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Date: January 14th, 2004
Article by: Roger (Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Albatron
<--Shop for the ALBATRON KX18D PRO II NFORCE2 MOTHERBOARD Here


ALBATRON CORPORATE PROFILE

It would be the beginning of 2002 before the name Albatron would first be heard along corporate corridors, but one must go back to 1984 to trace the true birth of the company. Starting out as Chun Yun Electronics, the company was primarily a display manufacturer, producing wide-screen multimedia monitors, rear projection systems, TVs, and plasma displays. The change in name to Albatron signalled the dawning of a new product line and a new direction.

From our initiation, it was clear to us that to succeed we would need to be strong. This strength comes to us through our personnel. In screening applicants, we look for people who show creativity, passion and the entrepreneurial spirit. We expect and ask a lot from our personnel but then we give a lot in return. Albatron operates on a platform of mutual respect and understanding that flows from upper management to project leaders, from engineers to sales and marketing specialists, from production personnel to all the support people, and back around.

Our greatest focus and driving force is you our customer. We consider it our duty to deliver the products you want at the right time and provide support when you need it. But above all, we're here to ensure that your evolving needs--no matter how small--are taken care of.


PRODUCT INTRODUCTION

When it comes to selecting a motherboard to support a 32-bit AMD processor, the leading choice has long been one which sports an NVIDIA nForce 2 Ultra 400 chipset. Unfortunately, VIA has not been able to offer much competition.

The nForce 2 is a very advanced, integrated solution in that it uses platform processors (eg. the Northbridge and Southbridge). On some models, you'll find an Integrated Graphics Processor (IGP), which is a GeForce 4 MX 440, in addition to an 8X AGP port. This dual 64-bit IGP is often enough for the average user.

Northbridge:

The System Platform Processor (SPP) supports 200/266/333/400+ (via overclocking) Front Side Bus (FSB) AMD Athlon XP processors. The SPP manages to pump through a whopping 6.4GB/second of memory bandwidth via dual channel DDR 400 64-bit memory controllers.

Southbridge:

Finally, the Media and Communications Processor/Turbo (MCP or MCP-T) powers your LAN/WAN, Ultra ATA 133 connectors, IEEE 1394a/Firewire, USB 2.0, and audio using NVIDIA's proprietary SoundStorm, the 1st ever on-board sound to support EAX audio as well as certified Dolby Digital. It uses the Realtek ALC650 audio codec to produce the very best sound available on-board currently.

NVIDIA's SoundStorm performs fantastically, delivering crystal clear sound. I hooked up this unit to a Koss Dolby Digital 5.1 Receiver/DVD Player and was blown away by its performance. Movies soundtracks played from the computer were as clear as those played on the Koss system. Audio CDs and MP3s were equally good, and the games rocked. Especially Need For Speed: Underground, which amazed me.

The Southbridge also uses AMD Hyper-Transport Consortium technology.

From the AMD site:

· "HyperTransport technology is a high-speed, low latency, point-to-point link designed to increase the communication speed between integrated circuits in computers, servers, embedded systems, and networking and telecommunications equipment up to 48 times faster than some existing technologies.

· HyperTransport technology helps reduce the number of buses in a system, which can reduce system bottlenecks and enable today's faster microprocessors to use system memory more efficiently in high-end multiprocessor systems.

· HyperTransport technology is designed to:

o Provide significantly more bandwidth than current technologies
o Use low-latency responses and low pin counts
o Maintain compatibility with legacy PC buses while being extensible to new SNA (Systems Network Architecture) buses."

Today I will be reviewing the Albatron KX18D Pro II motherboard. Albatron debuted in 2002 and quickly made a name for itself as a great company with fantastic products. It has long been known that their motherboards are supposed to be among the easiest and safest to overclock. I'd like to say that's not the only reason I'm excited about reviewing this product… however it is at the top of the list.

To be honest though, it's a pretty long list. Considering everything that's on this board (Dual BIOS, Serial ATA Raid controller, dual channel DDR, 6 PCI slots, Firewire, USB2.0 - 6 of them, MCP-T, active cooled Northbridge, etc…), I'm hard pressed to pick a favorite.

 

 


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