Date: August 24th, 2004
Article by: Nathan Glentworth
(Owner, Head Editor & Hardware Reviewer)
Product was donated by: Intel
<--SHOP FOR THE INTEL D925XCV LGA775 PENTIUM 4 ALDERWOOD MOTHERBOARD
PRODUCT WALKTHROUGH & PICTORIAL (cont'd)
Included with the extensive software package is Intel's
Desktop Control Center. When used in conjunction with the fan and hardware
monitoring, you can raise and lower your fan speeds and accurately monitor
temperatures, memory usage, processor load and voltages from the comfort
of your desktop. Some users like to use third party monitoring software
but in this case I would stick to this software suite for your monitoring
needs. It is very easy to use and accurate.
If you don't need to actively change fan speeds, you can
also use the separate included Intel Desktop Utilities Suite for passive
hardware monitoring. Each will work very well.
Now while we are on hardware monitoring, I do have to
say that the new LGA775 processors do run much cooler than the previous
batch of 478pin Prescotts. In this case example and for this complete
review, I used a LGA775 3.4Ghz Extreme Edition for testing and at idle
with a constant climate controlled 25c room temperature, it only maybe
hit 31c while the cooler was running at a slow and silent 2000-2200rpms.
When bumped up to full load, the fan speed increased by a measly 200rpms
and kept the processor at 45-47c. Needless to say, the hot prescott
days are gone for good and to that I raise a toast........errr.......I
mean.......hmmmmm, poor choice of words there.
Moving along, the new 925X northbridge chipset was cooled
via this large passive heatsink that only got mildly warm to the touch
when testing and benchmarking. A good case with decent ventilation is
all you will need. And please don't just throw this motherboard in a
case with no case fans. All motherboards require air circulation to
To the right of the northbridge was the 8.5Gb/sec Dual
Channel DDR2 slots which are orientated exactly like the Canterwood
and Springdale boards we saw in the previous generation. To install
your DDR in Dual Channel configuration, you will need two exact stick
of ram and the should be placed in the color coordinated slots.
To the right of the memory slots you will also note the
main ATX power supply connector along with the single IDE and floppy
connections. This board only allows two PATA connections. If you were
planning on transferring all you IDE hard drives, you just won't have
the connectivity to do so. This will be a good time to upgrade your
hard drives anyway and take advantage of Intel's onboard SATA RAID controller.
But more on that a little later.
Just to let you know, if you are planning on installing
a larger videocard like the Nvidia 6800GT in this review, make sure
you install the memory first or you will be confronted with an installation
obstruction. The larger videocards block the lower DIMM fasteners making
memory installation without removing the videocard impossible. Although
not a huge concern, I just wanted to let you know before you decided
to hot swap out your memory.
If you use the above photo as a reference and moving from
upper left to lower right, you have the one PCI Express X16 (8.0Gb/sec)
which is for your new PCI Express videocard (No AGP support) followed
by two conventional PCI slots. Below the top PCI slots are two PCI Express
x1 slots (500Mb/sec) for the newer and smaller add-on cards coming onto
the market and taking up the bottom is again two standard PCI slots
As I have stated time and time again, motherboards do
not need six extra card peripheral card slots anymore. With today's
computers popping out of the box with everything onboard, the need for
this many extra add-on cards is just not needed. As you can see above,
removing the two lower PCI slots would shorten the board by a good 2-3
inches. I hope this will change in the future to lower the overall size
of our computers.
Moving to the bottom section of the motherboard you will
note that the ICH6R southbridge is passively cooled. The 925X's southbridge
handles everything other than the direct DDR2 memory and PCI Express
X16 graphics and therefore does get rather hot if you are benchmarking
a RAID array while playing a round of Doom 3. At first I wondered why
they installed the heatsink until I felt the it with my finger after
two hours worth of testing. This chip gets remarkably warm and cooling
is definitely needed. This adds to overall system stability and your
hard drive's data integrity when communicating with the northbridge.