Intel D865GBF - Page 3

..:: D865GBF “Bayfield" Layout: Northbridge Area ::..

The Intel i82865G Northbridge is covered by a small aluminum heatsink with no available active cooling. As mentioned previously, I believe that the retail version of this board will indeed ship with the more massive heatsink for the Northbridge. In our tests, this heatsink failed to become more than lukewarm, much as we noticed with the PERL. The PBZ on the other hand put out a rather large amount of heat for some unknown reason. The retail heatsink is equipped with an array of 144 vertical “pins” that are roughly one and a half inches tall. The i82865G Northbridge is located in close proximity to the processor socket with the heatsink coming within around a quarter inch of the CPU retention mechanism. The same can be said for the distance between the AGP slot and the unit. As we can also see, the Northbridge is oriented on a forty five degree angle for shortened trace lengths.

Off to the left of the i82865G Northbridge we come across the system’s voltage regulation chip/s. 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. For those interested, Intel is using an Analog Devices ADP3168 6-Bit Programmable 2-4 Phase Buck Controller. This BC allows selectable voltages ranging from 0.8375V to 1.6V, active current balancing on all output phases, and on-the-fly VID code changes. This area of the board is also home to the four-pin ATX 12V power connector, along with a third three-pin power connector for a rear system case fan. There are more of the smaller capacitors located in this area than we saw with the PERL or PBZ, however they won’t be interfering with anything.

..::D865GBF “Bayfield" Layout: Expansion Slots ::..

The next stop on our trip around the D865GBF is the expansion slot area. The expansion slot setup will do a nice job of pleasing enthusiasts and OEM's with one AGP 4x/8x slot, and a maximum of six PCI slots, three if you purchase the micro-ATX version of the D865GBF. The AGP slot has a built in retention mechanism similar to those we have seen on other Intel boards. When you mount your graphics card, it pushes a small tab down which has a small plastic protrusion that holds the graphics card in place. If you ever choose to remove the graphics card, you simply push down slightly on the tab to disengage it and remove the card. One problem that comes about is that with the placing of the AGP connector, the user will have to install the RAM before installing the graphics adapter. Another minor issue is that there is a small capacitor below the retention clip and when you go to unlock the graphics adapter, you must be very careful not to put too much pretty on the end of you could easily end up bending the capacitor too much. We noticed these same two issues on the PERL. This is more a problem for those whom are constantly swapping cards in and out such as myself, but it is an item of note.

If you take a look below the rear I/O ports along the left hand edge of the motherboard, we come across the chip that we previously spent a good deal of time going over, the 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet Controller. As we can also see, there is a 25.000MHz clock crystal positioned above the 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet Controller. Unlike what we saw with the D875PBZ, the D865GBF does indeed feature built in audio as this board is geared more towards the integrated, one board fits all, consumer rather than a workstation or high performance desktop environment. The rear I/O panel features only three separate mini-plugs for your speaker connections, unlike what we saw with the PERL which featured a more robust onboard audio offering, although both boards utilize the same audio codec. The remaining area below and around the 82547EI Gigabit Ethernet Controller is extremely clean with only a few resistors being the largest items of note.

As we progress further down the PCB, we next come across the main hardware that powers the onboard audio for the D865GBF. The header that is outfitted with two dark blue jumpers is for front panel audio connections. I much prefer this location than I have seen on other motherboards where this header is located higher up on the board. If a user plans on utilizing front panel audio ports, which are usually mounted along the bottom edge of the case, why would the header for the connection be placed high up in the rear of the system? Intel places this header much closer to the audio codec and is much lower like we want. The next item is, of course, the Analog Devices AD1985 audio codec. As we can see, the grey auxiliary input connector is located between PCI slots two and three, while the black CD audio input connector is located between PCI slots three and four. Design wise this is more similar to the PBZ than the PERL.