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Albatron PX865PE ProII i865PE Springdale Motherboard

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Abstract: We expect the Albatron PX865PE Pro II will have a lot of «goodies» as well, and hopefully offer a little more in terms of overclocking.

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May 22 2003   C. Sun  

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Albatron PX865PE Pro II

Albatron PX865PE Pro II i865PE Springdale Motherboard

With the release
of mainstream i865 chipsets today there will be soon an
influx of new Pentium 4 motherboards on the market from which to choose. Albatron
have never been one to sit ideally by and pass on a
technology advancement; so grab a coffee and get ready to follow long as
we test drive the all new Albatron PX865PE Pro II

The PX865PE Pro II is of course based
on Intel’s freshly launched i865PE Springdale chipset, which coincidentally enough, actually launched in
spring. Boasting support for 400MHz, 533MHz and 800MHz FSB based Pentium
4’s (Northwood or Prescott core) processors, the Springdale chipset forms the basis
of Intel’s ‘mainstream’ dual channel DDR chipset strategy. The only downside to Springdale is that the i865 no
longer carries on support for older ‘Williamette’ based Pentium 4 processors, or
even socket 478 Celeron CPUs for that matter.

After testing the AOpen i865 AX4SPE MAX
motherboard we were generally impressed with what it brought to the table.
Stock performance was good, and the board was loaded to the gills
with features. We expect the Albatron PX865PE Pro II will have a lot
of «goodies» as well, and hopefully offer a little more in terms of

In terms of the extra’s, Albatron pack in Serial
ATA/Serial ATA RAID (ICH5R, RAID-0 only) and an additional Ultra/133 Promise IDE RAID
controller (PDC20276), an Intel 547EI CSA Gigabit NIC, two IEEE 1394 ports, dual
BIOS’s and even a 7.1 audio
soundcard (software codec)!

In addition to the integrated
peripherals, the PX865PE Pro II also includes five PCI slots for your
future expansion needs. The four DDR DIMM slots will hold up to 4GB of
PC1600/2100/2700/3200 DDR RAM. Springdale is a dual channel DDR board, so the DIMM
slots have been colour coded to help users install the memory properly.
Each pair of identical memory modules is installed in one set of the
colour sockets (say purple),

albatron px865pe pro ii

Ships with the following:

  • 3x IDE ATA66/100 Cable
  • FDD Cable
  • Serial ATA Cable
  • Serial ATA HDD Power Cable
  • Driver CD
  • InterVideo WinCinema Pro CD
  • Promise RAID Driver CD
  • Promise RAID Users Manual
  • User Manual
  • DIY Installation Guide
  • I/O Back Plate
  • Optical Audio Bracket
  • Four Port USB 2. 0 Bracket
  • IEEE 1394 Bracket
  • Game/Serial Port Bracket
  • It’s basic marketing 101 that adding flash to a
    product will attract potential customers, and to that effect the PX865PE Pro II does this
    in couple ways. The most visible aspect is the copper northbridge heatsink which
    cools the i865 chip. Behind the translucent spinning fan are a set of colourful
    blinking LEDs that turn on and off in a pattern and should look pretty cool
    behind a clear case panel.

    The layout of the PX865PE Pro II motherboard is nice;
    the main 20-pin ATX power and IDE channels are at the best possible location to
    the right of the DIMM slots where there is little chance of them getting in
    the way. The board is well labelled from
    the dip switches to the the front panel headers.

    I wish
    more manufacturers would include a DIY installation guide that’s as thorough as
    the one that comes with the PX865PE Pro II. It makes the motherboard installation
    very simple and it’s certainly much easier to work with when bent
    over an open case than a manual. For the newbie overclockers out there,
    Albatron include a small section explaining overclocking that’s quite detailed, yet easy
    enough for even a novice users to understand.

    Because Pentium 4 processors rely on the 12V
    line for their power, Albatron places the ATX12V line near the MOSFETs so
    the processor can get the cleanest signal.

    New network

    The new 196 PBGA Intel 82547EI 10/100/1000 Base-T Gigabit LAN chip is one of the first
    CSA based Ethernet adapters on the market. The small BGA
    chipset does not require any form of cooling as it works fine with zero

    82547EI has a direct 16 bit DDR bus that runs at 133 MHz and has a maximum bandwidth of 266MB/s, just enough
    to keep a fully moving Gigabit NIC happy (Maximum bandwidth for a Gigabit NIC running full
    duplex is 2Gb/s or 250 MB/s). This also free’s up the PCI bus
    for the other system devices. This system potentially allows for better system performance when all the devices
    in the system-bus are under load. More on CSA in a moment.
    Next let’s have a look at the new ICH5R southbridge.

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    Contents of Article: Albatron PX865PE Pro II

     Pg 1. 
    — Albatron PX865PE ProII i865PE Springdale Motherboard
     Pg 2. 

    The i865PE, CSA and ICH5R
     Pg 3. 

    Overclocking and BIOS
     Pg 4. 

    System Spec’s and Benchmarks
     Pg 5. 

    Benchmarks: Winbench 99 and SiSoft Sandra 2003
     Pg 6.  

    Benchmarks: PCMark2002, 3DMark2001SE
     Pg 7. 

    Benchmarks: Quake III Arena, UT2003
     Pg 8. 

    i865PE, a worthy successor to the i845


    Intel’s Springdale appears in new PCs

    Several PC vendors Wednesday released systems based on new technology from Intel, including new processors and a new chipset.

