Features of the KX600S Pro Continued
- Chipset and Components
The driving force behind the Albatron KX600S Pro is VIA's KT600 Northbridge coupled with the solid VIA VT8237 Southbridge. The KT600 Northbridge is a Single Channel DDR memory solution built with what VIA terms FastStream64 technology. In short, FastStream64 is supposed to reduce latency and attempt to bring the same amount of performance Dual Channel Memory controllers deliver. While it can't deliver as much bandwidth, it still does a great job of keeping data flowing to the Athlon XP processor at a good rate.
The VIA VT8237 Southbridge gives the KX600S Pro native Serial ATA RAID support, so you don't miss out on this feature. Added to this are eight USB2.0 ports, 5.1 Audio support as well as the ATA-133 IDE support which VIA has been pushing for the last two years.
While VIA does include a 10/100 Ethernet controller in its Southbridge, Albatron has elected to use its own PCI 3Com Ethernet controller to give the same 10/100 Ethernet support. This is no proof that this controller is better than the built-in option but its nice to see a hardware solution any day of the week which helps reduce load on the CPU.
This is where it gets interesting. On most budget motherboards we have seen in the past, if you want to cut cost, cut R&D on the motherboard, however, this one looks as if it has had a team of R&D go over the BIOS and its overclocking options with great effort. In fact, this is the sort of settings we expect from ABIT or ASUS, not Albatron.
The BIOS is an Award Modular BIOS using the same design as the ASUS layout. This is rather the odd one out BIOS style as there are only a few companies like ASUS and Intel using this BIOS menu. Under the Advanced menu you will find the Frequency/Voltage Control submenu. This is where Albatron has tucked away all the overclocking settings. From here just about every setting you could want is avalible.
First off is your Clock Ratio. If you have an unlocked Palomino or you have the TBread or Barton core XP's, this menu will let you change the CPU ratio. You can change it from 5.5x up to 24x in 0.5x increments, but remember, not all the settings will for your CPU, as some of them have cross referencing for different cores.
CPU Host Frequency is where your FSB adjustments take place. Here you can adjust from 100MHz up to 300MHz in 1MHz increments. This gives you the best possible range for overclocking. During our tests, we lowered the CPU multiplier and raised the FSB with the DRAM at 1:1 and managed over 267MHz FSB without a problem.
Next is your CPU/AGP:PCI clock ratio settings. Since this is a VIA chipset, no fixed ratio is avalible, however you can select from 6:2:1, 5:2:1, 4:2:1 or 3:2:1 to keep the PCI and AGP clocks stable.
CPU Voltage allows you to set your CPU's core voltage above the default. The maximum is 1.85v in 0.025v increments which is more than enough for people using air cooling.
AGP Voltage control is another good option especially since the AGP is going slightly over standard; you can adjust it from 1.5v standard up to 1.8v in 0.1v increments
DDR Voltage is the last of the adjustments with 2.5v default up to 3.0v in 0.1v increments which provides the best range for DRAM overclocks.
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