Albatron PX875P Pro - Page 4

..:: PX875P Pro Layout: Northbridge Area ::..

As I mentioned a little earlier on, the first thing that struck me as I opened the box was the Northbridge heatsink. This large, orangish heatsink is held down to the i875P Northbridge core via four hooks. This type of hold-down mechanism was popular on some of the earlier i845 chipset motherboards, but as of late we havenít seen many implementations like this. The heatsink is affixed to the Northbridge via a thermal pad which will allow for adequate cooling and thermal transfer. As you can see from the image above, the Northbridge itself is oriented on a 45 degree angle, while the heatsink itself is not.

Along the left hand side of the Northbridge is where we find the bulk of the remaining components dealing with clock control and voltage generation in this portion of the motherboard. This portion of the board is home to the ICS clock generation chip, a 14.3MHz clock crystal, several capacitors including one large 2200uF KZG series capacitor, and several other small chip capacitors and resistors. This area also houses the auxiliary three-pin fan connector. This connector could be used with an after market Northbridge cooler, or perhaps with a rear exhaust fan should it have a three-pin power cable. Other than these few items, the area around the i875P Northbridge is quite clean.

..:: PX875P Pro Layout: Expansion Slots ::..

The PX875P Pro features the typical expansion slot setup that is commonly seen on just about every ATX motherboard on the market with a single AGP4X/8X slot, and five PCI 2.3 compliant slots. The AGP slot for the PX875P Pro is blue in color, with a long, white locking mechanism. This is probably my favorite type of locking mechanism for the AGP slot in that instead of having to push down on a tab, all that is needed is to slide the lock to the right and unseat the card. Granted, both measures are simple, but when there are capacitors around the tab, things can get a little too close for comfort at times. This isnít an all too common implementation, but I enjoy it when I do find a board that is equipped in such as manner.

The first set of components that we find located within the expansion slot portion of the PCB are the Winbond W83627THF and the Realtek ALC655 chip. The Winbond chip holds the responsibility of providing the motherboard with legacy connection support, such as the Serial, Parallel, and PS/2 ports, along with handling the temperature, and other system health related readings. The Realtek chip provides the PX875P Pro with six-channel audio support, along with some additional digital audio features that are enabled via a rear expansion bracket, an optional accessory. Weíve experienced some quality sound from boards featuring these Realtek chips, and the PX875P Pro didnít fail to disappoint.

The next two components that we come across are the 3Com Marvell 10/100 Ethernet controller chip, along with the system BIOS. One feature that seems to be missing from the package of the PX875P Pro has to be an option for Gigabit Ethernet support. Given that the bulk of home users will never be able to fully use or attain Gigabit transfer rates, it doesnít truly hamper the PX875P Pro all that much, though some users may look over the board if they need Gigabit Ethernet type capabilities. The PX875P Pro is outfitted with a Phoenix BIOS chip covered with the usual holographic labeling sticker.

Along the bottom edge of the PCB, we find the remaining core components for the PX875P Pro that are located in the expansion slot portion of the board. We find that the front panel audio, IrDA, S/PDIF, and CD-In audio headers are all located in an excellent position. I wouldíve preferred to see the CD-In header located farther up the PCB, but the front panel audio header is just where I like it to be, low on the PCB and out of the way. The S/PDIF header is also in a nice position as those who opt for the external audio bracket can simply load it in the bottom slot and find they only need to run the cable a miniscule distance to engage the ports.