    IBM, Gateway, Dell, HP and Acer America were among the vendors introducing PCs with the new technologies. Most of the PCs will use Intel’s Springdale chipset, now known as the 865G. The new chipset supports Pentium 4 processors with an 800-MHz front-side bus, and systems with DDR400 (double data rate) memory.

    As part of Wednesday’s announcement, Intel is also bringing its hyperthreading technology to slower processors in its Pentium 4 product line. Hyperthreading is a technique that convinces a system’s operating system that two processors are present on a single-processor system, causing it to send more instructions to that processor. Prior to Wednesday’s announcement, hyperthreading was only available on the 3.06 GHz and 3 GHz Pentium 4 chips, and Intel’s Xeon server chips.

    New Pentium 4 processors at 2.4 GHz, 2.6 GHz and 2.8 GHz now support both hyperthreading and 800-MHz front-side buses. The new chips are priced at $178, $218, and $278, respectively, in quantities of 1,000 units.

    IBM’s ThinkCentre S50 and M50 are designed for corporate customers considering enterprise-wide PC replacements or new deployments, said Dilip Bhatia, worldwide segment marketing manager for IBM. IBM will also release the A50p, a desktop designed for media applications, on Wednesday.

    The new PCs were designed with IT managers in mind, Bhatia said. IBM will guarantee that drivers and other components will remain stable for at least a year, and the PCs will ship with ImageUltra, the company’s software for managing images on a network’s PCs. IBM will also include an improved version of its Rapid Restore feature in the new PCs, and customers can opt for an integrated security chip that can store important data away from the hard drive.

    The S50 is a small desktop, measuring 12. 2 inches wide by 14.1 inches deep by 3.3 inches high (31cm by 36.5cm by 8.4cm), when set up horizontally. It is made completely out of steel, and all components such as the hard drive or system board can be removed without tools, Bhatia said. A base configuration with a 2.0GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128M bytes of memory, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs US$729.

    IBM’s M50 is available in three shapes: tower, desktop, or small desktop, Bhatia said. It comes with enhanced support for Linux distributions from Red Hat and SuSE Linux AG. A base configuration with a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256M bytes of memory, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs $979.

    The A50p is designed for smaller businesses interested in media applications, Bhatia said. A base configuration with a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4, 128M bytes of RAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs $699. Later this year, IBM will release a similar model called the A30 at a lower starting price of $469, Bhatia said.

    IBM will also release four new monitors Wednesday: two 17-inch flat-panel monitors and two cathode ray tube (CRT) displays. The L170 and L170p flat panels are immediately available for $499 and $539, respectively. The 17-inch C170 and 19-inch C190 CRT monitors will be available on June 6 for $189 and $249, respectively.

    HP is planning a new business strategy along with the release of two desktops and a thin-client device Wednesday. It plans to sell to its enterprise customers bundled products and services that focus on three main areas, reducing total cost of ownership, improving security and integrating mobile and wireless devices, said Tore Fretheim, manager of cross-platform solutions in worldwide marketing for HP’s Personal Systems Group.

    HP’s two new desktops, the d530 or d330, make use of the new Intel processors and chipsets. The d530 comes in three different models: small form factor, ultra-slim desktop and convertible minitower, which costs $30 extra. A typical configuration of the small form factor d530 with the new 2. 6-GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive costs $1,019. The d330, in a base configuration, costs $499 with a 2.2-GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive.

    Customers can choose a fixed-configuration d530 desktop as part of the company’s PC Migration Service Bundle. That model, with a 2.6-GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256M bytes of memory, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-RW drive, costs $909. As part of the migration service, HP will install the PC, set it up, and remove an old PC for an extra $110 per PC.

    And just like a used car dealer, HP will offer customers until July 31 a cash refund of up to $220 for desktops or $750 for notebooks to trade in their old PCs for new HP models.

    HP also unveiled a thin-client device Wednesday as part of its enterprise announcement. Sources had indicated that HP was planning to launch blade PCs, but the t5700 is a traditional thin client that stores all its data on a server. Blade PCs are thin, rack-mounted PCs that store data on individual user-controlled units housed in an IT department’s server room.

    The t5700 comes with a 1-GHz TM5800 Crusoe processor from Transmeta, the first time a manufacturer has used a Transmeta processor in a thin client, said Michael DeNeffe, director of marketing for Transmeta. Many companies like thin clients because of their easy management features and security, but users are skeptical about the performance of thin clients, he said.

    The new HP thin client addresses those issues by providing an experience as close to a desktop as possible in a thin client, DeNeffe said. A base configuration with the TM5800, 192M bytes of flash memory, 256M bytes of DDR SDRAM, and a Rage XC graphics card from ATI Technologies, costs $599.

    Gateway included the new Intel chipset in an update to its Gateway 500S PC, which is a consumer machine. The Poway, Calif., company plans to bring the new chipset to its business desktops in early June. Consumers can purchase the 500S now for $999 with a hyperthreading-enabled 2.4 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor, 256M bytes of DDR SDRAM (synchronous dynamic RAM), an 80G-byte hard drive, a DVD-ROM/CD-RW drive, and a 17-inch monitor.

    The company will offer a hyperthreading-enabled 2.6 GHz Pentium 4 processor with its 500X and 500XL desktops starting Wednesday.

    Dell updated several desktops with the new Intel technology. The company released the Dimension 4600C, the smallest Dimension desktop the company has released in the U.S. It is 60% smaller than the 4600, which was also released Wednesday as an update to the Dimension 4550. A typical configuration of the Dimension 4600 priced at $1,129 comes with a 2.8 GHz Pentium 4 processor, 512M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 60G-byte hard drive, a DVD-ROM drive, and a 17-inch CRT monitor.

