ABIT AA8XE mainboard review
Posted by Hilbert Hagedoorn on: 06/07/2005 06:00 AM [ 0 comment(s) ]
When choosing a FSB speed for the CPU you choose, be aware that you'll need to purchase memory capable of this faster speed. For example, many people are enticed by the remarkably low priced memory, yet you need to sync your memory to your CPU's FSB. First of all, all mainboard these days use either DDR or DDR2 memory, today's product needs DDR2 memory.
In our case we know that the CPU we have uses the 800 MHz bus so we're going to need DDR2 memory rated at the least at PC3200 (400MHz ) PC4200. Since we are going to overclock we want at the very least 533 MHz DDR2 memory in the rig so that we know it can scale with the FSB. Just divide the CPU FSB by 2 and you are set to go on your default memory frequency.
Make sure you buy two sticks of identical memory so that you can have a 'dual-channel' memory configuration, which effectively double's the memory bandwidth and the Pentium 4 loves that bandwidth for sure.
925XE Chipset Details
|Front Side Bus||
1066MHz, 800MHz FSB Support
|Socket||LGA775 Processor Package|
|Memory Bus||Dual Channel DDR2 400 or DDR2 533Mhz RAM Supported|
PCI Express: Support for PCI Express x16 for Graphics and PCI Express x1
|Storage Technology Support||
Integrated Serial ATA Controller: Supports up to 4 150MB/s Serial ATA Drives
|Integrated Audio||Intel High Definition Audio|
Support for Intel HyperThreaded CPU's
The mainboard itself then. What a lovely sight it is. We'll have a quick overview of the more important features of the 925XE chipset and skip the less important things like USB/FireWire, Serial ATA 150, that awesome 1 Gigabit LAN, etc (since these are common to most chipsets now). This chipset is basically 100% the same as your 925X chipset, but now has added support for the 1066MHz Front Side Bus.
When you look closely at the CPU position you'll of course notice the new Socket LGA (Land Grid Array) 775. Back in June Intel needed to make that move as they ran into limitations with the Socket FCPGA (Flip Chip Pin Grid Array) 478 design. The 775 based processor means nothing else then 755 pins... ehm whoah wait... but these pins are not on the processor anymore! It's completely different as your CPU does not have the pins anymore, instead your mainboard CPU socket now has them. To prevent damage during transport everything needs to be well covered. Personally I am not at all a fan of Socket 775 from a simple practical point of view. The pins are easily damaged. That's all I'm saying.
The reference board includes Intel's South Bridge, the ICH6R for the Lions 'roar' factor. It is a slightly more mature feature over the standard ICH6 as it contains important additional RAID features that sport your standard RAID 0 / 1 features.
The ABit AA8XE mainboard. armed with an orange PCB and stacked with a lot of extra features we are taking a look at the AA8XE which of course is based on Intel's 925 XE mainboard chipset. This is the "Vanilla" version as you might call it as there is a version out with a 'Third Eye' and also the Fatality version.