Albatron PX875P Pro - Page 5

..:: PX875P Pro Layout: Southbridge Area ::..

As we progress over towards the Southbridge portion of the PCB, we next find several headers and other similar items oriented along the bottom edge of the PCB. This positioning is excellent as it allows for easy routing of wires and gives the board a much neater look overall, not to mention makes findings a header a much easier task on the fly. The main headers that are in this portion are two of the three USB 2.0 headers, a three-pin power connector for a front chassis fan, and the front panel header for all of the necessary system LED’s, switches, etc.

Located above this long string of headers, we next find the one thing that I don’t particularly care for as far as the design of the PX875P Pro goes, the location of the onboard floppy connector. This connector is far too low on the board for anyone with a larger case. We’ve been seeing a trend of manufacturers moving the floppy connector farther and farther down the PCB. Granted, I don’t use a floppy drive, nor do most users that I know with updated hardware, but nevertheless for those who do need it, an extra long cable might be needed to reach the connector. And let us not forget the problems with airflow that this could cause, especially given that the board supports the “Prescott” core Pentium 4 processors.

The area around the ICH5-R Southbridge is quite clean. The two SATA connections that are natively supported via the ICH5-R are located along the right hand side of the chip, along with the system battery and a bright red jumper. This jumper is for clearing the CMOS should you “accidentally” overclock the system a little too far, set some memory timings that are a wee too aggressive, or some other mishap. To the left of the ICH5-R, we find the last USB 2.0 header. This isn’t in a stellar position, but given the amount of ports supported by the rear I/O and expansion bracket, it likely won’t end up in use in most cases anyway. Near the system battery, we find a block of two inductors, as well as two identical capacitors for each of the inductors.

The last corner of the PCB is the portion around the DIMM slots. As we can see from the image above, Albatron has chosen a rather unique color scheme for the DIMM slots. One channel is represented by a lime green color while the other is represented by purple. These DIMM slots are located high enough on the PCB surface that they will not interfere with the installation or removal of a RAM due to the graphics card. From our experience, due to the location of the four-pin 12V power connector, removing RAM from the first DIMM slot can be a bit difficult. The IDE connectors are oriented vertically along the side of the board, and are in an ideal position as is the main ATX power connection located just above them. This positioning will allow for better airflow over the processor portion of the motherboard since the thick cabling doesn’t need to be routed around.

Overall, for our first experience with the design of an Albatron motherboard we were quite pleased. Aesthetically, we feel it needs a little work but to each his own as far as appearance goes. Layout wise, the only really disappointment we came across was the location of the floppy connector way on the bottom of the PCB. This has the potential to make those users with large cases lives a little rougher than they should be, and adds to the problem of blocking airflow into the case and over the processor. Due to the heat output of “Prescott” and the fact the PX875P Pro supports it, this issue of heat is ever more important. With this exception, we found the general layout of the PX875P Pro to be excellent, better than many that we have seen enter our hands as of late.