    A base configuration of the 4600C comes with a 2.4 GHz Pentium 4 processor, 256M bytes of DDR333 memory, a 30G-byte hard drive, a CD-ROM drive, and a 15-inch flat-panel monitor for $999.

    The Round Rock, Texas, company also released new OptiPlex desktops and a new workstation that support the new Intel technology. The OptiPlex desktops are designed for enterprise customers and are the first Dell PCs to offer, as a default setting, technology that has received the U.S. Department of Energy’s Energy Star rating for power-efficient products. Up until now the energy-saving technology was available as an option.

    The OptiPlex GX270 comes with an 2.0 GHz Intel Celeron processor, 128M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and integrated audio and graphics for $599. A base configuration of the OptiPlex SX270 comes with a 2.0 GHz Celeron processor, 128M bytes of RAM, a 20G-byte hard drive, and integrated audio and graphics for $579. Customers can add any of the new Intel processors to the OptiPlex desktops.

    For workstation customers, Dell released the Precision Workstation 360, which is based on a new chassis and Intel’s previously released 875P chipset. It comes with a 2. 26 GHz Intel Pentium 4 processor with a 533 MHz front-side bus, 256M bytes of DDR SDRAM, a 40G-byte hard drive, and a Quadro NVS 280 graphics card from NVidia Corp for $899.

    Acer America also released a new PC within its Veriton series based on the Intel 865G. The Veriton 7600G comes with a 2.6 GHz Pentium 4 with an 800 MHz front-side bus, 512M bytes of DDR400 SDRAM, an 40G-byte hard drive, and a CD-ROM drive for $949.

    the first tests of the new Intel chipset — Ferra.ru

    The forthcoming release of new Intel desktop chipsets under the code names Canterwood and Springdale for dual-channel DDR memory is now on everyone’s lips. Boards based on these chipsets are already ready for sale at almost all major manufacturers and were demonstrated to the fullest, for example, at the CeBIT exhibition held in Hannover in March (see www.ferra.ru/online/system/25180). Even Intel itself, which usually carefully keeps its secrets until the official announcement of the products themselves, this time told the general public in detail about many technical parameters of its new desktop chipsets at the Intel Developer Forum held in February (see www. ferra.ru/ online/system/23898). We also wrote about these chipsets many times (see, for example, KT #477 or www.ferra.ru/online/system/23543). The main parameters of dual-channel DDR chipsets Intel Canterwood and Springdale are shown in the table), and a simplified block diagram of the chipsets is shown in the figure below (see also block diagrams at www.ferra.ru/online/system/23898).

    In general terms, the new Intel desktop chipsets will have three main differences from their predecessors.

    1. Firstly, all of them will finally support two independent channels for accessing DDR memory (when using standard DDR SDRAM modules), that is, they will be able to operate with a 128-bit memory bus instead of a 64-bit one for currently popular chipsets 845 series (Brookdale). However, with a 64-bit memory bus (in the single-channel memory mode), these chipsets will also be quite efficient. Note that the dual-channel DDR chipset Intel E7205 (Granite Bay), which appeared at the end of last year, was positioned by the corporation for entry-level workstations, and not for desktop PCs, and has a correspondingly high price.

    2. Secondly, the new chipsets will support the new faster system bus of Intel Pentium 4 processors with a data transfer rate of 800 MHz (the clock frequency of such a bus is 200 MHz). This is one and a half times faster than the current Pentium 4 system bus (533 MHz), which should give an additional and quite noticeable increase in system performance even at the same processor core frequencies. Pentium 4 processors for the 800 MHz system bus (on the old Northwood core) will be released simultaneously with new chipsets: first at 3.0 GHz, a little later — at 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8 GHz, and then at 3, 2 GHz. All of them will support Intel Hyper-Threading Technology.

    3. And thirdly, the new dual-channel DDR chipsets from Intel for the first time (for Intel itself) will support DDR400 memory (that is, PC3200 modules). Thus, DDR400 memory will finally be given the green light by the biggest player in the PC hardware field. Unfortunately, the mode of using DDR400 in the new Intel chipsets will be limited only to processors for the 800 MHz FSB, and with the previous processors, the maximum possible (dual-channel and single-channel) memory will remain DDR333 (as in the latest chipsets of the 845 series, see the table). This somewhat impoverishes the new Intel chipsets in comparison with the chipsets of competitors. For example, the dual-channel DDR chipset SiS655, released at the beginning of this year, can freely work with DDR400 at a system bus frequency of 533 MHz (however, the official validation of this SiS chipset for DDR400 memory has been postponed until the final specifications for DDR400 from JEDEC are released, that is, at the moment officially SiS655 supports maximum DDR333). On the other hand, the need for dual-channel DDR400 at 533 MHz FSB is highly doubtful — according to our tests of the SiS655 chipset, low-latency dual-channel DDR333 is enough in this case, and DDR400 becomes an unnecessary luxury. In this sense, Intel is doing the right thing by simplifying the design of chipset crystals at the same time, making them more reliable and low-latency.

