The Albatron box looks excellent with the silver/green combination - it really stands out. It is not the easiest box to take a photo as the light really brings out the holographic effect, as you can see:
When opening up the box you find a fair bit of gear but nothing out of the ordinary. You receive USB headers as well as very normal looking IDE cables, game port header, sound expansion header and a Serial ATA cable and power converter.
The overall package isn't too exciting but it comes with everything you need to get the system up and running in no time. Albatron have given us everything we need just not in the style that some other motherboard manufacturers do. In the long run this helps keeps the overall cost down which will please many.
- Motherboard and Layout
The first thing that you notice about the Albatron motherboard is the very cool looking blue PCB. The motherboard has all the creature comforts that we have all have grown accustom to including 6 PCI slots, 1 8X AGP slot as well as 3 memory slots.
Toward the top of the motherboard we find the main power connector and closer to the processor we see the extra power connector to give the Athlon 64 that extra bit of power.
One thing that you might notice is that Albatron has chosen not to include a fan on top of the Northbridge heatsink.
Also up toward the top of the motherboard we find the IDE connectors. Just below the IDE connectors we have the BIOS battery and below that we have two Serial ATA ports powered by VIA's very own VT8237 Southbridge.
- IO Ports
As far as IO ports go we have everything you need including 2 USB ports, onboard network, parallel and COM port, PS2 ports as well as audio.
- The Chipset
As we have mentioned already both motherboards in this article are equipped with VIA's Athlon 64 chipset, the K8T800, which definitely has proven itself worthy over our past few articles.
What we have noticed about this particular chipset is that it's not the fastest on the market but with excellent stability and combined with the VT8237 Southbridge we get a bucket load of very welcome features.
- VT8237 Southbridge
VIA's latest Southbridge, the VT8237, helps bring all the latest features available to your Athlon 64 such as VIA drive station (a very easy to use and quick Serial ATA interface), Vinyl Audio (the latest in 7.1 audio from VIA) and finally "VIA Connectivity" which gives you all the USB ports and PCI slots you desire.
The general features on the motherboard are not bad at all and before we see how it runs we will have a quick look at the EPoX motherboard.
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