As we noted earlier, architecturally, the i925XE chipset is identical to the i925X. Intel has simply gone through the life cycle and burn-in processes required to validate the chipset at the new 1066MHz rated bus speed. As a refresher we'll cover the high-level functional blocks of the i925X and i925XE chipset here for you. If you would like a full run-down on the platform, please refer back to our June 19th article from earlier this year, where we cover the architecture in full detail.
The i925X and i925XE chipsets are Intel's high end/highest performance solution for the Pentium 4 desktop platform. These chipsets do have slightly better memory bandwidth efficiency and latency characteristics versus the i915. Other than that, the general feature set is the same as Intel's mainstream-value i915 product, which is very well rounded, with all of the latest IO technologies any power user could need.
The kit we received from Intel included the Pentium 4 EE 3.46GHz chip and Intel's D925XECV2 motherboard that is built on the new i925Xe chipset. This motherboard is actually set up a bit like many of the "enthusiast" class products we've seen from the likes of ABIT, ASUS, and DFI. As an aside, we haven't received any i925XE boards from any of the Taiwanese OEMs as of yet, but we hear they are right around the corner. As a result, we would caution anyone looking to make the jump to this new Pentium 4 LGA PCI Express-enabled architecture to wait until i925XE boards are available in the retail channel. You'll have the ability to run standard 800MHz FSB CPUs today and the migration path to 1066MHz FSB-driven CPUs in the future.
Four channels of RAID 0, 1-capable SATA hard drive connections are available off the ICH6 Southbridge chip with this motherboard, and the list of creature comforts goes on from there. The D925XECV2 is capable of 8-channel audio but set up with a 5.1-jack combination with left and right front and rear along with combination center and channel/sub woofer ports, along with digital audio optical and coaxial ports. It also has eight USB 2.0 ports available, four on the I/O plate and four internal with a backplate slot bracket. Finally, as you can see in the shots above, there is one X16 PCI Express slot for standard PCI slots and two 1X PCI Express slots.