    A series of three Springdale chipsets differs in that the two older ones (PE and G) will support the entire range of desktop processors, including the latest ones with a 800 MHz bus and DDR400 memory, while the cheap junior (P) will only support processors with a 533 bus and 400 MHz and memory up to DDR333 inclusive. The difference between the «senior» Canterwood chipset, which is aimed mainly at the entry-level workstation segment, that is, it is a direct descendant of Granite Bay, is the support for ECC memory, the lack of support for processors with a 400 MHz bus and DDR266 memory, as well as the presence of the so-called » turbo-mode» of memory operation (a kind of analogue of the fully synchronous operation of the FSB and memory in the Granite Bay chipset, in which the latency is minimal), which promises a few more percentage gains in performance. In addition, all new chipsets will be equipped with the new ICH5 southbridge, which features two Serial ATA/150 ports and built-in gigabit Ethernet units.

    It can be noted that, apparently, the most popular configurations immediately after the release of these chipsets at first will be configurations on a 533 MHz system bus with dual-channel DDR333 memory (and for the cheapest systems on low-end Pentium 4 and Celeron — with a 400 MHz FSB and dual-channel DDR266 ; the fact is that «single-frequency» Pentium 4 for FSB 800 MHz at the time of release will cost about $ 20 more than for the 533 MHz bus). Such systems will have the advantage that the bandwidth of dual-channel memory will be greater than that of the system bus, that is, the memory will have a certain “surplus” of speed, equal to approximately 1 GB / s, which can be spent on the AGP bus and peripherals with almost no damage. for the processor. Moreover, even for processors with a 533 MHz bus and cheap dual-channel DDR266 memory, the system will be balanced (for the first time for Intel desktop DDR chipsets), since the processor and memory bus speeds will be equal. These two features are of particular interest to us in the future Intel Springdale and Canterwood chipsets.

    A little earlier, quite soon, the Canterwood (875P) chipset will be released, and only some time after that the Springdale chipsets will appear. However, it is the “springdales” that are most interesting to ordinary users, since they will have several “consumer” modifications (including those with integrated graphics) and a low price. Boards based on chipsets of the Springdale series (865PE/G/E) will form the basis of PCs based on Pentium 4 by the end of 2003. Therefore, without waiting for the official release of Springdale chipsets, let’s try to find out a few key points of their advantages (and disadvantages) compared to their predecessors and competitors.

    At CeBIT 2003, we managed to get a working board based on the Springdale-PE chipset from a fairly well-known and respected manufacturer (for obvious reasons, we won’t name him J). The board proved to be stable in various modes, including the minimum memory timing settings in BIOS Setup, so based on it we can draw conclusions about the approximate performance level of the new chipset. Since at the time of testing processors for the system 800 MHz were not available, we will now compare the performance of the new chipset with the old ones on the current Pentium 4 processors with a 533 MHz system bus (as the most popular version of the platform in the near future), and later, after the official release of the new processors, let’s return to this issue on the 800 MHz bus. Thus, in this article we will try to understand the benefits of only point 1 (see above), leaving the other two points for the future.

    But before we go directly to the test results, let’s take a quick look at the chipset itself. The northbridge of the 865PE chipset is shown in this photo.

    So far, its marking is purely alphabetic (later, in production versions, we will probably see the usual number-alphabetic name). We already showed you a photo of the new ICH5 south bridge (82801EB) with built-in support for two Serial ATA ports as part of our report from CeBIT 2003. Therefore, here we will show a photo of a slightly more expensive modification of the ICH5R south bridge (82801ER), which supports RAID mode. We will consider the new southbridge in more detail in one of our next publications.

    The Intel Springdale i865 chipset was correctly recognized by the latest version of AIDA32 v3.40.

    The WCPUID 3.1a program has issued the corresponding identification code and revision of the chipset chip (separation bridge).

    After installing the Intel Chipset Software Installation Utility version 5. 00.1012 (let me remind you that starting from version 5.xx, the Granite Peak program comes into effect, which, in particular, provides for the creation of unified drivers for desktop and mobile platforms, see www.ferra. en/online/system/23898) the new Intel chipset appeared in the Device Manager of the Windows XP operating system with the appearance of several new devices (see screenshots).

    In particular, Intel drivers 5.00.1007 are now used for the ICH5 southbridge IDE controller (see screenshot).

    Unfortunately, the previous version 2.3 of the Intel Application Accelerator program, which provides strengthening of IDE drivers for Intel chipsets (due to effective caching, etc.), was not installed here (due to the new chipset not being recognized), and the new IAA version was not available at the time of our tests. was available. This, in particular, will be associated with a small «shortage» of performance of the new chipset in Winstone tests.

    Most Springdale boards now have 4 DIMM slots for DDR memory (see photo below). At the same time, in order to activate the dual-channel (128-bit) mode of working with memory, it is necessary to install identical memory modules in slots of the same color. If you install arbitrary memory modules in adjacent (not separated by a gap) slots of different colors, then the chipset will work with memory in the usual 64-bit (single-channel) mode, that is, similarly, say, to 845 series chipsets.0003

    When using an Intel Pentium 4 processor with a system bus frequency of 533 MHz, in the BIOS Setup of motherboards based on Springdale chipsets, you can set the DDR memory frequency to 266 or 333 MHz — as in i845PE / GE chipsets (400 MHz are not available, see above ). That is, the new Intel chipsets have poorer options for configuring memory frequencies at the standard FSB frequency than, say, the same SiS655. Having set the system memory timings there to the minimum values ​​(2-2-2-5), we proceeded to our tests. Based on the possibilities of configuring the chipset, the following characteristic configurations with Intel Pentium 4 2. 80 GHz (FSB 533 MHz) processor:

    1. i865pe with a two -channel DDR266
    2. i865PE with a two -channel DDR333
    3. I865PE with a one -channel ddr3333
    4. 9000 9000 of these seams. e.g. i845PE), as well as to understand how much gain dual-channel memory usage will provide instead of single-channel. As rivals, we used the previously studied configurations based on Intel, SiS and VIA chipsets with different memory (see www.ferra.ru/online/system/22900), as well as data on the latest dual-channel DDR chipset SiS655 (see www.ferra.ru/online/system/23444).

