Intel D845PEBT2 - Page 4

..:: Layout: Northbridge Area ::..

The Intel i82845PE Northbridge is covered by a very bulky and possibly somewhat excessive silver heatsink equipped with no active cooling. When you take into consideration the immense size of the heatsink itself thatís used for cooling the Northbridge, itís no wonder that it does not come equipped with a fan attached as it really does not need anything of the sort. During testing the Northbridge heatsink barely became lukewarm to the touch, if that. The Northbridge is positioned very closely to the bottom portion of the heatsink retention mechanism, and thus the heatsink itself is in very close proximity to it also. The area around the Northbridge is fairly clean with a few capacitors here and there, however you wonít need to be worrying about adding any aftermarket cooling. Whyís that? Well, to put it plainly, the heatsink is actually soldered to the board. If you take a look at the feet that come from the corners of the heatsink, youíll notice the small circular ďpins.Ē These pins go completely through the mainboard and are soldered on the rear of the PCB. Needless to say, donít look forward to adding any of your high performance heatsinks or thermal paste to this motherboard unless you want to have a hell of a time doing it.

Off to the left of the i82845PE Northbridge we come across the systemís voltage regulation chip. This item is of primary interest to overclockers as many may choose to volt mod the board to allow for a higher voltage to be sent to the processor. However, considering this is after all an Intel brand motherboard with only limited overclocking capabilities, I doubt anyone will be attempting to do so anytime soon. Here we also come across the bottom of the long row of electrical components that are on the left side of the processor socket area. We can also see the four-pin core voltage connector is also in this general vicinity.

..:: Layout: Expansion Slots ::..

The next stop on our trip around the D845PEBT2 is of course, the expansion slot area. The expansion slot setup for our sample motherboard will do a very nice good job of pleasing enthusiasts and with one AGP 4x slot, five PCI slots, and no CNR slot. There is another version of the PEBT2 that does come equipped with a CNR slot, although Iíd assume that those versions are geared more towards the OEM market than anything as most performance users rarely use that type of slot. This setup should also please OEMís. Weíll start off towards the top with the AGP slot and work our way down to the bottom of the board as is the norm.

If you take a look below the rear I/O ports to the extreme left of the AGP slot, youíll notice a rectangular chip. This is the Cypress CY283460C Clock Generator. Unlike what we have seen in previous motherboard reviews, Intel has chosen not to place the front panel audio header is this area, instead placing it farther down the board in a more favorable position in my opinion. The AGP slot comes with a rather unique locking mechanism that I havenít come across in some time. Unlike the usual clip, this locking mechanism latches onto the slot with a small protruded tab on the end of the AGP slot.

The first main item that we come across in the PCI slot area is located between PCI Slot #1 and PCI Slot #2. Here we come across the Intel DA82562ET 10/100 Ethernet Controller which of course provides support for the integrated LAN. There is also a small 25MHz clock crystal positioned directly above the chip. Below the chip we can see the solder points for another relatively small chip or other electrical device approximately the size of an AC 97í codec.

Located just below the Intel DA82562ET 10/100 Ethernet Controller, and in-between PCI Slot #3 and PCI Slot #4, we come across a single, black four-pin CD Audio In header. This is the header where youíll want to attach the audio cable coming from your CD / DVD-ROM to. A little farther down the board to the left of PCI Slot #5, we come across the Analog Devices AD1980 audio codec surround by a mass of small resistors. If we take a further look down the board we finally come across the front panel audio header. If you plan on utilizing the front panel audio option, youíll want to remove the various jumpers and connect your front panel device to this header as one would assume. I much prefer this header to be in such a position along the bottom of the board as it helps to avoid furthering the mess of cables that are already in the system. Below the bottom PCI Slot, we can see the solder points for the CNR Slot, along with the chip that supports the option for IEEE1394a support.