Chaintech A865PE - Page 3

..:: A865PE Layout: Socket Area ::..

From an initial viewpoint, the look of the Chaintech A865PE is, simply put, gorgeous. Chaintech has been known to put out some beautifully crafted motherboards onto the market and the A865PE keeps the ball rolling. The A865PE features a jet black PCB substrate, while the Northbridge heatsink and rear I/O ports shine with a gold tone that accents the motherboard well. Chaintech is one of those manufacturers that we have discussed in the past that likes to develop color schemes for their motherboards, and the A865PE is a clear example of that fact. The board features light blue, almost a sky blue really, DIMM slots, PCI slots, and IDE / Floppy connections that stand out well against the black PCB. The A865PE, merely from a looks standpoint, could be an excellent choice for those looking to show of their hardware. Letís see what the design looks like on a lower level to find out whether Chaintech merely teases us with the aesthetics of the A865PE.

As far as the processor socket portion goes for the A865PE, Chaintech has chosen to opt with the traditional layout, which is a vertically oriented retention mechanism with the core voltage supply components to the left and open real estate to the right. The retention mechanism runs all the way to the top edge of the PCB, and is held down via the usual four small through-pins. If we take a look just under the top edge of this bracket, we find two chips, the Attansic ATXP6 and the Analog Devices ADP3180 Buck Controller. The ADP controller features a six-bit, programmable output for voltages ranging from 0.8375V to 1.600V, the now standard measurements for Intelís VRD / VRM 10.0 specifications. An internal DAC reads the signal sent by the processor, and determines the proper settings for the control to convert the stock 12V input voltage down to the given voltage that is needed. The ADP3180 chip is capable of up to a four phase operational mode, though we see that the A865PE only operates off of a three phase setup.

Along the rear / left portion of the socket area, we find all of the core electrical and magnetic components that make up the core voltage power supply. With some visual examination, we find that Chaintech has opted for both Sanyo and Taiwan Ostor capacitors with capacitance values of 1800uF and 3300uF respectively, both of which are of high quality, ultra low ESR nature. Capacitors are used to resist sudden changes in voltage. This allows for the voltage across the processor to remain within a given tolerance and keep everything protected from sudden voltage spikes. The yellow-core inductors that also call this area home serve to resist any sudden changes in current, yet another important factor. Inductors naturally create a force against the flow of current until they reach equilibrium, so if there is ever a spike in current the inductors will create a force against the current to smooth out the sudden spike. Lastly, we find the three Analog Devices ADP3418 MOSFET driver chips, along with various other items such as the diodes, chip capacitors, and resistors.

The portion of the board to the right of the processor socket is quite clean, given the fact that the core voltage power supply is positioned along the opposite side of the socket. Other than a few surface mounted items, this area is clear of any major obstructions. The main item of importance that can be found here would be the three-pin CPU power fan connection. This is, of course, where youíll want to connect your fan from the CPU heatsink should you need it. Otherwise, a short capacitor here and there dot the landscape, but nothing major comes into view.