      Otherwise, the platform configurations were identical: ASUS V8460 Ultra video accelerator (AGP 4X bus), 80 GB IBM Deskstar 120GXP hard drive (courtesy of the www.arkanoid.ru online store) and 512 MB system memory (for high-quality memory) Kingston HYPER KHX3500/256 (this is PC3500 or DDR434, CL=2 for DDR400) we thank Patriarch company www.memory.ru). Details on tests of previous platforms and a description of the test methodology can be found in the respective reviews.

      Before moving on to tests in real tasks, let’s take a look at the performance of chipsets with memory. In terms of peak memory bandwidth in SiSoftware Sandra 2003, the i865PE chipset outperformed all its predecessors in dual-channel mode, except for the latest dual-channel SiS655 chipset. It is also interesting to note that in the single-channel mode (64-bit memory bus) Springdale is slightly ahead of its predecessor i845PE (apparently, memory bus buffering/caching has been improved).

      Slightly different picture of memory speed in the Science Mark 2.0 test: here Springdale in dual-channel mode was already able to determine the rival SiS655, but lost to the strictly synchronous E7205 (possibly due to the influence of latency in this test). However, in single-channel mode, it is again noticeably faster than the 845PE, although it is inferior to it with DDR355 memory. It is important to note that in these two memory bandwidth tests, there is almost no difference in the speed of dual-channel DDR266 and DDR333 memory on the Springdale chipset. That is, it may turn out that in real applications we will hardly feel the difference between dual-channel DDR266 and DDR333 on the new Intel chipset!

      The memory read speed in the AIDA32 test exactly repeated the placement of the platforms of the previous test (Springdale was outperformed only by the Granite Bay chipset), but there were differences in the memory write speed of the same program. Here, the newcomer lost only to the dual-channel DDR333 on the SiS655, and it is important that the dual-channel DDR266 on the i865PE in the pseudo-synchronous operating mode with the system bus turned out to be faster in this test than DDR333 in the asynchronous operating mode! (According to reading, the asynchronous DDR333 was a little faster everywhere than the pseudo-synchronous DDR266). It is also important that the speed of writing to memory has been significantly improved compared to by a strictly synchronous DDR266 E7205 chipset (probably due to the introduction of memory bus caching and a small prefetch into the 865 chipset)! It is also interesting that the competitor’s chipset (SiS655) does not have such advantages as Springdale when pseudo-synchronously working with FSB (that is, with DDR266). Thus, with cheap DDR266 memory, the new Intel 865 chipset performs better than the cheaper SiS655 chipset, while for DDR333 they are on average equal.

      Another surprise was the system memory latency test results for the Intel 865PE chipset. Intel’s DDR chipsets (even the «asynchronous» 845 series) traditionally differed from their competitors in very low latency when working with memory. However, 865PE clearly disappointed, showing even in pseudo-synchronous mode with DDR266 a latency 10% higher than that of 845PE and coming very close in this parameter to SiS chipsets, which have always been «famous» for their large delays (note that for DDR266 the latency is slightly lower, than for DDR333). We will not discuss here the possible reasons for such a deterioration (perhaps the caching / prefetch unit inside the new chipset is to blame; later we will check these data on production versions of the 865PE chipsets), but simply note that this cannot but negatively affect the performance of the new platform in a number of popular applications.

      Let’s move on to the tests in applications and see how the above features when working with memory chipsets will affect the performance of systems in real applications and complex tests. It should be noted here that from the many tests we have specially chosen only those that most strongly depend on the types of chipset and memory, that is, they will most clearly allow us to identify the advantages of a particular platform. For many other tests and real applications, the dependence of platform performance on the chipset or memory is much less pronounced, and the difference between the systems is almost imperceptible. Therefore, the tests presented here actually give an estimate of only the upper limit of the difference in the speed of platforms, and in most real situations this difference is usually smaller.

      First, some complex tests. The most authoritative here are multi-tasking tests that simulate real user experience — BAPCo’s SYSmark 2002 Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity tests. They measure the speed (average response time per action) of various systems when running Microsoft Office programs in a company with an archiver, antivirus, etc., as well as during typical operations when creating a website (working with graphics in Adobe Photoshop, with video in Adobe Premiere, WME 7 encoding, Macromeida software (web design), etc. Special «behavior» model provides results that reflect a close to reality picture of the daily work of users.Measured response time is converted into a rating on the back The results of the Internet Content Creation and Office Productivity tests are shown in two charts.0003

      Here, dual-channel configurations based on the SiS655 chipset (with DDR333 and DDR400) are in the lead everywhere, and the dual-channel newcomer Intel at best got to bronze, sharing it with DDR solutions based on the E7205 and 845PE and the traditionally strong RDRAM PC1066. The first disappointment is the high memory latency for the new 865PE chipset does not allow it to fully realize in real applications the high bandwidth advantages associated with its dual-channel use.

      Alternative and no less well-deserved comprehensive tests for evaluating the business and multimedia performance of a PC are Business Winstone 2002 and Multimedia Content Creation Winstone 2003 v.1.0. As in the tests from BAPCo, here the systems at Springdale are clearly not up to par. In part, this loss is associated not so much with working with memory, but with not the fastest work with the hard drive (both of these test packages demonstrate a fairly high dependence of the results on the speed of the disk subsystem), which, in turn, is associated with the lack of an installed Intel Application IDE driver Accelerator in the system on Springdale (see above for reasons), while other systems have similar drivers (from Intel or SiS were installed). Later we will repeat our measurements with IAA installed and see how the results for the i865PE change.

