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AOpen AX4SG Max

Review by Michael Tran on 05.21.03
Managing Editor: Harry Lam
Motherboard provided by AOpen
MSRP $229, ESP $209

Canterwood versus Springdale:

AOpen Logo

Canterwood is aimed for performance enthusiasts, and as a result is is slightly more aggressive than the Springdale, however both chipsets offer the same fundamental features, most notably support for DDR400 and 800MHz FSB. The Springdale is based off the same core as the Canterwood, but lacks PAT (Performance Acceleration Technology) which allows the chipset to perform slightly more aggressive and decrease latency times between the CPU and RAM.


The following table shows the specifications of the AOpen AX4SG Max:

Northbridge: Intel 865G - Springdale-G
Southbridge: Intel ICH5R (R = Raid)
CPU Support: Intel P4 533/800MHz
RAM: DDR400 (PC3200) Up to 4GB
RAM Slots: DIMM Socket x 2
AGP: 8x
IDE: ATA100 and SATA (150MB/s)
PCI Slots: 6 (32-bit PCI)
USB: USB 2.0 / 8 ports
LAN: Gigabit BCM5705
Sound Codec: Realtek ALC650 (AC97 Codec)
Audio Channels: Super 5.1 Channel Audio Effect
Onboard Audio Output: 3x 1/8" Jacks
S/PDIF Module:
Digital I/O Optical
S/PDIF Connector
Onboard Connectors: Front Panel
3x Fan Headers
8x USB 2.0
Wake On LAN
Case Open Connector
Game Connector
2x IEEE 1394
Firewire: IEEE 1394 / 2 ports
I/O Chip: ICH5R
Adjustable Voltages: VCore
Watch Dog Timer: Yes
Hyperthreading Support: Yes
Diehard BIOS: Yes (Diehard BIOS II)
SilentTek Technology: Yes
Raid Support: Yes
Dr. Voice II: Yes (4 languages)

Innovative Features:

AOpen "Watch Dog ABS"
- The Watch Dog ABS monitors the POST process for failure, and will automatically reboot the computer and reset the BIOS to its default settings. This feature allows overclockers to experiment the with their CPUs while saving time and preventing the hassle of manually resetting the CMOS jumper every time the system crashes.

Serial ATA Support:

Parallel ATA

Serial ATA


100/133 MB/Sec

150/300/600 MB/s







Length Limitation

18 inch

1 meter










Die-Hard BIOS II
- This basically is a backup BIOS chip allowing the user to restore a computer when the primary BIOS is corrupted.

Evolution of Intel's Chipsets:

The Intel 865 family is designed to replace the Intel 845 family as the mainstream chipset solution. There are 3 variants of the Springdale: the Intel 865G, the Intel 865P, and Intel 865PE.

Intel 845GE Intel 865 Springdale G
System Bus: 400/533 MHz FSB 533/800 MHz FSB
Southbridge: Intel ICH4 Intel ICH5R
AGP: 4x 8x
RAM: DDR333 (up to 2GB) DDR400 (up to 4GB)
AC97 Audio Compatible: Yes Yes
LAN: Intel PHY 82562ET Gigabit BCM5705
IDE: ATA100 ATA100 & SATA (150MB/sec)
USB: USB 2.0 x6 USB 2.0 x8
Onboard VGA: No Yes
Serial ATA: No Yes
Firewire: No Yes, IEEE 1394 x2
Hyperthreading Support: Yes Yes
Integrated RAID Support: No Yes

The Intel 865PE is the base Springdale chipset, with 800MHz FSB and DDR400 support.
The Intel 865P is the value version of the 865PE, and lacks DDR400 and 800MHz FSB support.
The Intel 865G is similar to the 865PE, but has the addition of integrated graphics.

Intel 865G Intel 865PE Intel 865P
Northbridge: 865G 865PE 865P
CPU: 800/533/400 MHz 800/533/400 MHz 533/400 MHz
Graphics: AGP 4x-8x (1.5V/0/8V) AGP 4x-8x (1.5V/0/8V) AGP 4x-8x (1.5V/0/8V)
RAM: Dual DDR - DDR400/333/266 Dual DDR - DDR400/333/266 Dual DDR - DDR 333/266
AC97 Audio Compatible: Yes Yes Yes
Integrated Graphics: Enhanced Intel Onboard VGA No No
Gigabit LAN: Yes Yes Yes
IDE: UDMA100/66 UDMA100/66 UDMA100/66
PCI: 6 6 6
USB 2.0: 8 8 8
Serial ATA Support: Yes, 2 ports Yes, 2 ports Yes, 2 ports
Firewire: Yes Yes Yes
Hyperthreading Support: Yes Yes Yes
RAID Support: Yes Yes Yes

Note: RAID support only works under Windows XP.

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