Intel Desktop Board D925XCV (Reference)
- The Motherboard
The motherboard we received from Intel was a test sample reference; however, this is the actual retail shipping product.
Layout wise, Intel has done a reasonable good job on its own motherboard. The only problem we found was the placement of the 4 pin power and Aux Molex connector between the Northbridge Heatsink and the I/O panel, however, overclocking with this isn't going to be an issue, so some leeway is given.
Intel uses one PCI Express x16 slot, two PCI Express x1 slots and four PCI legacy slots. You will notice Intel places two PCI slots under the x16 slot, then PCI Express x1 slots and then the final two PCI slots.
Intel has moved to colour coding the DIMM sockets like the higher end motherboards tend to do to make life that little bit easier. Channel A is marked by two blue sockets and Channel B by two black sockets.
The I925X Express chipset powers this motherboard. Intel uses a very large passive cooling solution that can't be removed without damaging the motherboard as it is physically pined and soldered which prevents any tampering with the cooling, and will instantly let Intel know of any voiding of warranty. The Southbridge is also cooled passively, which indicates that Intel does have a Southbridge that generates a bit of heat.
With the push by Intel for a "Digital Home" and workstation setup, it's hard to go past the most common standard used in digital transfer, Firewire. Firewire has become the protocol of choice for DV camcorders for dumping data to PC, Intel has followed suit with the Agree Firewire PCI controller to give three ports total - one at the rear and two by front panel.
The Intel D925XCV was the first motherboard out to support PCI Express x1 Gigabit Ethernet, supplied by the Marvel 805D "Yukon" chipset. You get bottleneck free Gigabit Ethernet with plenty of room to spare on the bus.
One of the things I didn't mind was the auxiliary power system. Near the 4 pin power connector is a 4 pin Molex connector that takes a standard HDD power plug. At the bottom right of the motherboard is another plug. This one is in reverse so you can connect 4 pin to 4 pin power converter cables and 4 pin Molex fans up to it, or even Molex to SATA power adapters, it has the ability to take up to 18A on the 12v and 32A on the 5v rails, so there is no worry about shorting traces out, as there are quite a number leading to the supply.
Intel as we all know has been against overclocking, in fact it has tried limiting overclocking as much as possible with locked multiplier CPU's and now running busses at strict speeds to prevent FSB adjustments.
However, in this case, Intel has provided a very slight overclocking system called burn-in mode. In the burn in mode you can raise the system performance from default up to a maximum of 4% overclock. This gives you a slight boost for when your system is under extreme load, but can't compete with a genuine overclocking system like we have seen from other motherboards in this roundup.
As you would expect, our 4% overclock was 100% stable so running this amount over standard is quite acceptable even in a workstation environment.
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