by September 2, 2004 0 comments

We have been talking about the technology changes happening in hardware, and how they can affect you. Finally, we have a product that reflects these changes. We received Intel P4 3.6 GHz, D925XCV motherboard for review that now has a different pin architecture for the P4 processor, a new form factor, a PCI-Express graphics connector, DDR II, onboard RAID and Gigabit Ethernet LAN. A comparison of the two is given in a separate article Changing Hardware Architecture (page 18). Here, we’ll focus on the features and performance evaluation.

The board has 800/533 MHz FSB and supports dual-channel memory architecture (DDR2 553 or 400 DDR). The memory is upgradable to 4 GB (maximum) in dual channel. It doesn’t have onboard graphics and external graphics have been shifted from AGP to a PCI Express 16X connector. Plus, there are two PCI Express X1 slots. It supports 7.1-channel audio, having digital S/PDIF out connectors with both optical and coaxial ports. The board supports four SATA channels, which support RAID levels 0/1. There are eight USB 2.0, one FireWire and one Marvell Yukon 88E8050 PCI Express Gigabit Ethernet port. The board also supports ASF (Alert Standard Support) for monitoring and configuring the system remotely. The chipset supports Intel’s wireless connect, which will WiFi enable it, but for that you need to put in a separate Intel PRO/Wireless 2225GB wireless network cards.

We tested the board with 1 GB of DDR2 533 memory, an Asus 600XT PCI Express graphics card with 128 MB DDR video memory, and a 7200-RPM SerialATA hard drive. The performance was compared with the earlier generation Intel desktop board, namely the D875PBZ (page 136, PCQuest, July 2003). This had been tested with the hot configuration at that time, which was a P4 3 GHz, 512 MB DDR RAM, a 4x GeForce4 Ti 4600 display with 128 MB VRAM, and 7200-RPM PATA hard drive. Due to a complete change of hardware, a direct comparison is not possible, but the results are shown in the table. An interesting thing to note is that there isn’t much improvement in the performance of the new configuration. The new board shows a 7% improvement in performance in Quake III Arena, and3% in 3DMark 2001. This is possibly because the hardware is new and applications haven’t been optimized for it.

Motherboard Content Creation Winstone 2001 Quake III Arena 3DMark 2001 SE (640*480*16)
Winstone Units (640*480*16) fps 3DMarks
Intel 865GBF 102.4 398.3 18,321
Intel 875PBZ 102.8 413 18,832
Intel D925 XCV 105.2 442 19,461

The bottom line: The new board looks very promising with all the new features. It has a very competitive price as well.

Sushil Oswal

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