Albatron PX915G Pro - Page 3

..:: PX915G Pro Layout: Socket Area ::..

Now that we’ve had a chance to examine the product package, it’s time we took a good look at the board design and layout scheme. Just to re-cap our new stance on design, here’s a copy of our previous statement…With these new chipsets from Intel, I have noticed that the motherboard surface itself has become far more cluttered, mainly due to voltage generation devices necessary for the DDR-II modules and PCI-Express. As we progress around this motherboard, as well as many in the future, we will undoubtedly see the days of extremely clean and clear PCB surfaces head the way of the dodo. Because of this, we’ve developed a new modus operandi when evaluating the layout of the motherboard. Instead of going merely for cleanliness, we’ll be putting more of an impact on components locations and orientations for the end user. Clean PCB’s are nice, but locations and ease of access are going to be far more important with these motherboards.

The Socket T is oriented lengthwise from East to West across the motherboard. Due to the much improved mounting mechanics for the new LGA 775 processors, Intel has done away with the large retention bracket that was needed on the older Socket 478 implementations. The new mounting method simply requires pushing some pins through the four mounting holes, and you’re done. Around the Socket T, we find that Albatron has put to use the low profile component zones for the core voltage power supply. Albatron has implemented a three-phase design for the PX915G Pro, as can be seen with the three side-mounted inductors, complete with their own encasings. This is the first three-phase power solution that we have seen so far for any of the LGA775 motherboards. We’ll see later on if it has an effect upon overall stability or not.

The components that make up the processor portion of the PX915G Pro deal with the core voltage supply. The main control chips are manufactured by Analog Devices, along with the three MOSFET drivers. Unlike some of the other LGA775 motherboards we’ve dealt with over the past month or so, Albatron has not positioned the four-pin 12V core voltage supply connector in the upper left corner of the board. Instead, Albatron has shifted the secondary core voltage connection further down the board, towards the bottom end of the series of capacitors, MOSFET’s and inductors. This was the typical location on i875P / i865PE motherboards, and we’ve seen this used twice now on LGA775 motherboards.

Other than these core electrical components, the processor portion of the PX915G Pro is quite clean. Albatron has been able to implement a solid three-phase power solution for the PX915G Pro with high quality, ultra-low ESR capacitors, as well as high quality control components from Analog Devices. We’ve seen most high performance motherboards running off four-phase solutions, so we’ll see how well this three-phase solution can handle Intel’s Pentium 4 560 processor, a power hog to say the least. The reason we’ve seen shifts to four-phase solutions is due to the power draw from these new processors. By increasing the number of phases, the processor can obtain a cleaner and steadier voltage, providing for solid power delivery.