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Albatron's K8X800 Pro II motherboard

All that, no chips

ModelK8X800 Pro II
Price (street)$125

I LOVE TO see manufacturers pack in all sorts of extra goodies with their mainboards as much as—or maybe even more than—the next guy, but not everyone needs rounded IDE cables, case straps, multiple Serial ATA and IDE RAID options, MOSFET cooling, or on-the-fly hard drive encryption capabilities. All those bundled goodies and extra peripherals are great, but they raise the price of the board and are really a waste if unused.

As the Athlon 64 3000+ hits a price/performance sweet spot for budget-conscious enthusiasts, the outlook is good for Athlon 64 boards that trade bundled bells and whistles for lower price tags. One of these more affordable Athlon 64 boards is Albatron's K8X800 Pro II, which has all the essentials without the frilly extras. Is the K8X800 Pro II worthy of an Athlon 64 3000+? Read on to find out.

The specs
The K8X800 Pro II isn't loaded with every conceivable extra, but it does have everything most users will need.

CPU supportSocket 754-based Athlon 64 processors
Form factorATX
North bridgeVIA K8T800
South bridgeVIA VT8237
InterconnectHyperTransport (3.6GB/s)
PCI slots6 32-bit/33MHz
AGP slots1 4x/8x (1.5V only)
AMR/CNR slotsNone
Memory3 184-pin DIMM sockets
Maximum of 2GB of DDR266/333/400 SDRAM
Storage I/OFloppy disk
2 channels ATA/133
Serial ATA2 Serial ATA channels via VT8237 south bridge
RAIDRAID 0, 1 support via VT8237 V-RAID
Legacy ports1 PS/2 keyboard, 1 PS/2 mouse, serial and parallel ports
USB2 USB 2.0 ports
Additional 4 USB ports via
PCI expansion header
Firewire2  IEEE 1394 Firewire port via VT6307 Firewire controller
Audio7.1-channel audio via VIA Envy24PT audio controller
analog front, rear, surround, and center outputs
analog line and microphone inputs
digital S/PDIF input and output ports (coaxial and Tos-Link)
Ethernet10/100/1000 Gigabit Ethernet via 3COM 940-MV00
BIOSPhoenix AwardBIOS
Bus speedsCPU: 200-300MHz in 1MHz increments
DRAM: auto, 100, 133, 166, and 200MHz
Bus dividersNone
VoltagesCPU:  0.8-1.9V in 0.05V increments
AGP:  1.5-1.8V in 0.1V increments
DIMM:  2.6-2.9 in 0.1V increments
Northbridge:  2.5-2.8V in 0.1V increments
2.5-2.8V in 0.1V increments
LDT:  1.2-1.3 in 0.1V increments
MonitoringVoltage, fan status, and temperature monitoring

As far as integrated features go, the K8X800 Pro II is really only missing IDE RAID. Not bad for one of the most affordable Athlon 64 boards on the market.