further
DIMM voltage control + 2.5-3V in 0.1V steps
NB voltage control + 1.6-1.9V in 0.1V steps
AGP voltage control + 1.5-1.8V in 0.1V steps

We used the BIOS R1.03 as the latest available version.


Stanislav Garmatyuk  (nawhi@ixbt.com)
Dmitry Mayorov  (destrax@ixbt.com)

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