Albatron's PX875 Pro Motherboard

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Albatron's PX875 Pro Motherboard - Page 3

 

Albatron's PX875 Pro Motherboard
Power, Performance, and Good Looks

By: Jeff Bouton
February 5, 2004



With all of the issues regarding driver optimizations and 3DMark03, we've come to distrust the results when comparing video card performance.  Nonetheless, when doing a motherboard review, we find it to be a useful test when we isolate benchmarking to the CPU test module.  Here we ran the test at default and overclocked speeds, comparing it to the i865PE.

Once again, at stock speed there was no discernable difference between the two motherboards.  When we increased the FSB to 260MHz, we saw a hefty gain of 152 points, a boost of almost 24%.  Also, a pattern is beginning to develop here.  Although the i856PE board here is again neck and neck with the Albatron i875P board, there is a consistent slight edge to this Canterwood based Albatron motherboard.  Perhaps, although the i865PE can deliver "PAT-like" performance, it still is a hair off from a full fledged i875P PAT design.  This difference may go completely unnoticed by the end user but it still may exist in certain situations regardless.
 

UT2003 & Comanche 4
Gaming Tests

We also tested the two motherboards with a couple of games.  In this case we ran two popular tests, Comanche 4 and UT 2003.  With Comanche 4, an extremely CPU limited benchmarking utility, we ran the test at its defaults with "No Audio" selected.  In UT2003, we ran the Citadel Fly-By at 640x480x16 to keep the video card out of the equation, focusing on CPU and Memory performance.

Once again, the two motherboards ran a very close race, both remaining within a fraction of the other's scores.  When we overclocked the system to 260MHZ FSB, the scores took a major leap forward, tacking on 26.7% in Comanche4 and 27.1% in UT2003.
 

PC Magazine's Content Creation 2004 and Business Winstone 2004
Real World Application Testing

With our last round of tests we ran both Content Creation Winstone 2004 and Business Winstone 2004.  Each application gauges a system's overall performance with workstation and multimedia applications.  Content Creation 2004 tests multimedia intensive applications, while Business Winstone 2004 compares performance with common workstation applications.  Below is a list of the programs each test uses to calculate its final score.

Business Winstone 2004

  • Microsoft Access 2002
  • Microsoft Excel 2002
  • Microsoft FrontPage 2002
  • Microsoft Outlook 2002
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2002
  • Microsoft Project 2002
  • Microsoft Word 2002
  • Norton AntiVirus Professional 2003
  • WinZip 8.1

Content Creation 2004

  • Adobe® Photoshop® 7.0.1
  • Adobe® Premiere® 6.50
  • Macromedia® Director MX 9.0
  • Macromedia® Dreamweaver MX 6.1
  • Microsoft® Windows Media?
  • Encoder 9 Version 9.00.00.2980
  • NewTek's LightWave® 3D 7.5b
  • Steinberg? WaveLab? 4.0f

As with all of the other tests, the Content Creation and Business Winstone 2004 tests were very similar between the 875P and 865PE motherboards.  The differences between the two can be considered close enough to be well within this test's margin of error.

Editor's Note - Dave Altavilla:
Prescott Readiness -
 

The Albatron PX875 Pro is a motherboard that claims "Prescott Ready" right on the box.  In our recent testing of Intel's latest incarnation of the P4, we were able to put this board through its paces a bit with a 3.2GHz Prescott core processor.  Out of the box, the board required a new BIOS revision, in order to boot the processor properly.  Once we had things up and running the PX875 Pro delivered fairly well on its claim of Prescott readiness.  However, just about every current motherboard to date that we've tested (and there have been many), exhibited what I would call "alarming" temp levels in both the MOSFET power array area and at the CPU level.  This is more of an issue with Prescott over all, since clearly the chip is currently running very hot and it draws a ton of power.  We're hopeful that future process improvements at Intel will alleviate this a bit but more than likely it will take an entirely new chipset and motherboard design to bring things within what we would call acceptable levels. 

True Albatron's PX875 Pro can deliver on being able to run Prescott and there are other i875 solutions on the market that can do this as well.  However, keep those fans blowing on that power array for sure.  Albatron claims this board is "FMB 1.5" (Flexible Motherboard) compliant supporting 91 Amps, which means it can support Prescott's power requirements.  However, if you're looking to make a move to a Prescott P4, you're better off waiting for Intel's Alderwood and Grantsdale chipsets to arrive this Spring.

In our experience, Albatron has historically made good products, ranging from motherboards to video cards.  However, we are a little confused with the marketing strategy of the PX875 Pro.  There is no doubt that the PX875 Pro is a good quality motherboard with excellent performance, overclocking capabilities and features, but we are uncertain how it fits in the bigger picture.  Clearly, regardless of your take on the PAT naming convention, the i875P and i865PE offer very similar overall performance.  Factor in the board's "Pro" name that doesn't have the feature set to back that statement up and we are left wondering what's so "Pro" about this board.  Clearly, this is a solid well made board, but a we would expect a Pro model to have a lot more features than this one.  When you factor in the only difference between the Pro and non-Pro version being the inclusion of 10/100 Ethernet, the PX875 Pro seems a bit bland.

In the end, if you look at the base product and its features and ignore the branding, you'll find the PX875 Pro a decent motherboard.  But if you are looking for similar performance and more features including RAID, you may be better off with the PX865PE PRO II which sells on Newegg for around $140.  There you'll get all the bells and whistles you are looking for along with a possible break in price because of its unofficial "PAT" technology.  Another option would be their standard PX865PE Pro, which sells for a competitive $79 and has nearly identical features.    We expect when the PX875 Pro is released in mass to the public, that the price should be competitive with other i875 based models, in the $130 - $150 range.  

We give the Albatron PX875 Pro a Hothardware Heat Meter Rating of a 7.5


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