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Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro: Looking for a an affordable entry into 800FSB land without the expensive price tag? The Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro may be the ticket you're looking for.

Date: November 10, 2003
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    Over the past few years motherboard chipsets have become more important in the quest for the fastest computer.  Previously you had your choice of only one or two chipsets for each CPU.  Now there are plenty of chipset choices for each CPU, especially for the Pentium IV socket 478 series.

    Overlooked in the release of the 865PE and the 875PE chipsets was the 848P chipset.  While the 865PE and 875PE were both Dual channel based chipsets, the 848P has more in common with the 845PE than the newer chipsets. 

    Albatron has not been in the motherboard manufacturing area for that long, in fact they started manufacturing motherboards in mid 2002.  The first motherboard they made was based on the Intel 845E series, and since then they have broadened out to include video cards and AMD based motherboards.  This is the first time we here at Viperlair have looked at one of Albatron's products, so how does it compare.

Albatron PX865PE Lite Pro

    What does this motherboard look like?  Does it have many things in common with MSI motherboards, which are known to be loaded with extra's and are colorful.  Or does it have more in common with fairly bare motherboards, that don't include much in the way of extra's.  If you would like to take a look at Albatron's specifications for this motherboard, please take a look at , though we will cover most of the features in the review.

    Lets look at a list of what you get:

  • The Motherboard
  • 2 ATA-100 cables
  • 1 Floppy cable
  • SATA cable
  • SATA power cable
  • Four port USB connection
  • Manual
  • Quick Install guide
  • DIY install guide
  • Driver CD

    Lets look at the basic layout of the motherboard.  The motherboard has a 1/5/0 (AGP/PCI/ACR) layout, which isn't too bad these days, as the network card is onboard, which takes away at least one PCI slot.  The back panel provides a standard back plate, which is slightly different than most boards we've looked at recently.  The only thing slightly out of place would be the network connection, but even that is in compliance with a standard back plate.  Now lets look at some specific areas of the motherboard.

   Looking at the CPU socket area first, what can we see?  As there is the standard PIV mounting bracket located where it should be, there is a line of capacitors along the bottom end of the socket, though I didn't have any problems when installing the Vantec cooler I used.  The right edge of the socket area, is pretty clear, with the heatsink of the 848p chipset being rotated 45 so that there is more room for the CPU heatsink to extend beyond the retention mechanism.  

    Now looking at the memory slots we see that there is three DDR DIMM slots with the first two being the only ones that can handle dual sided DIMMS.  As you can notice with the top right area of the image, you can see that the AGP slot is right beside the memory slots.  Therefore if you have a longer video card, for example a FX5900 then you will have problems removing the memory with a video card installed.  Lastly the ATX power connector is located in one of the best possible places that it can be, as the power connector doesn't have to snake over the CPU, in fact it doesn't have to go over anything at all.

    Looking at the slots we see a interesting feature when looking at the AGP slot.  It seems Albatron has realized that many video cards are coming with fans that are very large, and has provided a bit more space between the AGP slot and the first PCI slot.  If you have read our review of the MSI nBox you know that that card has a fan on the  back of the GPU, and it will fit on this motherboard, though its a very tight fit to get it in there.  Also the AGP slot has a different retention mechanism from that of most other motherboards as it slides all across the AGP slot to lock the card in.

    Moving on to the area around the ICH5 we see that Albatron has provided two standard IDE ports as well as the two SATA ports that are availiable via the standard ICH5.  Looking for the floppy drive we don't see it anywhere near the standard IDE ports, in fact we have to look right at the end of the motherboard right beside the last PCI slot to see the floppy connection.  I must say that this is the poorest placement of the floppy connector I have ever seen.  Otherwise we see the extra two USB ports which have included cables in the box.

    Now looking quickly at the 848P chipset and the ICH5 we see that it all looks as standard.  The 848p chipset is basically a souped up 845PE chipset, capable of reaching 200MHz FSB.  The markings on the chipset is a SL77Y, and was a A2 revision of the chipset.  The ICH5 is responsible for the IDE/SATA controller, among other things.  Unfortunately it is not the ICH5R which provides RAID to the internal SATA controller, but still provides SATA connections.

    The network card of this motherboard is not the Intel Gigabit network card that is supported by the chipset.  Rather Albatron decided to put the 3Com chipset to provide the networking for this motherboard, which is perfectly adequate for almost everyone.  The  Winbond W83627HF-AW used to provide keyboard and other legacy support, as well as providing thermal monitoring support.

    Now moving toward the onboard sound, we see that Albatron decided to pick the fairly standard ALC655, which provides 6 channel audio as well as support for some of the slightly older 3D sound technology (EAX 1.0 and 2.0).  As we have tested previously this is a good basic sound card, enough for most peoples use.  Looking at the thermal solution that is used by the 848P we see that Albatron has decided to use a thermal pad to make contact between the chipset and the fan less heatsink that provides the heat dissipation.  The fact that this system didn't have a fan on the north bridge was very nice to see, as the MSI boards that we have tested previously are pretty loud.

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