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Albatron PX915P Pro – Mainboard Based on Intel 915P Chipset

November 1, 2004



It's quite an inexpensive model supporting DDR (which automatically reduces the overall price of the system) with excellent functionality and good overclocking potential – these mainboards are probably doomed to maximum demand in the period of migrating to new technologies.




PCB layout looks very good, though you may have some problems to plug cables to the connectors along the left edge of the mainboard as well as to IDE RAID connectors in case of long PCI cards installed. Access to the only jumper may be hampered when the mainboard is in a case, there in no brief description of jumper functions on the PCB. +5 V Standby on the mainboard is indicated by a red LED. The 3-phase switching voltage regulator of the processor incorporates four 1500 uF capacitors and ten 560 uF capacitors. The mainboard also contains voltage regulators for PCIEx16 (four 1000 uF capacitors) and memory (six 1000 uF capacitors, reinforced by inductors).

PX915G Pro and PX915P Pro are formally the senior models in the series of Albatron mainboards based on i915P/G (the set of models is absolutely the same as well as their PCB layout). The differences are not large though: Mainboards without the "Pro" index do not have one network controller – not Gigabit, as you may have expected, but 100-megabit. Models with "AGPe" suffix have an AGP slot instead of one of PCI slots (to all appearances, with the data rate matching the PCI bus data rate) allowing to use old AGP video cards – what concerns the rest, the functionality of these video cards coincides with the Pro mainboards. As a result, the PCB of PX915P Pro lacks vacant seats. Mainboard dimensions – 305x245 mm (full-sized ATX, nine-screw mount, all mainboard edges are firmly fixed). The Winbond W83627THF chip is used to monitor:

  • CPU voltage, +3.3, +5 and ±12 V, VBAT and +5 V Standby
  • RPM of 3 fans
  • CPU and board temperatures (by the corresponding embedded sensors)

Onboard ports, sockets, and connectors

  • CPU socket (Socket 775)
  • 4 x DDR SDRAM DIMM (up to 4 GB DDR333/400 without ECC)
  • 1 x PCIEx16 (with a latch)
  • 2 x PCIEx1
  • 3 x PCI
  • Power connectors: standard EPS12V (24 pins, you can connect a regular 20-pin connector in case you don't use powerful up-to-date componentry like top PCIE video cards) and 4-pin for 12 V
  • 1 x FDD
  • 3 x IDE (Parallel ATA) – 1 of them is in the chipset, the other two operate thanks to an additional controller, connected disks can form RAID 0, 1 or 0+1
  • 4 x SATA (Serial ATA) – all of them are in the chipset
  • 2 connectors for brackets with additional USB (2.0) ports
  • Game-port connector
  • 1 x standard IrDA connector
  • 1 x CD/DVD audio connector
  • Headers for additional Audio-Outs and S/PDIF
  • Connector for a chassis intrusion sensor
  • 3 fan headers (one 4-pin header (for CPU cooler), all with RPM control).

Back panel (left to right, blockwise)




  • PS/2 mouse and keyboard
  • 1x LPT, 1 x COM-port
  • 3 x Audio (Mic-In, Line-In, Front)
  • 3 x Audio (Center/Sub, Rear, Side)
  • 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Fast Ethernet)
  • 2 x USB and 1 x RJ-45 (Gigabit Ethernet)

Package Contents




  • Box: standard design
  • Documentation: mainboard user's guide in 4 languages, IDE RAID setup guide and a poster with short instructions how to install and setup the mainboard in English
  • Cables: 1 x Serial ATA (with power adapter), 2 x ATA66/100/133, and an FDD cable
  • Rear panel bracket with 4 x USB
  • Back PCB panel bracket for corresponding connectors
  • CD with software:
    • mainboard drivers
    • Adobe Acrobat Reader
    • PC-cillin 2004 (antivirus)
    • Virtual Cable Tester (utility that monitors network connections)
    • DirectX 9.0b

Integrated Controllers

  • Avance Logic ALC880 HDA Codec supporting 7.1 surround sound audio, with front line-in/out and S/PDIF jacks
  • Two network controllers, one of them is based on the VIA VT6105 LOM chip supporting 10/100 Mbit/sec Base-T (Fast Ethernet), and the second is based on the Marvell 88E8001-LKJ chip supporting 10/100/1000 Mbit/sec Base-T (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • IDE RAID based on the ITE IT8212F chip supporting RAID 0, 1, 0+1 and JBOD and two ATA133 connectors.

The integrated audio quality was tested in 16bit, 44 kHz using the RightMark Audio Analyzer 5.2 test application and the Terratec DMX 6fire sound card:

FR passband ripple (from 40 Hz to 15 kHz), dB:
+0.14, -0.17
Very good
Noise level, dB (A):
-85.1
Good
Dynamic range, dB (A):
82.3
Good
THD, %:
0.0054
Very good
Intermodulation distortions, %:
0.016
Very good
Channel crosstalk, dB:
-85.5
Excellent

General performance: Very good (details). Most new mainboards with HDA codecs are notable for high (in comparison with previous generations) audio quality, though the quality is affected not only by the codec itself but by the PCB layout and other accompanying factors as well.

Settings

Jumpers and switches Clear CMOS jumper When the mainboard cannot startup due to overclocking, CMOS settings are reset automatically
In Award BIOS v6.00PG from Phoenix Memory timings + CAS Latency, RAS to CAS Delay, RAS Precharge, Precharge Delay
Memory frequency selection + Auto, DDR333, DDR400 (with 800 MHz FSB)
PCI-E bus setup +  
PCI bus setup -  
PCI/PCI-E frequency divider setup + PCI = Auto, 33, 37.7, 44 MHz; PCI-E = 100 MHz
PCI IRQ manual assignment +  
FSB frequency setup + 200-300 MHz at 1 MHz steps
CPU multiplier + x8–x50
CPU core voltage control + 0.85–1.9 V at 0.0125 V steps up to 1.6 V and at 0.1 V steps higher
Memory voltage control + Default, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3, +0.4 V
Chipset voltage control + Default, +0.1, +0.2, +0.3 V
PCI-E bus voltage control -  

We used BIOS R1.07a, the latest available BIOS version at the time of our tests. The mentioned BIOS parameters are available in this version, but the viability of non-standard settings hasn't been tested.

Performance

As solutions based on Intel 915/925 chipsets can vary at least by their memory type, it's difficult to compare the speed of selected mainboards directly. Refer to our large comparisons for the complete analysis. And in this case we'll limit ourselves to the results of express tests of Albatron PX915P Pro in comparison with models based on i915 with DDR memory. Albatron PX915P Pro looks one of the fastest models, compared with the fastest and the slowest (out of presently tested) mainboards of this class.

TestFoxconn 915M07-G-8EKRS (i915G+2xDDR400)ASUS P5GD1-VM (i915G+2xDDR400)Albatron PX915P Pro (i915P+2xDDR400)
Archiving with 7-Zip, min:sec7:277:227:25
MPEG4 (XviD) encoding, min:sec14:0114:0314:00
Processing images in Photoshop, min:sec8:258:238:25
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (Fast@800x600x32), fps230236235
Return to Castle Wolfenstein (High@1280x1024x32), fps171178178

This model on the official site of the manufacturer




Sergei Pikalov (peek@ixbt.com)


01.11.2004


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