      In another comprehensive test of platform performance, PassMark Performance Test v4.0, we again see a not so rosy picture for Springdale: it is inferior to SiS655 (and even SiS648) and works at native level with E7205.

      Finally, the simple old CPUmark99 comprehensive test for evaluating the computing abilities of platforms feels the difference between modern platforms and memory types quite well. Here, finally, platforms on the dual-channel 865PE are in the lead, although the difference with competitors is minimal. Single-channel DDR333 on the 865PE works in much the same way as on the 845PE.

      Let’s move on from complex tests to some interesting specific tests and applications. First, let’s look at a couple of specialized math tests (modern scientific calculations) from the Science Mark 2.0 package. Both tests we have shown (cryptographic Chiper Bench AES and calculation of atomic and argon orbitals) are quite sensitive to memory latency. Therefore, the Springdale chipset in any memory configuration is clearly not up to par.

      Archiving in WinRAR version 3.00 will also help us evaluate the mathematical abilities of various platforms. Besides, the archiving test in WinRAR with maximum compression and dictionary size is traditionally one of the most sensitive in terms of memory subsystem performance, in particular, to its latency and write speed. However, here the «springdales» unexpectedly take the lead, catching up even with the traditional leader — RDRAM PC1066 on i850E, and the dual-channel system on DDR266 turns out to be even slightly faster than on DDR333 (recall the better latency and faster memory write speed for DDR266 compared to DDR333 for i865PE ). Similarly, single-channel DDR333 was faster on the 865PE than on the 845PE. That is, Springdale’s main trump card is gradually emerging — a high memory write speed (high read speed, unfortunately, is still leveled by poor latency).

      Now let’s look at the behavior of systems in another applied mathematical test — reading and subsequent JPEG-transcoding of 1024 photos with a total volume of 650.0 MB (one CD) in the very popular ACDsee program of the latest version 5.0. Photos (in an arbitrary JPEG) had a size of about 2000×1500, were located on the «fast» section of the hard drive, were read by the list and recoded into JPEG with 65% compression (however, the result almost did not depend on the degree of compression) without subsequent writing to disk (that is the speed of the hard drive had almost no effect on the result of this test). This test also favors high memory write speeds, as well as streaming memory reading (where latency is not so important), and Springdale is at its best here, although it did not take the lead, slightly losing to SiS655 with DDR333. The influence of memory read speed in this test results in DDR333 on i865PE being faster than DDR266, and the high write speed allows DDR266 on 865PE to overtake even the synchronous E7205.

      A similar picture is observed when transcoding video streams in various programs: the first test encodes video from DVD to MPEG4 format using the DivX 5.02 Pro codec using the FlasK 0.78 program, the second — transcodes (compresses) video from MPEG2 to MPEG4 using Virtual Dub 1.4.13 using the same DivX 5.02 Pro codec, and the third one transcodes MPEG2 to WME format in Windows Media Encoder 9. SiS655 and DDR333 and i850E with PC1066 are the leaders everywhere, and Springdale with dual-channel DDR333 at best gets to second or third place . Only in FlasK is the difference between dual-channel DDR266 and DDR333 noticeable, while in the other two tests it is almost non-existent! With single-channel DDR333, the 865PE chipset runs almost at the same speed as the 845PE. If we compare the cheap dual-channel DDR266 on three chipsets (865, E7205 and SiS655), then in FlasK the newcomer is inferior to both «oldies», but in the other two video tests it is slightly faster than its competitors.

      Let’s move on to the block of tests when working with three-dimensional graphics. First — about working under DirectX. The super-popular MadOnion 3Dmark 2001SE (only lazy people do not use it, although I strongly do not recommend limiting my conclusions to its results only) shows that RDRAM PC1066 (in turbo mode) is definitely the leader, and DDR355 on low-latency 845PE can outperform even dual-channel DDR266 on 865PE or its analogues. Interestingly, DDR333 again slightly outperformed DDR266 on 865PE. In this case, latency is to blame. For the same reason, the single-channel DDR333 on the 865PE is slower than on the 845PE, and the 865PE chipset as a whole was able to noticeably outperform systems based on the SiS655, but is inferior to, say, the E7205.

      But in two «private» DirectX tests — Unreal Tournament 2003 and Comanch 4 — the new Intel chipset is the undisputed leader with any dual-channel memory (DDR333 is slightly faster than DDR266), overtaking even RDRAM! Although the single-channel DDR333 on the 865PE cannot outperform the DDR333 on the 845PE.

      Now about working with OpenGL game engines. In the old but hyper-popular Quake III Arena (the «heavy» demo of Quaver) we once again observe the unconditional leadership of RDRAM, followed by the dual-channel SiS655. And only they are followed by Springdale, and DDR266 is again slightly faster than DDR333. Slightly better for Springdale is the situation in another game on the same engine — Return To Castle Wolfenstein. Here only SiS655 with DDR333 was able to outperform springdale, although with single-channel DDR333 it is still slightly inferior to 845PE. In the Serious Sam: Second Encounter test, you can see a change of leaders: finally, Springdale takes its toll, and dual-channel pseudo-synchronous DDR266 is ahead of everyone, including RDRAM and faster DDR on SiS655. And single-channel DDR333 is slightly faster than on 845PE. The position of the Intel 865PE chipset in DOOM III alpha is even more solid: both dual-channel systems on 865PE are noticeably faster than all competitors, and even single-channel DDR333 on this chipset managed to climb to 4th place! Validates Springdale benefits and Vulpine GLMark 1. 1 test.

