Soltek SL-915GPro-FGR - Page 3

..:: SL-915GPro-FGR 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. As far as an initial overview goes, the SL-915GPro-FGR comes in with a similar design to several of the other i915P / i925X motherboards we’ve encountered since their inception. Soltek has always opted to go for stylish PCB’s and motherboards featuring purple PCI slots, as well as colored IDE connectors. These stand out nicely on the jet black PCB, and offer up the typical look for a Soltek board. They’ve experimented with different color PCB’s in the past ranging from a bold yellow, to a cool white color, but recently have stuck to their guns with black. We’ve found, from reader feedback, that black PCB’s are the number one color, followed closely by blue and red.

The Socket T is oriented lengthwise from East to West across the motherboard. Around the Socket T, we find that Soltek, as with several other manufacturers, has put to use the low profile component zones for the core voltage power supply. Soltek, however, has also placed two larger capacitors close to the pin holes along the top edge of the socket. If you’re going to be using a Gigabyte cooler with the special mounting bracket, I’ll tell you right now this is not the board you want. These two capacitors will interfere with mounting the heatsink, and will require a significant amount of bending. If these two were low-profile capacitors, this wouldn’t be a problem, but alas they are not.

Soltek has implemented a four-phase design for the SL-915GPro-FGR. Four-phase power delivery has become far more common on these latest Intel motherboards. Given the tremendous amount of power required for the latest Pentium 4 processors, especially those based off of the Prescott core, smooth power delivery is an absolute must. This four-phase design will allow for a smoother supply of power to the processor, which in turn will aid in overall system stability as well as overclocking. Some manufacturers have opted for a three-phase design on boards meant for the general usage crowd, but on boards meant for overclocking you won’t often see a three-phase design.

The components that make up the bulk of the processor portion of SL-915GPro-FGR deal with the core voltage supply. Along the right hand side of the processor socket, we find a series of SMT components, along with two small capacitors. Normally this area doesn’t house many large items, other than the typical SMT capacitors, resistors, etc. This portion of the board also houses silk screening jumper instructions, a common place for such an item. One item we find “missing” from this portion of the board is the main, three-pin power supply for the CPU fan. We’ll come across this item a little later, and find some interesting things in its vicinity.

The left hand side of the processor socket houses all of the oh-so-typical items that can be found on every other motherboard on the market. Here, we see several larger capacitors, as well as their matching blue inductors. We can also see silk screening within the low-profile component zone for additional capacitors. Hopefully, if Soltek ever chooses to operate off a design placing a capacitor at one of these locations, they’ll avoid the larger capacitors and stick with low-profile components.

Other than these core electrical components, the processor portion of SL-915GPro-FGR is quite clean. Soltek has implemented the four-phase power solution for the SL-915GPro-FGR with high quality, ultra-low ESR capacitors as well as high quality regulation controllers and MOSFET drivers. Another item many of you might note as “missing” for right now is the four-pin 12V core voltage supply connection. Soltek has moved this connector to a place that I have rarely seen it, one we’ll see in a few pages.