Chaintech A865PE - Page 8

..:: A865PE Review Conclusion ::..

And finally we have reached the culmination of your being, okay maybe not, but at least it’s the most read page of the entire review, heh. Well, for those of you just looking to get the down low on the Chaintech A865PE, this is the section we, as always, like make a large conglomeration of our various conclusions throughout the review from the various sections. To start off, we’ll quickly cover system stability which was excellent. We’ve been running this board ragged for some time now, and it has never even experienced the slightest of hiccups. I was quite impressed by the level of stability we saw even with the system overclocked to some pretty high levels.

The A865PE’s package has several strong points, along with a weak point or two. From a hardware inclusion standpoint, we were a bit disappointed at the lack of a minor item such as the second SATA data / power cable set. Chaintech offers some gorgeous custom cabling for the A865PE, and it would be even better if they would provide yet another SATA cable for those users with multiple drives. This would only add to the theme of the motherboard, and to the system as a whole. The documentation that Chaintech has provided is superb. All of the various inclusions that they have chosen to provide are detailed in a well rounded look, especially with the BIOS options and layout of the A865PE. Given that this is the end of the road for the Apogee line and that the Zenith Value Edition products will feature less included options, only time will tell what Chaintech will decide to remove to cut costs.

I can’t say enough about the designed of the A865PE. Given that this is our first experience working with a motherboard from Chaintech, I am quite impressed. Not only has Chaintech managed to push a well designed product onto the market, but they have done it with some serious styling. We’ve seen motherboards with color that look like paint was splattered all over, but the A865PE breaks this trend and features a gorgeous gold, black, and blue theme. I have no real qualms about the layout of the A865PE. Chaintech has included three separate three-pin power connections for fans, both front and rear and the main 12V ATX power connection is located in the optimal position. The only dislike I have about the design is the low height of the IDE connections. Otherwise, this is one of the best designs to enter our hands over the past few months.

We were pleased with the BIOS that Chaintech has chosen to utilize with the A865PE. Given that the board isn’t geared towards the real high-end crowd, we can deal with the fact that there are only the usual four memory timing selections available. The voltages that Chaintech should be more than enough for both “Prescott” and “Northwood” solutions, although with “Prescott” I noticed a problem that has popped up on several motherboards. I usually undervolt the processor slightly to cut down on heat, and have found that in may cases, the boards will all take whatever selection I set the VCore for, and end up being .05V lower than expected. This is just to serve as a notice for you to watch out for this issue. Otherwise, the BIOS offers all of the necessary items, and is well organized.

Over the last few weeks, we hadn’t had much luck with our “Prescott” supporting motherboards and their capabilities as far as the topic of overclocking goes. I’m more than happy to say that the Chaintech A865PE is the first motherboard to enter our graces in some time that is fully capable of running at a FSB frequency of roughly 1.10GHz. We have been running the system for some time now at this speed and have not experienced any problems whatsoever. Whether it is heaving gaming, or crunching serious numbers with Folding @ Home, this A865PE has been able to take the 1.10GHz speed without a thought. We attempted to reach 1.20GHz but it just wasn’t going to happen as the system failed to boot. The highest stable FSB frequency we achieved was roughly 1112MHz. Needless to say, the Chaintech A865PE provides more than enough power to overclock anything you throw at it. Mileage will, of course, vary from system to system depending on hardware.

When we factor in the current pricing, and we have seen prices running as low as $86.00 excluding shipping, the Chaintech A865PE is probably the best “Prescott” supporting motherboard that we have worked with up to this point. The A865PE puts up some strong computation numbers, but does lag behind a little when it comes to real world gaming. When you factor in the both the PX875P Pro and D875PBZ, both board that were able to best the A865PE for gaming, both run in the $120+ range, you can see just how much of a steal the A865PE is. Not only does this board offer performance, excellent sustainable overclocking, and gorgeous looks, it’s also a hell of a buy for $86.00 or so. Our first experience with a Chaintech motherboard was certainly a good one. We’ll see if Chaintech can mange to top itself in the future with the debut of their Zenith Value Edition line or products. The Chaintech A865PE is the first motherboard in some time that we feel warrants the Editor’s Choice Award for a combination of design, performance, and pricing. If you’re looking for a solid motherboard that won’t break the bank, make sure to put the A865PE at the top of your list.