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Albatron K8X800 Pro II Motherboard

Review by Jason Jacobs on 5/19/04
Motherboard Provided by Albatron

More Albatron K8X800 Pro II features:

3 * DDR Sockets:
DDR200/266/333/400 NON-ECC DDR SDRAM up to 3GB

Expansion Slots
1 x AGP(3.0) 8X slot (1.5V only)
6 x PCI slots (PCI 2.2 compliant)

IDE Connectors
2 ATA133/100/66 Channels, up to 4 ATA 133/100/66 IDE devices
2 Serial ATA150 Channels, up to 2 Serial ATA150 Hard Drives

Onboard I/O Connectors
1 x Floppy Connector
3 x USB 2.0/1.1 header (6 ports by optional cable)
2 x IEEE1394 header (2 ports IEEE1394 cable optional)
1 x CD_IN header
1 x S/PDIF in/out header (S/PDIF in/out cable optional)
1 x CPU fan header ( 1 fan rotation detection function )
2 x System fan headers ( 2 fan rotation detection function )
1 x 10 pin system panel header (Intel spec)
1 x 3 pin Power LED header
1 x Front audio header (Intel spec)
1 x IrDA header
1 x Case Open detection header
2 x 5 pin Com port header
2 x 8 pin Game Port header

I/O via Back Panel
PS/2 keyboard/mouse, 2 x USB(2.0/1.1), RJ45,1 x Com(serial), 1 x Parallel,1x Line-in/Line-out(Speaker Out)/MIC/SUR_CEN/SUR/R:WOF,L:CEN

20-pin ATX power connector, 4-pin ATX 12V power connector

BIOS Feature
4Mb Flash EEPROM
Award BIOS with ACPI, DMI2.0, PnP, WfM2.0, Green Suspend to RAM (S3), Suspend to Disk (S4) Wake on keyboard/mouse, Wake on LAN/RTC Timer

Hardware Monitoring
3 FAN sensors, CPU/System voltages and temperature monitoring
Special Feature
Zero Jumper Design
BIOS Mirror ™ Protect BIOS by creating an original mirror image of itself
Voice Genie™ Voice Troubleshooting system ( four-Language )
Adjustable CPU frequency by 1 MHz increment, Adjustable Vcore, VAGP, VMemory for overclocking.
Watch Dog Timer (auto-reset system when it can not handle overclock configurations)
Special design for CPU Over Temperature Protection.
( OTP )

On paper it seems that the K8X800 Pro II includes all the enthusiasts favorites. After reading the impressive list of features TWL was anxious to get this board installed for testing.

With most of the extras a consumer and enthusiast might want already located onboard you might think that having 6 PCI slots is a little overkill, and TWL preliminarily agreed. Once you see the boards included brackets you will realize that in order to take advantage of all of the features you will have to sacrifice several PCI slots and are left in the end with only 3 in a full tower case. It is TWL's opinion that you probably won't ever need all of the three remaining PCI slots anyway.

A quick scan of the features turns up favorites such as support for SATA with support for Raid 0,1. It also appears that the K8X800 Pro II supports all 8 of the USB ports that can be used by the chipset. Their placement is a mixed bag in that only two are located on the I/O bracket, four on a PCI bracket, and two additional headers on the motherboard for front port hookup. If you are like most users, the I/O bracket is where you prefer the hookup of your additional devices to minimize cable mess. If you prefer brackets or front port hookup then this is available on the K8X800 Pro II.

The K8X800 Pro II also supports 3 fan sensors, one for each of its fan headers, and has a Zero Jumper Design. The K8X800 Pro II includes Voice Genie, a feature that will inform you of conflicts and problems in four languages, TWL will discuss this feature in more details on the next page.

Overclockers will find the K8X800 Pro II a mixed bag in that all the features for voltage and frequency are available in the small increments that enthusiasts love for fine tweaking, however, like all other VIA K8T800 chipset motherboards the AGP/PCI lock is non-functional. You will find this limits your overclocking when you hit the AGP/PCI overclocking wall. Do not confuse the name of this board with the VIA K8T800 Pro chipset which does offer an AGP/PCI lock. TWL did not find overclocking a complete loss and had some level of success with the K8X800 Pro II. (More on Overclocking this board later.)

The K8X800 Pro II includes what Albatron has called the Watch Dog Timer, which is an auto reset of your system when an overclock forces an unstable configuration. This can be useful depending upon your desire for overclocking.

As with most boards manufactured today Albatron has decided to implement CPU thermal protection onboard. This is designed to shut down the system or thermally throttle the CPU when it overheats.



Let's look at the board layout

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