      Finally, let’s take a look at the tests of the SPEC viewperf v7.0 package, which always feel the difference in the speed of chipsets and memory quite well (albeit rather ambiguously). In two out of five tests, both two-channel systems on the Springdale-PE lead by a noticeable margin. In one of the tests, the newcomers lost only to the two lowest latency systems on previous Intel chipsets. In another one they lost to RDRAM PC1066 and DDR333/400 on SiS655. And in the fifth of the tests (the old IBM Data Explorer), they generally performed extremely pale, dropping into the diagrams themselves (let’s leave it to the «conscience» of IBM J). It is important to note that in all five of these tests, the 865PE systems with dual-channel DDR266 and DDR333 memory are almost identical in speed!

      In conclusion, let’s briefly note the main conclusions that follow from our analysis of preliminary performance tests of systems based on the forthcoming Intel 865PE chipset for dual-channel DDR memory using processors with the current 533 MHz system bus. The situation with its performance can not yet be called unambiguous. On the one hand, it noticeably loses to its main competitors (SiS655 and Intel 850E) in many complex tests, as well as in a number of individual applications. On the other hand, in a number of streaming and gaming applications, he confidently settled in the group of leaders, and in selected tasks (WinRAR, some games and SPEC viewperf 7.0 tests) he even outperformed all current competitors. Apparently, the first failures of the new chipset can be associated with high latency when working with memory, while it has excellent potential in terms of read and write speeds. Thus, without having any tangible speed advantages over its competitors at first, the 865 chipset will determine its fate rather by price indicators (including, for example, the price advantage that it works almost as fast with DDR266 as competitors with more expensive memory), reliability and, of course, the traditional reputation of Intel Corporation. However, this series of chipsets still has a new 800 MHz system bus and DDR400 memory in its «high-speed» trump cards. But we will return to this after the official release of the corresponding processors and chipsets.

      i865 chipset family (Springdale) ? a worthy replacement for i875P

      Almost a month after Intel announced the first (top-end) Pentium 4 processor with an 800 MHz bus frequency and the expensive and high-performance dual-channel DDR chipset i875P (Canterwood) designed to support it, both of these technologies «went to the masses.» The company’s line of 800 MHz processors has expanded downwards, fixing itself at 2.4, 2.6 and 2.8 GHz. As usual with Intel, when the frequencies of different models coincide (which differ in bus frequency, cache size, or something else), new ones are marked in addition to the numerical indicator with one or two letters in this case, this is “C”, which at the same time signals the support of technology by processors hyperthreading. (The new nomenclature should not please at least numerous trading companies that previously used the elegant abbreviation «Pentium 4C» in their price lists for the Celeron line. ) The supply voltage for a particular processor instance (any of the three announced models) can be 1.475 / 1.5 / 1.525 V, depending on lot (more accurate data can be obtained using a special service on the Intel website). The heat dissipation of new models is noticeably lower than 81.9W for the model is 3.0 GHz, and is respectively 66.2, 69.0 and 69.7 W, and the temperature threshold T case is noticeably higher 7475 ° versus 70 ° (about the same correlated in these parameters and processors of similar frequency on the 533-MHz bus).

      Intel 865PE/G/P aka Springdale

      A logical step towards popularizing new processors (and at the same time Hyper-Threading as a technology) is the release of a relatively inexpensive line of i865 chipsets (the former Springdale series), which, as we already noted in the i875P review, have , with virtually the same features as this top-of-the-line, workstation-oriented chipset. Indeed, let’s take a look at the i865 circuit:

      There are only two fundamental differences: support for ECC memory and the presence of PAT technology, which theoretically speeds up work, in i875P. Note that Canterwood officially supports only the 533/800 MHz processor bus, but as we have already seen on the example of several motherboards based on this chipset, 400 MHz FSB (including Celeron processors) are supported with a bang. Here we need to make one more addition regarding the compatibility of new system logic sets with Pentium 4 and Celeron on the Willamette core. The chipsets themselves, of course, can work perfectly with them, everything depends only on the VRM processor voltage regulation module used on motherboards. The fact is that for compatibility with future processors based on the Prescott core, Intel has developed a new VRM specification that does not provide for the required voltage range for Willamette. Therefore, in conditions when motherboard manufacturers have a choice: to provide support for future Prescotts (even if only the first models, with 800 MHz FSB) or fading Willamette the statistics of the decisions being made are probably obvious.

      Returning to the logic of the new chipsets, let’s briefly list their main characteristics (we refer you to the i875P description for details).


      • processors with FSB 400/533/800 MHz and HT
      • dual channel DDR266 (for any FSB frequency), DDR333 (for 533/800 MHz) and DDR400 (for 800 MHz only)
      • AGP
      • CSA bus (for Intel Gigabit Ethernet chips)
      • 6 PCI Busmaster 9 devices0010
      • AC’97 codec(s) (20-bit)
      • 8 x USB 2.0 ports
      • 4 x IDE devices up to ATA100
      • 2 x IDE devices with Serial ATA interface (limited)

      For the last two devices organization in RAID0 is possible when using the south bridge ICH5 R .

