Albatron K8X800 Pro II packet
What we have here today is Athlon 64 motherboard from Albatron. K8X800 Pro II has almost all integrated features that I could even think of and hopefully also exceptional performance and reliability. So in this review we are going to check out how well Albatron K8X800 Pro II compares to other Athlon 64 motherboards that we currently have on our test bed and is there any reason not to buy one of these right a way.
Albatron K8X800 Pro II uses VIAs K8T800 chipset that provides nice support and performance for current Athlon 64 processors. K8T800 does need separate south bridge as we are used to see, although with Athlon 64's integrated memory controlled it is possible to shrink north bridge & south bridge combination to one chips as we have seen in the case of nForce3-chipset.
Main job for north bridge on Athlon 64 systems is to provide fast and reliable data bus from processor to AGP and PCI buses and to other peripherals. This bus between north bridge and processor is called HyperTransport bus and it is 16-bit wide in both ways and works at the clock speed of 800 MHz. That is considerably faster than on nForce3 chipset, which has HyperTransport working at the speed of 600 MHz and uplink narrowed to 8-bit.
Because K8T800 needs also south bridge there is naturally bus between them which is called 8X V-link and provides 533 MB/s data bus between the chips. On this case south bridge is VIA VT8237, which was introduced on last July and supports for example two SATA-ports.
|CPU:||AMD Athlon 64 Processor|
|Chipset:|| VIA K8T800|
|Front Side Bus:||800MHz|
|Memory:||3 DDR200/266/333/400 Memory Sockets|
|Expansion Slots:||1 x AGP8X (1.5V only)|
6 x PCI
|Storage:||2 x UltraDMA 133/100/66|
2 x Serial ATA150
|Audio:||VIA VT1720, Envy 24PT|
|USB 2.0:||2 onboard, 6 optional|
BIOS Mirror |
Special design for CPU Over Temperature Protection.( OTP )
- Adjustable CPU frequency by 1 MHz increment, Adjustable Vcore, VAGP, VMemory for overclocking|
- Adjustable FSB/DDR ratio
So Albatron seems to think that if there is almost all integrated features that anyone could think of, motherboard just have to be real winner. Well if I look the specs few points draw my attention. Firstly there seems to be only two SATA ports and secondly it really looks like all integrated features are considered quality in mind. Or what do you think of 8-channel VIA Envy 24PT sound chip or 3COM 3C940 gigabit LAN, would it possible to do these features better on motherboard like this? Hardly.
Albatron also included extensive overclocking features on this board with very nice range and control of adjustable voltages. BIOS Mirror is always nice feature, as well as Voice Genie although at least in case of BIOS Mirror it is more nicely if you don't have to use it.
Envy24PT offers a lot of channels and because of this there are six audio connectors in the back plate and because even that is not enough, there is also a separate SPDIF2 Card for digital out and inputs. There is only one COM-port on this panel, which is probably still one too much and also only two USB ports. Let's look if we find more connectors on the bundle.
- 2 Ultra ATA IDE cables
- Serial ATA cable
- Serial ATA power cable
- Floppy drive flat cable
- USB bracket (adds 4 ports)
- Firewire bracket (adds 2 ports)
- COM & game port bracket
- I/O shield
- Manuals and driver CDs
So there are lots of brackets. I wonder where I could possibly put these if I had six PCI add-on cards. Well, lucky thing about high-end motherboards is that you don't need that many add-on cards, so this brings end to this discussion. Odd thing in this motherboard is that it only has two SATA ports, but the thing that it comes shipped with only one SATA cable makes me think whats wrong with Serial ATA? At least they have included one Serial ATA power cable. Hey! Maybe they are carefully advising users to move to external firewire and USB2.0 hard drives.
You got also SPDIF2 Card, which provides S/PDIF out and inputs and also microphone and headphone outputs. So there are together twelve connectors for audio, which must be some kind of record at least. Funniest thing about all this is that when you open motherboard box and get these goods out, you won't be able to put them pack so that cover would close nicely. It is just impossible. Do they use magic or raw force in factory to pack these things to those little boxes or do they shrink boxes afterward, I have no idea.
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