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Albatron's PX865PE Pro II motherboard

— 12:00 AM on July 9, 2003

ModelPX865PE Pro II
Price (street)US$158

WHEN INTEL first introduced its "Canterwood" 875P chipset, PAT (Performance Acceleration Technology) was all the rage. PAT is a series of aggressive internal memory timings that was supposed to offer better performance exclusively to the high-end Canterwood chipset, but clever motherboard engineers claim to have enabled PAT-like timings in Springdale products.


The potential for Canterwood-like performance from Springdale boards is certainly tantalizing for enthusiasts looking for high-end performance on mid-range boards, and could significantly erode the market for Canterwood-based products. But can a Springdale board really deliver performance that rivals motherboards based on the Canterwood chipset? We'll find out with Albatron's PX865PE Pro II and its "Extreme" memory timing option.

There's more to the PX865PE Pro II than "Extreme" memory timings, too. The board offers "parallel" and Serial ATA RAID, lots of USB 2.0 and Firewire ports, and Envy-powered 7.l-channel audio. Does the PX865PE Pro II have the performance and features to take on high-end Canterwood offerings? Let's find out.

The specs
How does the PX865PE Pro II look at a glance? Check out the spec sheet:

CPU supportSocket 478-based Intel Pentium 4 processors
Form factorATX
ChipsetIntel "Springdale" 865PE
North bridgeIntel 865PE
South bridgeIntel ICH5R
InterconnectIntel Accelerated Hub (266MB/sec)
PCI slots5 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots1, 4X/8X AGP 8X (1.5V only)
AMR/CNR slotsNone
Memory4 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 4GB of DDR400/333/266 SDRAM
Storage I/OFloppy disk
2 channels ATA/100
Serial ATA2 channels Serial ATA 150 via ICH5R south bridge
RAIDSerial ATA RAID 0 support via ICH5R south bridge
2 channels ATA/133 RAID 0, 1 via Promise PDC20276
Legacy ports1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, Serial and Parallel ports
USB2 USB 2.0/1.1 ports
4 additional USB 2.0/1.1 ports via PCI expansion header
Firewire2  IEEE 1394 Firewire via TSB43AB23 Firewire controller
Audio6-channel audio via Envy24PT/VT1616/WDC8728
analog front, rear, surround, and center outputs
analog line in and microphone inputs
digital S/PDIF input and output ports (RCA and Tos-Link)
Ethernet10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via Intel CSA GbE controller
BIOSPhoenix AwardBIOS
Bus speedsFSB: 100-333MHz in 1MHz increments
AGP: 66-76MHz
in 1MHz increments
PCI: 33-38MHz
in 1MHz increments
Bus dividersDRAM: 1.33x, 1.6x, 2x, 2.5x, 2.66x
VoltagesCPU: 0.8275-1.6V in 0.005V increments
DRAM: 2.55-2.85V in 0.1V increments
AGP: 1.5-1.8V in 0.1V increments
MonitoringVoltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

The PX865PE Pro II gets checkmarks next to all the important integrated peripheral categories, and even serves up a few more exotic solutions here and there. I'll be going over each of these peripherals in detail, but let's look at the board's layout first.