      Of course, the i865G differs from the i865PE in the presence of an integrated graphics core Intel Extreme Graphics 2 (second generation). Due to the obviously insufficient performance of this video accelerator for modern heavy (in terms of graphics) games, we will not go into the features of its architecture, we only note that the core frequency is the same 266 MHz as for the i845GE chip, but the i865G has a number of architectural improvements, and most importantly due to a much more productive memory subsystem, 3D performance is expected to grow (very approximately) by 50%.

      Finally, the i865P is the youngest model in the family that does not have official FSB 800 MHz support. Accordingly, the maximum available for this chipset is FSB 533 MHz/2xDDR333. It turns out to be possible in principle to support 800 MHz processors, but in the example below, it is impossible to change the memory frequency (DDR400). With the release of new boards, we’ll see if this limitation is surmountable.

      Performance study

      Test stand:
      • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 3.0 GHz (200×15) with HT technology enabled, Socket 478
      • Motherboards:
        • ASUS P4C800 Deluxe Gold (BIOS version 1004) with i875P chipset
        • Gigabyte 8KNXP Ultra BIOS version) ( i875P
        • Albatron PX865PE Pro II chipset (BIOS R1.00) i865PE
        • chipset ASUS P4P800 Deluxe Gold (BIOS version 1004) i865PE
        • Intel D865GBF (BIOS version B03 B03 version) M0865G Neo chipset (BIOS version 1.0) based on i865P 9 chipset0234 1 FDD, 2 COM, 1 LPT, 2 PS/2 USB 2 USB 2. 0 + 3 ports x 2 USB 2.0 4 USB 2.0 + 2 ports x 2 USB 2.0 9023 5

          + 2 connector 2 USB 2.0 4 USB 2.0 + 1 connector 2 USB 2.0 Firewire

          chipset IDE controller ATA100 + SATA RAID ATA100 + SATA RAID 96(784) MHz). Thus, it seems that we will have to wait for a new set of system logic from SiS.

          Since last time we reviewed in sufficient detail the different modes of operation of new/old processors on new/old chipsets, for this article we decided to confine ourselves to comparing the entire i865 family with the i875P, which has already proven itself to be the undisputed performance leader. At the same time, the motherboard based on the i865P allowed the test processor to operate at 800 MHz FSB, so that all participants were on an equal footing. (Those wishing to evaluate the performance of the i865P in «native» conditions, we once again refer to the article about the i875P.)

          Test results

          To start comparing chipsets, of course, we use low-level memory tests.

          In terms of writing (and copying) the results of the participants are evenly distributed from i865P to i865PE, the difference between them is about 17%, and i865PE, in turn, lags behind i875P by 12% the twins are behind the leader by about 10%. Let’s see what the gap will be in real applications.

          When archiving, the participants line up according to the recording speed, so that from the leader to the outsider there are steps of 865%.

          Final rendering in 3ds max no difference, since the processor frequency is about the same.

          In games, the positioning of chipset representatives is the same, only the gap between i865PE and i875P is reduced to 35%, and the board based on i865G pulls up close to its discrete counterpart. The integrated graphics of the i865G, of course, can hardly be compared with the GeForce FX, but in some cases at low resolutions it provides an acceptable level of performance. The applicability of this accelerator to real modern games is a huge question.


          We don’t even need benchmark tables to sum up: Canterwood’s direct competitor i865PE loses 35% in real applications, which is in perfect agreement with Intel’s own data on the increase from PAT. Since both chipsets in this comparison were usually represented by very fast boards from Gigabyte and Albatron, and the memory timings were minimal (2-2-2-5), we can easily consider this comparison result to be final. At the same time, the board based on i865G is from Intel, and the models of this company, as a rule, are not very fast, and looking at the maximum achievable timings of 2-3-3-5, the difference between the discrete and integrated versions of the chipset does not seem surprising , so, most likely, here we can talk about approximate equality. Finally, i865P lagging behind i865PE is too big to attribute it to a random scatter of results, and, obviously, to work at high FSB and memory frequencies, serious internal optimization is required, which the younger relative of the family lacks.

          Summing up the prospects of the i865 family: this is a more than worthy replacement for the i875P, since the performance differs slightly, but the price of motherboards should be much lower (15 dollars can be gained from the cost of the chipset alone). In terms of functionality, they are just the same as , with the only exception the lack of ECC support. Compared to the i845xE, it has speed, support for the new and future processors, plus an improved southbridge so, of course, you shouldn’t rush to change an existing board, but when buying a new one, it’s most reasonable to focus on dual-channel Intel chipsets.

          That’s all, although some may be surprised by the lack of data on the ASUSTeK boards declared in the list of test equipment?

          P.S. The mystery of ASUS

          The reasons for this are quite clear from the diagrams below:

          Impressed? Regardless of the theory, ASUS motherboards based on i875P and i865PE show the same performance, and, what’s the worst :), outperform competitors’ products even on i875P by up to 17% with quite real archiving in WinAce. Moreover, the indicators of just these boards are unique, all the rest (and we have already tested 6 of them on the i875P alone, from very famous manufacturers) are approximately on a par. Moreover, such results, for example, ASUS P4C800 were not always: when testing with firmware 1002 beta 021 in WinAce, the same 11:31 was obtained.

          We will try to take a closer look at what ASUS engineers managed to «wind up» with memory timings in a general comparison of motherboards based on the i875P, which you can expect very soon. For this article, we decided to use «normal» motherboards as chipset representatives, otherwise the difference between, say, i865PE and i865G threatened to become unbelievably large.

          Albatron PX865PE Pro II and MSI 865P Neo motherboards provided by OLDI

          May 22, 2003


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