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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 HERE

 

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 run properly.



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 (133Mb/sec).


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.

 

 

 


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